Vietnam Veteran Shares 45-Year-Old Archive

Charles Haughey, date unknown.

Charles Haughey, date unknown.

I’ve always been fascinated by war photography. Photographing requires patience, composure and skill all at once. To do that in the middle of a battlefield is something that is nothing short of magical. I really don’t know how war photographers think, or how they manage to compose and focus their shots in the middle of destruction but it’s always such a surreal image to think about, a war photographer and the war around them.

I found a write up on PetaPixel about a man who served in Vietnam, a photographer. He rediscovered his huge archive and decided to share them with the world….forty-five years later.

The original write up states that

“In October of 1967, at the age of 24, Charlie Haughey received a draft notice from the US Army notifying him that he would be spending a tour of duty in Vietnam as a rifleman. A couple of months after he arrived, his commanding officer put a camera in his hands and asked him to start taking pictures for Army and US newspapers. His only instructions: “You are not a combat photographer. This is a morale operation … ”

Haughey brought back nearly 2,000 negatives from Vietnam, shot between March 1968 and May 1969, none of which ever saw the light of day until very recently.

That “very recently” was the Fall of 2012, when a chance meeting brought the negatives out of their boxes and into a digital scanner. Now his entire archive is being digitized and shared online via Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr as Haughey and a team of volunteers prepare a 28-photo exhibit titled A Weather Walked In for the ADX in Portland.”

Charlie Haughey (Chieu Hoi to his friends in the Army 25th Infantry Division), a now-retired cabinet maker, was drafted to the US Army in 1967. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam from March 1968 to May 1969 with the 25th. Charlie, a photographer from a young age, was commissioned by his commanding officer to take photos—not traditional combat photos, but morale-boosting content to uplift the spirits of the members of the unit. When he left Vietnam for good, Charlie brought back to the United States almost two thousand negatives that had captured his unique view on the war and life in the army. The negatives lay in boxes until the fall of 2012, when a chance meeting brought them out of dormancy. – as told by Charlie’s personal website.

Heres some photos from his archive:

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

bp20

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

photo Charles Haughey

These are by no means the entire collection. To really get the idea of his style and photo set, go here to see even more.

I really liked these images. Instead of seeing what you’d expect in a combat photo series, these photos gave you a look into the down time of the soldiers and some insight into personalities, not just actions. If you are interested and happen to live in Portland, go see his exhibition!

A Weather Walked In, a 28-photo curation of Charlie Haughey’s Vietnam photo collection, opens on April 5th 2013 at ADX, 417 SE 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.

Charles Haughey posing with children, date unknown.

Charles Haughey posing with children, date unknown.

14 thoughts on “Vietnam Veteran Shares 45-Year-Old Archive

  1. What amazing pictures! They made my heart ache. The soldiers look so young :-(. It also reminded me of a young man who was part of our “crowd” and was sent to Vietnam…He is still MIA he left behind a wife and 2 small boys….all wars are terrible, but this one was horrific…..the first and last photos are the only ones where we see a smile….so sad……thank you for posting these Kaitlin….We should never forget that time in History…Great photographs!

    • Horrible. So many innocent lives gone. It’s nice to be able to have some people preserved in this way, maybe makes them not so “gone”. I have heard a number of personal stories from people telling me about how they never saw their friends, boyfriends, brothers, or husbands again after they left. 😦

  2. My favorite Marine was there and back before I was born. His scars are older than me; the physical ones have faded, but the emotional ones are as fresh as the day they were made. It is because of him that I try to learn everything I can about an era I don’t remember. Things like this really help me try to understand. I followed your link to the original article, and the one thing that struck me most was Haughey created a slide show from the negatives, and once he finally worked up the courage to view it, didn’t sleep for days afterward. And he took the pictures. Vietnam era photos of combat action and protests are easy to find; photos such as these are not. Very thought provoking all around. I learned something today, something I never would have found on my own without your blog pointing the way. Thank you.

    • Wow so glad to hear that. I thought these were interesting for the same reason; they weren’t the normal combat photos. They show a different side to war. A very very unique point of view, something I always strive for in my own work. I encourage everyone to click on the original article. I so wish I was in Portland to be able to see his exhibit!

  3. Love Love Love you can just feel the emotions; I can feel the laughter in the first, I feel scared for the two blindfolded girls, wondering how their story ended, and the last one so many emotions in that one, happiness, curious, frightened .. just wow what a find , thanks for sharing Kait, you always write the most intriguing articles,

  4. These are so moving. I cried. These young boys who were sent to war. The most controversial war of my time. You can feel them, their spirit and their sadness. Very very touching glimpses of courage and bravery without question.

    • Yes, so surreal to see them smiling while surrounded with such destruction. The Vietnam war was such a huge impact globally as well as culturally. I’m so glad these negatives still exist.

  5. Just saw a story about you on the evening news. Remarkable!! I live in Tacoma, Washington and am so excited to see some of the remarkable pictures that you took while serving in our armed forces. Thank you.

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