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  • "One ride with Yankee Papa 13" Life Magazine..

    This story always stood out to me, and I feel it deserves a mention on the forums... So here is the article as copied from the Life Magazine website...

    HISTORY
    '60s
    In the spring of 1965, within weeks of 3,500 American Marines arriving in Vietnam, a 39-year-old Briton named Larry Burrows began work on a feature for LIFE magazine, chronicling the day-to-day experience of U.S. troops on the ground*— and in the air*— in the midst of the rapidly widening war. The photographs in this gallery focus on a calamitous March 31, 1965, helicopter mission; Burrows’ “report from Da Nang,” featuring his pictures and his personal account of the harrowing operation, was published two weeks later as a now-famous cover story in the April 16, 1965, issue of LIFE.

    Over the decades, of course, LIFE published dozens of photo essays by some of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Very few of those essays, however, managed to combine raw intensity and technical brilliance to such powerful effect as “One Ride With Yankee Papa 13″*— widely regarded as the single greatest photographic achievement to emerge from the war in Vietnam.


    Here, LIFE presents Burrows’ seminal photo essay in its entirety: all of the photos that appeared in LIFE are here. (Left: In a picture from the article, Burrows mounts a camera to a special rig attached to an M-60 machine gun in helicopter YP13 — a.k.a., “Yankee Papa 13.”)

    Burrows, LIFE informed its readers, “had been covering the war in Vietnam since 1962 and had flown on scores of helicopter combat missions. On this day he would be riding in [21-year-old crew chief James] Farley’s machine*— and both were wondering whether the mission would be a no-contact milk run or whether, as had been increasingly the case in recent weeks, the Vietcong would be ready and waiting with .30-caliber machine guns. In a very few minutes Farley and Burrows had their answer.”

    The following paragraphs — lifted directly from LIFE — illustrate the vivid, visceral writing that accompanied Burrows’ astonishing images, including Burrows’ own words, transcribed from an audio recording made shortly after the 1965 mission:

    “The Vietcong dug in along the tree line, were just waiting for us to come into the landing zone,” Burrows reported. “We were all like sitting ducks and their raking crossfire was murderous. Over the intercom system one pilot radioed Colonel Ewers, who was in the lead ship: ‘Colonel! We’re being hit.’ Back came the reply: ‘We’re all being hit. If your plane is flyable, press on.’

    “We did,” Burrows continued, “hurrying back to a pickup point for another load of troops. On our next approach to the landing zone, our pilot, Capt. Peter Vogel, spotted Yankee Papa 3 down on the ground. Its engine was still on and the rotors turning, but the ship was obviously in trouble. ‘Why don’t they lift off?’ Vogel muttered over the intercom. Then he set down our ship nearby to see what the trouble was.

    “[Twenty-year-old gunner, Pfc. Wayne] Hoilien was pouring machine-gun fire at a second V.C. gun position at the tree line to our left. Bullet holes had ripped both left and right of his seat. The plexiglass had been shot out of the cockpit and one V.C. bullet had nicked our pilot’s neck. Our radio and instruments were out of commission. We climbed and climbed fast the hell out of there. Hoilien was still firing gunbursts at the tree line.”

    Not until YP13 pulled away and out of range of enemy fire were Farley and Hoilien able to leave their guns and give medical attention to the two wounded men from YP3. The co-pilot, 1st Lt. James Magel, was in bad shape. When Farley and Hoilien eased off his flak vest, they exposed a major wound just below his armpit. “Magel’s face registered pain,” Burrows reported, “and his lips moved slightly. But if he said anything it was drowned out by the noise of the copter. He looked pale and I wondered how long he could hold on. Farley began bandaging Magel’s wound. The wind from the doorway kept whipping the bandages across his face. Then blood started to come from his nose and mouth and a glazed look came into his eyes. Farley tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but Magel was dead. Nobody said a word.”

    In his searing, deeply sympathetic portrait of young men fighting for their lives at the very moment America is ramping up its involvement in Southeast Asia, Larry Burrows’ work anticipates the scope and the dire, lethal arc of the entire war in Vietnam.

    Six years after the “Yankee Papa 13″ photo essay ran in LIFE, Burrows was killed, along with three other journalists — Henri Huet, Kent Potter and Keisaburo Shimamoto — when a helicopter in which they were flying was shot down over Laos in February, 1971. He was 44 years old.
    "Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam."

    --Marshall McLuhan, 1975

  • #2
    Originally posted by RedWhiteAndBlue View Post
    This story always stood out to me, and I feel it deserves a mention on the forums... So here is the article as copied from the Life Magazine website...

    HISTORY
    '60s
    In the spring of 1965, within weeks of 3,500 American Marines arriving in Vietnam, a 39-year-old Briton named Larry Burrows began work on a feature for LIFE magazine, chronicling the day-to-day experience of U.S. troops on the ground*— and in the air*— in the midst of the rapidly widening war. The photographs in this gallery focus on a calamitous March 31, 1965, helicopter mission; Burrows’ “report from Da Nang,” featuring his pictures and his personal account of the harrowing operation, was published two weeks later as a now-famous cover story in the April 16, 1965, issue of LIFE.

    Over the decades, of course, LIFE published dozens of photo essays by some of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Very few of those essays, however, managed to combine raw intensity and technical brilliance to such powerful effect as “One Ride With Yankee Papa 13″*— widely regarded as the single greatest photographic achievement to emerge from the war in Vietnam.


    Here, LIFE presents Burrows’ seminal photo essay in its entirety: all of the photos that appeared in LIFE are here. (Left: In a picture from the article, Burrows mounts a camera to a special rig attached to an M-60 machine gun in helicopter YP13 — a.k.a., “Yankee Papa 13.”)

    Burrows, LIFE informed its readers, “had been covering the war in Vietnam since 1962 and had flown on scores of helicopter combat missions. On this day he would be riding in [21-year-old crew chief James] Farley’s machine*— and both were wondering whether the mission would be a no-contact milk run or whether, as had been increasingly the case in recent weeks, the Vietcong would be ready and waiting with .30-caliber machine guns. In a very few minutes Farley and Burrows had their answer.”

    The following paragraphs — lifted directly from LIFE — illustrate the vivid, visceral writing that accompanied Burrows’ astonishing images, including Burrows’ own words, transcribed from an audio recording made shortly after the 1965 mission:

    “The Vietcong dug in along the tree line, were just waiting for us to come into the landing zone,” Burrows reported. “We were all like sitting ducks and their raking crossfire was murderous. Over the intercom system one pilot radioed Colonel Ewers, who was in the lead ship: ‘Colonel! We’re being hit.’ Back came the reply: ‘We’re all being hit. If your plane is flyable, press on.’

    “We did,” Burrows continued, “hurrying back to a pickup point for another load of troops. On our next approach to the landing zone, our pilot, Capt. Peter Vogel, spotted Yankee Papa 3 down on the ground. Its engine was still on and the rotors turning, but the ship was obviously in trouble. ‘Why don’t they lift off?’ Vogel muttered over the intercom. Then he set down our ship nearby to see what the trouble was.

    “[Twenty-year-old gunner, Pfc. Wayne] Hoilien was pouring machine-gun fire at a second V.C. gun position at the tree line to our left. Bullet holes had ripped both left and right of his seat. The plexiglass had been shot out of the cockpit and one V.C. bullet had nicked our pilot’s neck. Our radio and instruments were out of commission. We climbed and climbed fast the hell out of there. Hoilien was still firing gunbursts at the tree line.”

    Not until YP13 pulled away and out of range of enemy fire were Farley and Hoilien able to leave their guns and give medical attention to the two wounded men from YP3. The co-pilot, 1st Lt. James Magel, was in bad shape. When Farley and Hoilien eased off his flak vest, they exposed a major wound just below his armpit. “Magel’s face registered pain,” Burrows reported, “and his lips moved slightly. But if he said anything it was drowned out by the noise of the copter. He looked pale and I wondered how long he could hold on. Farley began bandaging Magel’s wound. The wind from the doorway kept whipping the bandages across his face. Then blood started to come from his nose and mouth and a glazed look came into his eyes. Farley tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but Magel was dead. Nobody said a word.”

    In his searing, deeply sympathetic portrait of young men fighting for their lives at the very moment America is ramping up its involvement in Southeast Asia, Larry Burrows’ work anticipates the scope and the dire, lethal arc of the entire war in Vietnam.

    Six years after the “Yankee Papa 13″ photo essay ran in LIFE, Burrows was killed, along with three other journalists — Henri Huet, Kent Potter and Keisaburo Shimamoto — when a helicopter in which they were flying was shot down over Laos in February, 1971. He was 44 years old.
    Pictures from the tragic incident:







    "Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam."

    --Marshall McLuhan, 1975

    Comment


    • #3
      Feedback?
      "Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam."

      --Marshall McLuhan, 1975

      Comment


      • #4
        What can be said? This tragedy was repeated every day, several times a day, at the peak of the war. Many of us here saw it, many times. The photo brings back many all-too-real memories for me.
        No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends John 15:13

        Comment


        • #5
          I can see where this is a "real" memory for the vets, the picture quality is amazing, like it was done yesterday. There are also a bunch of un-published photos from the set that are just as "real" ... amoung other terms.
          What strikes me in one of them was all the bloody shell casings and belt clips covering the floor in another picture. The photos are so good you can count the bullet holes in the other chopper that they left the pilot in, assuming he was dead, which turned out, he wasn't and was rescued by another chopper.
          Then, to realize these were 19 and 20 year old guys..... When I consider some of the guys and gals of this age today, mostly friends kids and their friends, I think, wow-I know they could do it if they had to, but thank god we don't have to find out.

          Comment


          • #6
            They are doing it today in Afghanistan. Boys being men when most of their contemporaries are still acting like children.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Miss Saigon View Post
              They are doing it today in Afghanistan. Boys being men when most of their contemporaries are still acting like children.
              There's a big difference in many ways though. I knew someone would say that....but it's completely different- First, there's no draft, second, today we put our most experienced troops in theatre not the most expendable. I would wager that if you did an age study in some kind of fair comparison the ave age would go from 22 in VN to 35 in the sand pits. Just a guess but to the point, yes, our younger soldiers would do the job like all have ever done, the best there is do the best that is possible.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Leonardo63 View Post
                There's a big difference in many ways though. I knew someone would say that....but it's completely different- First, there's no draft, second, today we put our most experienced troops in theatre not the most expendable. I would wager that if you did an age study in some kind of fair comparison the ave age would go from 22 in VN to 35 in the sand pits. Just a guess but to the point, yes, our younger soldiers would do the job like all have ever done, the best there is do the best that is possible.

                The soldiers in the "Sand Pit" are similar in profile to the way they have always been. The lower ranks are young, and the age goes up the chain of command. At 35 most military professionals who have been in that long are nearing retirement.

                There is a reason why in all armies around the world the rank and file are young. Young men are physically capable of enduring the rigors of war better than older men. Older men lead because they have had the experience that usually makes them better capable to lead. As their physical capabilities decline, their leadership capabilities improve and that is the trade off.

                The only meaningful difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan is that Vietnam was a much larger war. Just as World War II was before it. Other than that, all war has its horrors, hardships, and heart breaks. All nations send their young to fight.

                As for the professional Army today with no draft, you will find many veterans on these forums who believe we should bring the draft back.

                Comment


                • #9
                  While serving in the military helps one to see the costs of freedom, there is something to say that the all-volunteer army is better off than when the draft is imposed. Today, the guys putting it on the line know that the guy who has their 6 wants to be there and is a motivated soldier, a professional. The draft in the Vietnam era, while defensible, also had the down side of having people who just weren't motivated, sharp, and willing to make the effort in the face of trouble. There were many, probably a good majority who were responsible draftees, but there were some real losers too.
                  "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
                  - Col. David Hackworth

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Leonardo63 View Post
                    There's a big difference in many ways though. I knew someone would say that....but it's completely different- First, there's no draft, second, today we put our most experienced troops in theatre not the most expendable. I would wager that if you did an age study in some kind of fair comparison the ave age would go from 22 in VN to 35 in the sand pits. Just a guess but to the point, yes, our younger soldiers would do the job like all have ever done, the best there is do the best that is possible.
                    I'll dispute that we put our most expendable troops in Vietnam. The war may have been different. Many were draftees. But my son is an Iraq vet and a professional soldier, a first sergeant now. In talking to him, I don't find a lot of difference in the quality of troops between those he knows and who I knew. He has experience as a combat leader and as a drill sergeant who trains the incoming troops. He has a lot of insight into this. Today's army has much more advanced technology, that's for sure. But the quality of troops is no different.
                    No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends John 15:13

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The photographer was killed when his helicopter was shot down a few years after these pictures were taken.
                      "Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam."

                      --Marshall McLuhan, 1975

                      Comment

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