Vietnam Veteran Rediscovers and Shares His 45-Year-Old Photo Archive


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.

Here are a few of the photos that have already made it onto Flickr:








Understandably, the process of rediscovering these photos, and reliving the memories associated with them, has been a trying one. When his digital archive hit 1,700 scans he put them in a slide show and viewed them all at once — he couldn’t sleep for three days after that. But as more digitals from his archive are posted online, and the April 5th show at the ADX draws nearer, he’s learning to better handle the emotions the photos inevitably bring up.

To follow the archive’s progress and read bi-weekly updates that follow Haughey’s story from Vietnam until today, visit his Tumblr, Facebook or Flickr.

Charlie Haughey is not a combat photographer (via The Big Picture)

Image credits: Photography by Charlie Haughey

  • A_Lwin

    Great documentary photos.

  • Vlad Dusil

    I can not imagine what it was like living through Vietnam then, let alone the wounds torn back open 45 years later.

    Great documentary work!

  • elmakias

    These are amazing, holy crap .

  • mo

    incredible photos!
    and his name is charlie..just perfect.

  • gabe sturdevant

    The helicopters over the field is just stunning.

  • BeJay


  • vicki

    great pictures sorry for your pain thanks for service!

  • Jason Scott Tilley

    Fantastic archive, Some thing todays digital photographers will be lucky to have.

  • KH

    Wow, powerful stuff. I can only imagine how hard it could be to suddenly travel back in time to such a terrifying portion of one’s life. I give him a lot of credit for getting these negs into the light of day to share them with the world. Weather armed with a weapon, or with a camera, we salute you for your service Charlie Haughey.

  • philip bradley

    FILM..just awesome

  • truth to power

    The American War in Indochina (Vietnam) was one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century. Twenty years of war and intervention in which 2-4m civilians were murdered with bombs and chemical weapons. From 1965-69, 30,000 were murdered in secret torture facilities (the Phoenix Program). The rape and massacre of entire villages was used as a matter of policy (My Lai, just the tip of the iceberg). The blight of agent orange has caused hundreds of thousands of birth defects in the region and still continues to do damage today. And then the disaster of Cambodia in the late 70s, which was a direct result of Nixon and Kissinger’s bombing campaigns, Nixon having derailed the peace process in 1968 for electoral gain. And all of this… for what, exactly? To prevent a sovereign people, in 1954, from voting for a government the US didn’t like (see the Pentagon Papers).

    Unlike the Holocaust, unlike Rwanda or Cambodia, no-one has ever been prosecuted for these crimes. The US wields its veto in the UN to prevent inditement by the ICC. Henry Kissinger hangs a Nobel Peace Prize on his wall and goes to Wimbledon every year. Meanwhile, the US repeats its criminal activities around the globe, in El Salvador, Nicaragua, now in Iraq, where the funding of death squads and secret torture facilities has only recently come to light – duly ignored by the mainstream US media (search for Colonel Frank Steele).

    Just something to remember when you look at these photographs. The American soldiers that you see are not the ones you should feel angry for.

  • Scott Verge

    That was definitely the stand out image to me as well.

  • Richard

    I agree and not an easy shot to get, especially with all that prop-wash crap blowing up.

  • Richard

    Agreed. Kissinger and Cheney (and Bush) are war criminals. Never forget.

  • SleeperSmith

    Oh will you fking hippies just drop it for once and just look at the fking picture. Seriously, NO ONE GIVES A FLYING FK.