Here’s a 3-minute segment that recently aired on CBS This Morning about the soldier photographers who risked their lives on the front line to document the combat in photos and videos.
The enlisted solders were part of the Department of the Army’s Special Photographic Office (DASPO) — authorized by President JFK in 1962 — which sent members to the war with cameras to provide the world with an up close and personal look at the conflict.
Over 200 of the soldier photographers were sent out over the course of a decade, and two of them were killed in action. Because they needed mobility and flexibility to use their cameras, the soldiers often didn’t wear protective helmets.
“Armed with their cameras, sound equipment, and light weaponry, the elite photographers and cameramen of DASPO captured, in stark detail, the true horrors and humanity of the Vietnam War,” the museum writes. “Deploying to the front lines aboard Hueys and Air Force C-130s, these special operations teams operated with unlimited access—producing some of the most iconic and important images from the conflict.”
Here’s a sampling of the images you’ll find in the exhibition:
The exhibition will run at the Pritzker Military Museum through May. Admission is $5 and free for members and active military personnel.
Image credits: All photographs from the Pritzker Military Museum