Faces of the Vietnam War

Conflict: Vietnam

1st Mar Div, Vietnam, 1967: Dental Civic Action Program—Close-up of Doctor Premru pulling a tooth.

1st Mar Div, Vietnam, 1967: Dental Civic Action Program—Close-up of Doctor Premru pulling a tooth.

The figures recounting how many U.S. troops participated in the Vietnam War are huge: 2.7 million served in Vietnam itself, 3.4 million served in Southeast Asia generally, and 8.7 million were on active duty during the war. With numbers so large, it can be easy to get lost in the sheer numbers and statistics, overlooking that of those millions, each was an individual with their own story—that although today we summarize the war in general terms, no two people experienced the war in the same way.

Below are images selected from Fold3’s Vietnam photo collections of a few of the faces behind the statistics. The original captions have been provided.

Vietnam: SP5 Jim Messengill, Co. “H”, 75th Rangers, takes a brief break during a patrol NE of Xuan Loc, along the Dong Nai River. 9-12 Dec 1970

Vietnam: SP5 Jim Messengill, Co. “H”, 75th Rangers, takes a brief break during a patrol NE of Xuan Loc, along the Dong Nai River. 9-12 Dec 1970

Vietnam: A member of an arrow and rifle pit from Troop “D”, 1st Sqdn, 10th Cav, 4th Inf Div, keeps watch from the cover of tall elephant grass during a search and clear operation in the mountains south of Fire Support Base “Action.” 20 Oct 1970

Vietnam: A member of an arrow and rifle pit from Troop “D”, 1st Sqdn, 10th Cav, 4th Inf Div, keeps watch from the cover of tall elephant grass during a search and clear operation in the mountains south of Fire Support Base “Action.” 20 Oct 1970

An Khe, Vietnam—The Crew Chief Story: Crew Chief James M. Ralph (Sikeston, Mo.), 1st Cav Div (Airmobile), fills out Aircraft Inspection and Maintenance record on his assigned UH-1D helicopter after making the final inspection at the end of the day. 16 March 1966

An Khe, Vietnam—The Crew Chief Story: Crew Chief James M. Ralph (Sikeston, Mo.), 1st Cav Div (Airmobile), fills out Aircraft Inspection and Maintenance record on his assigned UH-1D helicopter after making the final inspection at the end of the day. 16 March 1966

3rd Mar Div, Danang, Vietnam, 20 Apr 65: Marine, on duty on Hill 278, writes home from Vietnam. He is a fire team leader from the 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, “F” Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.

3rd Mar Div, Danang, Vietnam, 20 Apr 65: Marine, on duty on Hill 278, writes home from Vietnam. He is a fire team leader from the 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, “F” Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.

Flight deck crewmen aboard the nuclear-powered carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) watch as ship launches planes for air strike in Vietnam. USS Enterprise is steaming in the South China Sea. 4 Jan 1966

Flight deck crewmen aboard the nuclear-powered carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) watch as ship launches planes for air strike in Vietnam. USS Enterprise is steaming in the South China Sea. 4 Jan 1966

Vietnam—M-551 Assault Vehicle: SP4 Kenneth L. Powell. 12 Feb 1969

Vietnam—M-551 Assault Vehicle: SP4 Kenneth L. Powell. 12 Feb 1969

A quartermaster aboard the tank landing ship USS St. Clair County (LST-1096) displays decorated hat as ship patrols the Mekong River, South Vietnam. 5 Apr 1966

A quartermaster aboard the tank landing ship USS St. Clair County (LST-1096) displays decorated hat as ship patrols the Mekong River, South Vietnam. 5 Apr 1966

Find countless other images from the Vietnam war for free in Fold3′s Marines, Army, and Navy photo collections.