This is the man.

I don't know his name. It has been almost 50 years since I saw him and he died a week later. His image has accompanied me these 47 years on my journey through life. Much has happened to me since then but always I come back to him.

I was standing in a doorway in downtown Saigon. It was raining and I was just taking up the portal watching the world go by and then he was there in front of me with his hand out. I was approached on every block in Saigon by beggars and I was tired of being constantly confronted by them for money. But there was something about him, something in his face; in his eyes. We met and passed words mentally for a moment. I motioned awkwardly that I would pay him if I could take his photograph. He smiled that wonderful smile, took the money, and was gone again.

On the following pages are my images of Vietnam. You will be surprised. They are not mainly of war, but of people. There were people there who somehow in the worst of possible conditions still managed to find purpose in their daily lives. I loved the Vietnamese people. I think as an American I was a minority with that viewpoint. I used to walk the streets alone with my camera and was greeted warm and friendly almost everywhere I went. Perhaps it was naive of me, but behind the facade of war, death, and human tragedy, I found this common man and we bonded for a moment and that stayed with me somehow.

None of the images posted here have ever been exhibited or formally published. I have kept them all these years as a reminder of a world apart and long ago.


This is me 46 years ago at Khe Sanh (see Lam Son 719). I look like I am in the army but I am actually an Air Force Sargent. My job then was to work with reporters out of Saigon and go anywhere in Southeast Asia telling the story of the Air Force participation there. It was dangerous sometimes, but mostly it was one great big messy adventure. I was young, naive, and nothing .....absolutely nothing, could hurt me. I wasn't being shot at all the time like some of the army guys.....we had to go to those places sometimes...but we didn't have to stay there. It gave us a real overview of Vietnam and our effort there and gave me a different view than most of those Americans who went there. I was there from 1969 to 1971....2 years and 3 months.

So, I have collected these photos taken while I was there. They are not all special, but they do tell a story about the people that were there. I hope you enjoy them, drop me a line if you wish and let me know you spent a moment looking at them.

With regards,

Bill Diebold