"One senses that the feelings expressed by the men I photographed, in spite of their modern weapons, like helicopters and M-16s, were not much different from those known to warriors fighting in the Peloponnesian War." Specialist Dick Durrance, U.S. Army, DASPO, Vietnam War
"FACES OF WAR: Documenting the Vietnam War from the Front Lines"
About the Exhibit
Opening September 24, the exhibit titled "FACES OF WAR: Documenting the Vietnam War from the Front Lines" is a photo exploration of the Vietnam War, of those who fought in it and those impacted by it. This collection of photographs and video captured the War as experienced by the 3.4 million Americans who served in the Southeast Asia Theater – the aggression, the misery and the hope, as well as the millions more who attempted to carry on as the conflict waged at their doorsteps. Captured by the elite special operations photographers of the Department of the Army Special Photographic Office (DASPO), these photos provide a unique perspective of the War from the front lines.
The exhibit will feature over 50 still and motion picture images of the Vietnam War, artifacts such as original cameras, gear, and other equipment, and an audio tour featuring the men of DASPO discussing their experiences in Vietnam.
Who are These Elite Combat Photographers?
As Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, President John F. Kennedy authorized DASPO in 1962. DASPO's purpose was to provide non-biased information to the Pentagon, Department of the Army, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States Congress. Its objective was to cover military subjects worldwide by deploying reacting still and sound motion picture teams from Hawaii, Panama and CONUS Detachments in response to specific DA Chief of Staff orders. Armed with their cameras, sound equipment, light weaponry, and operating on direct orders from the Army Chief of Staff, the elite photographers and cameramen of DASPO captured, in stark detail, the true horrors and humanity of the Vietnam War. 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.
How the Funds Will be Used
The DASPO Combat Photographers Association has raised over $18,000 to help create an exhibit that features their photographs in a narrative about the Vietnam War. However, an additional $5,000 is needed to make the exhibit, FACES OF WAR, one that the men of DASPO deserve. Exhibits are costly and time consuming to put together. These last couple thousand dollars will help cover some of the final costs of framing the photographs, producing exhibit labels, loan fees for artifacts and installation of the exhibit.
In addition, funds will be used to underwrite the production costs of recording oral histories with DASPO veterans about their experiences in Vietnam. As a society, we learned a little too late the importance of talking to WWII veterans about their experiences. We won’t make that mistake with our Vietnam veterans. The Museum & Library’s Holt Oral History Program is dedicated to conserving the unique personal stories and memories of those with first-hand experiences serving the military efforts. The oral history interviews of the DASPO veterans will not only create a more dynamic exhibit, but also serve to expand the collection of recorded experiences of our Vietnam veterans.
How Extra Funds Will be Used
While we can’t add more physical space to the Pritzker Military Museum & Library to make the exhibit larger, there is unlimited space on our website for an expanded online exhibit. The first $1,000 over the goal will allow 200 people free entry into the PMML to see the exhibit--our first-ever Kickstarter Day. Anything raised above $6,000 will be used to curate additional DASPO photos for the online exhibit, produce and publish more oral histories with DASPO veterans and fund outreach activities to educate the public about the impact of the Vietnam War through these iconic images.
Risks and challenges
If we fail to meet the target we will be short of funds, but the exhibit will go ahead.
We are confident that there are enough people out there who want to be involved by:
--Honoring the men and women called upon to serve.
--Providing financial support to the PMML to create an unbiased story of the Vietnam War through the photographs taken by the DASPO Pacific Detachment.
--Supporting the PMML's oral history program by helping us reach out to Vietnam Veterans and giving them the opportunity to record their story.
DASPO photographs and movies are being reviewed and prepared for the exhibition. The Museum & Library has recorded several oral histories, which are part of the audio experience. More oral histories will be recorded as Vietnam Veterans come forward and ask to be involved.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)