Tribute: A Long Time Ago in Vietnam by Chris Jensen

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Incoming mortars at Kham Duc base near the Laotian border. August 1970.

 

By CHRIS JENSEN
InDepthNH.org

Early in 1971 a company from the 101st Airborne combat assaulted onto a hilltop overlooking the A Shau Valley, a stronghold and major supply route for the North Vietnamese Army.

A three-man Army photo team, including motion-picture photographer Chris Jensen, went with them.

It was a very brief recon in the steep, heavily jungled mountains with grunts typically carrying 70 pounds of gear and weapons – except for one brief side patrol where rucksacks were left behind.

The A Shau had a well-deserved reputation as a dangerous place, but oddly there was no contact with enemy soldiers.

I filmed with a 16 mm Filmo, the standard camera for the 221st Signal Company / Southeast Asia Pictorial Center. It  lacked a light meter, the ability to record sound or autofocus. It was powered by a wind-up spring and held a 100-foot roll of film.

A year ago, I retrieved his film from the National Archives and had it transferred to high-definition. This is one of those films. Others are also posted on YouTube.

PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY CHRIS JENSEN OF BETHLEHEM

More photos can be viewed by clicking here.

ARVN soldiers wait to load in Hueys for a combat assault in I Corps in 1970 as a former soldier, who lost a foot, passes. — in Vietnam.

Chris Jensen photo

ARVN soldiers wait to load in Hueys for a combat assault in I Corps in 1970 as a former soldier, who lost a foot, passes.

 

 

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Some 105 mm howitzers came with running water. August 1970 at a small base called Kham Duc, near the Laotian border.

A boy and his dog with an armored cavalry troop during the invasion of Cambodia in May 1970.

A boy and his dog with an armored cavalry troop during the invasion of Cambodia in May 1970.

Bad day on Route Nine near the Laotian border in I Corps early in '71.

Bad day on Route Nine near the Laotian border in I Corps early in ’71.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grunts from the 1st Cavalry Division pause while on patrol in III Corps late in 1970.

Grunts from the 1st Cavalry Division pause while on patrol in III Corps late in 1970.

 

A 105 mm howitzer fires at nearby North Vietnamese troops that were surrounding Fire Support Base Ripcord in I Corps near the Laotian border in July 1970

A 105 mm howitzer fires at nearby North Vietnamese troops that were surrounding Fire Support Base Ripcord in I Corps near the Laotian border in July 1970.

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Taking a break inside an armored personnel carrier, “armored” being a little on the optimistic side.

For the grunts, like this young man in the 1st Cavalry Division on patrol in III Corps late in 1970, a nap was a good thing to grab anytime it was safe to do so.

For the grunts, like this young man in the 1st Cavalry Division on patrol in III Corps late in 1970, a nap was a good thing to grab anytime it was safe to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Jensen is pictured on duty as a member of the 221st Signal Company/Southeast Asia Pictorial Center.

Chris Jensen is pictured on duty as a member of the 221st Signal Company/Southeast Asia Pictorial Center.

InDepthNH.org journalist Chris Jensen was a reporter at The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer for three decades and covered desegregation, the 1979 refugee crisis on the Thai-Cambodian border, fraudulent international charities, the 1st Gulf War and the decline of the American auto industry. In 2007, he moved to Bethlehem from which he covered the North Country for New Hampshire Public Radio and routinely tested new vehicles and reported on automotive safety for The New York Times. In a move his parents considered ill-advised, he quit Ohio State University in 1968 and enlisted in the Army. He spent 15 months in Vietnam shooting documentary motion picture of combat operations for the Department of Army. He’s a graduate of George Washington University. 

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