An alternative newspaper for American GIs in Vietnam offered some raw glimpses into the conflict.

From 1966 to 1972, Overseas Weekly was the “GI’s friend” in Vietnam, as the New York Times put it, though the Pentagon’s top brass hated the popular and eccentric tabloid newspaper for covering the underbelly of the costly and controversial war. At the height of the conflict in Vietnam, the Pacific edition of OW had some 60,000 readers and a staff of highly talented reporters and photographers, including Art Greenspon, Don Hirst, and Brent Procter. Their intimate portraits of American GIs and Vietnamese civilians were published in We Shot the War: Overseas Weekly in Vietnam (Hoover Institution Press, 2018) from which these pages are adapted.

 

  • A weary American soldier steals a momentary break at Landing Zone Evans, an outpost in Cambodia that was under near-constant attack, on May 11, 1970. (Don Hirst)
  • General William C. Westmoreland, the U.S. Army’s chief of staff, reviews troops of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division on July 16, 1970, during a visit to Firebase Veghel in central Vietnam. (Terry Reynolds)
  • Radio operators of B Company receive, transmit, and decode messages about their unit’s movements and maneuvers in and around Hue in March 1968. (Art Greenspon)
  • Suspected Viet Cong guerrilla soldiers are blindfolded and taken prisoner by U.S. military police on December 11, 1966. (OW Staffer)
  • A Vietnamese peasant is questioned by U.S. soldiers about ammunition found hidden in a haystack. (OW Staffer)
  • Combat patrols of B Company wade through waist-deep water to cross a paddy field in South Vietnam in 1969. (OW Staffer)
  • Second Lieutenant Timothy Ganahl shows a young Vietnamese orphan from Lai Khe how to fire a rifle, October 1, 1966. (OW Staffer)
  • A Navy sailor aboard the USS Brinkley Bass peers across the Gulf of Tonkin on May 14, 1970. (Brent Procter)
  • Wounded American soldiers lie on the back of an M42 Duster in Hue waiting to be medevaced to the battalion aid station. (Art Greenspon)

 

This article appears in the Spring 2019 issue (Vol. 31, No. 3) of MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History with the headline: They Shot the War