Stunning color photographs of Vietnam taken by an American soldier in 1969 (26 photos)

2 October 2023

American Lance V. Nix, drafted as a private to the Vietnam War, took a camera during his leave and vacation and took pictures of local cities, people, and ordinary everyday life. It captured a different side of the war, showing that far from the fighting there was a vibrant world filled with bustling markets, lively townspeople and joyful children.

These images provide a fresh look into the lives of those not directly involved in the conflict, highlighting the resilience and humanity that persisted through difficult times.

“My draft number appeared before I graduated from Fresno State College in January 1968,” writes Lance Nix, “so I worked part-time until I was finally drafted into the U.S. Army in early June 1968. By the end of October 1968, I was on my way to the Vietnam War. I was assigned to Team 66 MACV in the Mekong Delta as a member of the PHOENIX program. In October 1969, I returned from Vietnam and was assigned to the 5th Infantry Division training unit at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado. I completed my service there and finally received an honorable discharge in early June 1970.”

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“This is an illustrated account of the people and places I encountered during the “leave” portion of my service in Dinh Thuong Province in and around My Tho. It was a war, we were in constant danger, we saw, did and experienced things that civilized people should not have to endure, but most of us survived and now it's over and it's time to move on."

According to Nix, “Vietnamese citizens were not really involved in the war. They were mostly bystanders. They have long been accustomed to occupation, because the French were there before us. Most citizens were just trying to live their lives, hoping they wouldn't get their heads blown off."

Despite the war, the city of My Tho managed to maintain its vibrant spirit. The city's markets were a lively place, a center of activity. They sold fresh food, spices, fabrics, and handicrafts. People continued to live, no matter what, remained resilient and determined, and supported each other. My Tho was not immune to the effects of the war, but stood in stark contrast to what was happening in other parts of Vietnam. There was still a sense of normal life in this city.

Lance W. Nix on Veterans Day 2014 at Fort Ord, California. “Back in shape 45 years later. How time flies"

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