Search Artz of Culturez

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Vietnam War: The Picture Max Was Allowed to Keep

A little piece of history through the lens of a Vietnam Veteran

There are just some stories you won't find in documentaries, history books or old newspaper clippings. Some of the most fulfilling stories are told by people who lived during a pivotal moment in time, and they come with pictures in tow which helps shape their story. 

Max, now 70, was a medic in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.

Twice a month Max worked at an emergency room in a civilian Vietnam hospital. As you can imagine, he witnessed plenty of deaths and trauma. 

Out of curiosity, a friend back home, who specialized in trauma care, asked Max to take pictures of what he saw in the hospitals and mail them back to him in the states. 

Max captured some gruesome images. Many of those pictures were sent to his friend, but a lot of them were confiscated by the Military Police. "They even took the negatives," Max explains. "They probably were afraid the pictures were going to end up in American newspapers."

The image in this post is one of the photos MPs allowed Max to keep. This photo was taken in December 1968 in the courtyard of a civilian Vietnam Hospital with a toddler he didn't even know. "The little boy just showed up,"  Max recalls.

While on duty and off, Max says he was always on guard. Hence why you see a rifle strapped to his arm. "I didn't feel safe unless I was back home in the U.S."

A Little Tidbit

As you can see, Max has a cigarette dangling from his lips. He first started smoking in 1958. And his brand of choice while serving in the Vietnam War was Pall Mall Cigarettes (red) with no filter. "Wherever particular people congregate - was their slogan," says Max.

Max spent ¢0.17 for a pack and $1.75 for a carton. Today a carton of Pall Mall goes for $26 plus tax.

Do you have a moment in history you like to share? E-mail your views to

No comments:

Weekly E-Letter

There's nothing to think about, just signup for Arts + Cultures Recap right here, right now.