Friday, May 14, 2010

The Face

(Above) In this June 1967 file photo, medic James E. Callahan of Pittsfield, Mass., looks up while applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a seriously wounded soldier north of Saigon in June 1967. (AP Photo/Henri Huet) Click image for larger view.

(Above) In this June 17, 1967 file photo, Callahan treats a U.S. infantryman who suffered a head wound when a Viet Cong bullet pierced his helmet during a three-hour battle in war zone D, about 50 miles northeast of Saigon. (AP Photo/Henri Huet) Click image for larger view.

(Above) On a 2008 visit back to his old base in Lai Khe, Jim touches the ground in a pensive moment. Click image for larger view.

(Above) Jim stands in front of his pictures taken by photographer Henri Huet, now located at the War Museum in Saigon. Click image for larger view.

AS MOST OF YOU KNOW, I SPEND QUITE A BIT OF TIME looking for stuff to make your visit here worthwhile. Well, I came upon a site (click here) that was showcasing a number of war photos for the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War (1975 - 2010). Amongst 23 really powerful images of that war shown, I was taken by the face of a young medic by the name of James Edward Callahan.

By the looks of his youthful all-American face, I guessed James to be about 20 years old in 1967. My guess was exactly right. I knew young boys just like him—as I turned draft age just two years later. This young medic looked scared—but he was doing his job. But what I wondered most was whether
James Edward Callahan, was still alive.

A quick internet search found that sadly, James was killed in a motorcycle accident on July 29, 2008 at the age of 62. He was a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1965-69, serving as a combat medic in Vietnam. He was a life member and president of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Chapter 65, VFW.


Anonymous said...

Pittsfield is where I hail from!
These photos are incredible.

Wonderful post.

Laurie said...

Very thought provoking!

Maureen said...


Marcos Mateu said...

Good and thoughtful post indeed.

Anonymous said...

Being a Vet myself, I would like to thank you for posting this!

Doodles Academy said...

One of the really compelling things about found photos is the complete anonymity of them. Both the photographer and the photographer are without story, without ego in a way.

This is an incredible post, because it tracks that 'I wonder...' feeling.

Good work.


John Foster said...

Hey Nick... not many TRULY understand the surreal world you men and women were put into. They say they do, but unless they were a Vet- how can you? That's why so many Vets came home to a world just seemingly oblivious to the everyday hell of it all. So soldiers just kept it all, locked in a box in their psyche until they could make friends with other Vets who understood. I know. I am not a Vet, but I know.

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