South of the DMZ 1966

Contrary to the constraints that were put upon the press in subsequent conflicts, and even to the embedded program used in the recent Iraqi war, correspondents and photographers in Vietnam could, as Walter Cronkite wrote in LIFE, “accompany troops to wherever they could hitch a ride, and there was no censorship . . . That system—or lack of one—kept the American public well informed of our soldiers’ problems, their setbacks and their heroism.” Reaching Out is a quintessential example of the powerful imagery that came out of Vietnam. “The color photographs of tormented Vietnamese villagers and wounded American conscripts that Larry Burrows took and LIFE published, starting in 1962, certainly fortified the outcry against the American presence in Vietnam,” Susan Sontag wrote in her essay “Looking at War,” in the December 9, 2002, New Yorker. “Burrows was the first important photographer to do a whole war in color—another gain in verisimilitude and shock.” Burrows was killed when the helicopter he was riding in was shot down over Laos in 1971.

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