LIFE Covers: The Vietnam War


One of the most important stories that LIFE Magazine would ever cover was the Vietnam War. From sending photographers to the trenches to covering the stories of draft dodgers and deserters, LIFE Magazines during the 1960s explored every aspect of the most highly televised conflict in history. LIFE Magazine would do it’s part to shape the story, as well.

Life Magazine (October 27, 1961) Advisers in Vietnam, mans eye

Life Magazine (January 25, 1963) Mekong Delta

Life Magazine (November 15, 1963) South Vietnam soldiers

Life Magazine (March 20, 1964) Henry Cabot Lodge in Vietnam

Life Magazine (June 12, 1964) Patrol in Vietnam

Life Magazine (August 21, 1964) South Vietnam’s General Khanh

Life Magazine (November 27, 1964) Vietnam GIs

Life Magazine (April 16, 1965) U.S. helicopter crew, Yankee Papa

Life Magazine (July 2, 1965) Wounded marine evacuated in Vietnam

Life Magazine (August 6, 1965) U.S. Navy vs. Vietcong

Life Magazine, August 20, 1965 – Draft inductees

In the summer of 1969 I got my induction papers from Uncle Sam; I think it read: “I Want You”

Life Magazine (November 26, 1965) Vietcong prisoner

A Vietcong prisoner, captured during the battle at Cape Batangan, under guard as he awaits transfer to a U.S. POW compound.

Life Magazine (January 14, 1966) Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh and Pham Van Dong

Life Magazine (February 11, 1966) Wounded GIs in Vietnam

Life Magazine (February 25, 1966) Dawn mission over South Vietnam

Life Magazine (October 28, 1966) Wounded marine

Life Magazine (November 4, 1966) President Johnson goes to Vietnam

About four years after this photo, Vice President Spiro Agnew paid a visit to Vietnam. Our unit provided security around Saigon before his arrival.

Life Magazine (January 13, 1967) Navy patrol in Mekong River

Life Magazine (March 10, 1967) U.S. paratroopers over Vietnam

Life Magazine (April 7, 1967) Hanoi air-raid alert

Life Magazine (May 26, 1967) General Lew Walt

Life Magazine (August 25, 1967) Marine and young Vietnamese friend

Life Magazine (October 27, 1967) GI at Con Thien

Life Magazine (February 16, 1968) North Vietnamese soldiers

Life Magazine (March 22, 1968) Ho Chi Minh

Life Magazine (November 8, 1968) Vietnam war victim, This girl tron

Life Magazine (June 27, 1969) American dead in Vietnam

One of LIFE’s most memorable stories was from an issue published on June 27, 1969. Editor-in-chief Hedley Donovan approved a yearbook-like spread of photos of the 242 soldiers who died in Vietnam between May 28 and June 3. That feature did what the editor hoped – it burned into the American consciousness the young faces of the men who fought.

Life Magazine (September 6, 1969) Woodstock

The Woodstock festival was a protest to pull soldiers from the Vietnam War.

Life Magazine (October 24, 1969) Composite: Dissent

Life Magazine (May 15, 1970) Wounded Kent State student

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30.

Life Magazine (May 22, 1970) Composite: Our Forgotten Wounded

Life Magazine (January 29, 1971) Bob Hope

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Bob Hope USO Christmas Show in 1970. It was by far my fondest memory of my Vietnam tour…

Life Magazine (March 12, 1971) South Vietnamese soldiers in Laos

Life Magazine, January 21, 1972 – Single U.S. Vietnam casualty in a week

Life Magazine (May 12, 1972) Vietnam soldier carries wounded buddy

Life Magazine (November 10, 1972) Navy POW

Life Magazine (June 1, 1979) Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now

When I saw this issue of LIFE on a magazine rack in 1979, it definitely got my attention. It had an article about a movie to be released August 15th of that year featuring the unit (1st Squadron 9th Cavalry) I served with in Vietnam.


Filed under Vietnam War

16 responses to “LIFE Covers: The Vietnam War

  1. Walker Jones

    Very good job here.

  2. usastruck

    Hey thanks Walker! Sometimes pictures speak louder than words…

  3. jesuspdlr

    Rob, thanks for the job and your effort!

  4. Steph

    How do i cite this?

  5. Steph

    In terms of referencing this site for a history project i am doing

  6. usastruck

    Steph, you can use this link:
    I hope this is helpful…Rob

  7. Mike Sullivan

    June 1969 my friend Bill on the cover of Life. Only 10 miles from me. Dies alone in a river. For what?War goes on and old guys still wave flags.

  8. usastruck

    More details please…

  9. That is my grandpa in the May 12th, 1972 issue. (Carrying his friend)

  10. Jerilyn Smith

    My cousin was on the cover of Life during the Vietnam War. His name is Bubba Delasanta. I cannot find that one. He was with two other men in the picture. Do you have that one?

  11. Tammy DiMaggio

    Hi ,
    I’m trying to locate magazine (not sure if it was time or life Magazine) from 1967. I recent discover from a cousin my father was on the cover , he was an injured marine was described to me he was leaning on am marine truck or rank after recent been involved in an explosion was awaiting medic to come get him. His name is Matthew Smolinsky . Not sure on best way to tlocate or who to ask about.
    Thank You ,
    Tammy DiMaggio

  12. Nancy Schnell

    Does anyone know how to reach Clark Clifford? May 22, 1970 cover, “Our Forgotten Wounded “? My dad is pictured in that cover from Cambodia. Dad somehow never got his purple heart. The picture is very clear.

    Any Fonda friends, don’t need your shit! So step off with your hate, vile and bullshit. He didn’t want to be there. It’s a miracle he made it back to make me.

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