1966 no no 1 -1
News, second prize singles
News, second prize singles
An injured North Vietnamese soldier is led from his bunker by soldiers of the US First Cavalry Division. This soldier held up the US advance for one hour with machine gun fire from his position. The incident occurred during the Battle of Bong Son, on the plains of Bong Son, in Central Vietnam. This battle was fought between the US 1st Cavalry Division and North Vietnamese Army units, between 28 January and 12 February 1966, and formed the beginning of US Operation Masher.
United Press International
Bong Son, Hoai An, Binh Dinh, Vietnam
Technical information & keywords
KeywordsAmerican War (1961-1975) U.S. First Cavalry Divison United States Army U.S. Army Viet Cong Việt-Cộng Mặt trận dân tộc giải phóng miền nam Việt Nam National Liberation Front of South Viet Nam Battle of Bong Son (Vietnam : 1966) War Vietnam War (1961-1975) Prisoners of war Prisoners
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About the photographer
After graduating from Aomori Prefectural High School, Kyoichi Sawada (Aomori City, Japan 1936 - Cambodia 1970) worked in a photography store on the US military base at Misawa, while studying photography. In 1961, he moved to Tokyo, where he became a photographer for the Tokyo branch of the news agency United Press International (UPI), after having been introduced by one of the American military officials at the air base. As the Vietnam War escalated, Sawada, repeatedly, asked UPI for a transfer to Indochina, but was denied on the grounds that the war was an ‘American conflict’. In February 1965, he used his vacation to go to Vietnam and cover the conflict on his own. His photos convinced UPI to assign him to their bureau in Saigon. Within the same year, he won the World Press Photo of the Year Award, the Pulitzer Prize, an Overseas Press Club award, and the US Camera Achievement Award for his photograph of the Vietnamese family fleeing bombardment by swimming across a river. In 1968, UPI assigned Sawada to their bureau in Hong Kong, where he became a picture editor. But Sawada was not much suited to desk work, and he returned to Vietnam regularly, as the war expanded into Laos and Cambodia. In March 1970, he began to document the situation in Cambodia, following a coup d'état, which plunged the country into chaos. On 26 October of the same year, Sawada volunteered to take the new UPI bureau chief in Phnom Penh, Frank Frosch, on trip down Cambodia’s Route 2 to Chambak, the Cambodian army’s most southern outpost. Time magazine reported on 9 November 1970: ‘at about 5:30 that afternoon, Cambodian soldiers heard gunfire and set out to investigate. They found the blue car riddled with bullets and smashed against a tree. The next morning the bodies of Frosch and Sawada were found. They had been savagely beaten in the neck and head, then shot repeatedly in the chest. No bloodstains were found in the car, indicating the execution had been performed after the crash.’ According to Time magazine, Sawada had been one of the most daring photographers working for UPI in Indochina. He appeared willing to do anything for a story, hitching rides on helicopters to the heart of the battle, and inviting ‘reprimands by darting through a minefield to get pictures of American troops’. Others described him as a cautious man, who calculated his risks carefully and always wore a helmet. After his death, he received the Robert Capa Gold Medal of the Overseas Press Club. Kyoichi Sawada was of one of c. 50 Japanese photographers who went to Indochina to cover the war. After the Second World War, Japanese media had focused almost exclusively on domestic news. The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, though, stimulated public interest in the world outside Japan, and more Japanese journalists got interested to cover international events.