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On the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the official end of the Vietnam War, we look back at a collection of the seminal images that came to frame the conflict in the world’s eyes.
Pictured, a soldier of the 1st Cavalry Division, 12th Cavalry, 2nd Battalion, relaxes on June 24, 1970, before pulling out of Fire Support Base Speer, six miles inside the Cambodian border.


South Vietnamese troops, one with a bugle strapped to his pack, line up to board CH-21 “Flying Banana” helicopters on March 1963.
South Vietnamese troops, one with a bugle strapped to his pack, line up to board CH-21 “Flying Banana” helicopters, March 1963.
Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc is doused with gasoline during a protest demonstration in Saigon on June 11, 1963. The monk then struck a match, set fire to his gas-soaked garments and died in protest of alleged government persecutions of Buddhists.

Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc is doused with gasoline during a protest demonstration in Saigon, June 11, 1963. The monk then struck a match, set fire to his gas-soaked garments and died, in protest of alleged government persecutions of Buddhists.
Flying at dawn, just over the jungle foliage, U.S. C-123 aircraft spray concentrated defoliant along power lines running between Saigon and Dalat in South Vietnam early in August of 1963. The planes were flying about 130 miles per hour over steep, hilly terrain, much of it believed to be infiltrated by the Viet Cong.
Flying at dawn, just over the jungle foliage, U.S. C-123 aircraft spray concentrated defoliant along power lines running between Saigon and Dalat in South Vietnam, early in August 1963. The planes were flying about 130 miles per hour over steep, hilly terrain, much of it believed infiltrated by the Viet Cong.
A contingent of the Royal Australian Air Force arrives at Tan Son Nhut Airport, Saigon to work with the South Vietnamese and U.S. Air Forces in transporting soldiers and supplies to combat areas in South Vietnam on August 10, 1964.
A contingent of the Royal Australian Air Force arrives at Tan Son Nhut Airport, Saigon, to work with the South Vietnamese and U.S. Air Forces in transporting soldiers and supplies to combat areas in South Vietnam. August 10, 1964. | Location: Tan Son Nhut Airport, Saigon, South Vietnam.
The sun breaks through the dense jungle foliage around the embattled town of Binh Gia, 40 miles east of Saigon, as South Vietnamese troops, apparently joined by U.S. advisers, rest after a cold, damp and tense night of waiting in an ambush position for a Viet Cong attack that didn't come. One hour later, as the possibility of an overnight attack by the Viet Cong disappeared, the troops moved out for another long, hot day hunting the elusive communist guerrillas in the jungle. Photo  taken in January of 1965.
The sun breaks through the dense jungle foliage around the embattled town of Binh Gia, 40 miles east of Saigon, in early January 1965, as South Vietnamese troops, apparently joined by U.S. advisers, rest after a cold, damp and tense night of waiting in an ambush position for a Viet Cong attack that didn't come. One hour later, as the possibility of an overnight attack by the Viet Cong disappeared, the troops moved out for another long, hot day hunting the elusive communist guerrillas in the jungles.
Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into the tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in March of 1965.
Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into the tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in March 1965 during the Vietnam War.
Marine Lance Corporal James C. Farley cries over the deaths of fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War on March 31, 1965.

An unidentified U.S. soldier wears a hand-lettered "War Is Hell" slogan on his helmet on June 18, 1965, during the Vietnam War. He was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty at Phouc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam.
An unidentified U.S. Army personnel wears a hand lettered "War Is Hell" slogan on his helmet, June 18, 1965, during the Vietnam War. He was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty at Phouc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam.
Guitar slung over his shoulder, a trooper of the United States 1st Calvalry walks ashore from a landing craft at Qui Nhon, South Vietnam. More than 2,500 Cavalrymen arrived here on August 13, 1965, bringing the total of the Army's First Airmobile Division up to 16,000 men.
9/13/1965- Qui Nhon, South Vietnam - Guitar slung over his shoulder, a trooper of the United States 1st Calvalry walks ashore from a landing craft. More than 2,500 Cavalrymen arrived here 9/13, bringing the total of the Army's First Airmobile Division up to 16,000 men.
Paratroopers of the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade hold their automatic weapons above water as they cross a river in the rain during a search for Viet Cong positions in the jungle area of Ben Cat, South Vietnam, on Sept. 25, 1965. The paratroopers had been searching the area for 12 days with no enemy contact.
Paratroopers of the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade hold their automatic weapons above water as they cross a river in the rain during a search for Viet Cong positions in the jungle area of Ben Cat, South Vietnam, Sept. 25, 1965. The paratroopers had been searching the area for 12 days with no enemy contact.
Associated Press photographer Huynh Thanh My covers a Vietnamese battalion pinned down in a Mekong Delta rice paddy about a month before he was killed in combat on Oct. 10, 1965.
Thanh My was the elder brother of fellow AP photographer Nick Ut, and one of the 135 photographers from all sides who died in the French war in Indochina and the Vietnam War.
 
Associated Press photographer Huynh Thanh My covers a Vietnamese battalion pinned down in a Mekong Delta rice paddy about a month before he was killed in combat on Oct. 10, 1965. 
Near Berkeley, Calif., demonstrators march against the war in Vietnam during December of 1965.
Berkeley-Oakland City, Calif., demonstrators march against the war in Vietnam, December 1965. 
U.S. soldiers hold a memorial service for seven men of the U.S. 101st Airborne Brigade in a clearing near a former French rubber plantation in Lai Khe, Vietnam, on December 17, 1965. The deceased men's boots, helmets and M16 rifles are set up with a field altar. The seven paratroopers were killed in action during a search-and-destroy mission against the Viet Cong in the jungles and plantation areas of Lai Khe, about 40 miles north of Saigon, during the Vietnam War.
U.S. soldiers hold a memorial service for seven men of the U.S. 101st Airborne Brigade in a clearing near a former French rubber plantation in Lai Khe, Vietnam, December 17, 1965.  The deceased men's boots, helmets and M16 rifles are set up with a field altar.  The seven paratroopers were killed in action during a search-and-destroy mission against the Viet Cong in the jungles and plantation areas of Lai Khe, about 40 miles north of Saigon, during the Vietnam War. 
Actress Carroll Baker snaps her fingers at sailors cheering from the bridge of aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga as Bob Hope leads her across a stage set up on the flight deck. More than 2,500 sailors saw the Hope troupe's show on the carrier off the coast of Vietnam on December 27, 1965.
Actress Carroll Baker snaps her fingers at sailors cheering from bridge of aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga as Bob Hope leads her across stage set up on flight deck.  More than 2,500 sailors saw the Hope troupe's show on the carrier off the coast of Vietnam December 27, 1965. 
Two South Vietnamese children gaze at an American paratrooper holding an M79 grenade launcher as they cling to their mothers who huddle against a canal bank for protection from Viet Cong sniper fire in the Bao Trai area, 20 miles west of Saigon, Jan. 1, 1966.  The 173rd Airborne brigade was making a sweep in Bao Trai area to round up Viet Cong suspects.  The farmers and their families were rounded up by combined Vietnamese, American and Australian battalions in area long held by Viet Cong. 
US Marines carry their weapons even to take a bath which is where they are headed near their camp in Chu Lai, Vietnam on Jan. 16, 1966. 
A napalm strike erupts in a fireball near U.S. troops on patrol in South Vietnam, 1966 during the Vietnam War. 
Water-filled bomb craters from B-52 strikes against the Viet Cong mark the rice paddies and orchards west of Saigon, Vietnam, 1966.  Most of the area has been abandoned by the peasants who used to farm on the land. 
American soldiers listening to a radio broadcast in Vietnam during the war in 1966. 
A peaceful anti-Vietnam War demonstrator holds up a flower to armed soldiers protecting the perimeter of the Pentagon. - photographed: 1968 
Pfc. Lacey Skinner of Birmingham, Ala., crawls through the mud of a rice paddy against heavy Viet Cong fire near An Thi in South Vietnam, as troops of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division engaged in a fierce 24-hour battle with the enemy along the central coast, Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, 1966. 
A helicopter lifts a wounded American soldier on a stretcher during Operation Silver City in Vietnam, March 13, 1966. 
PFC Richie sniffs at the delicate perfume of a girl far away as he opens a letter April 12, 1966 from his girlfriend in Jay, Oklahoma. Mail call is held daily and letters are a welcome interlude in the daily grind of events in Vietnam. 
 
A Vietnamese mother and her children are framed by the legs of a soldier from the U.S. First Cavalry Division in Bong Son, Vietnam, September 28, 1966. 
A crowd of American soldiers swarm around U.S. President Johnson on Oct. 26, 1966 shortly after his arrival at Cam Rahn Bay in South Vietnam visiting troops during the war. 
U.S. trooops of the 7th. and 9th. divisions wade through marshland during a joint operation on South Vietnam's Mekong Delta, April 1967. 
A wounded U.S. soldier of the 1st Infantry Division, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, receives first aid after being rescued from a jungle battlefield south of the Cambodian border in Vietnam's war zone C, April 2, 1967. A reconnaissance platoon ran into enemy bunkers, and their recuers were pinned down for four hours in fighting that left 7 U.S. dead and 42 wounded. 
Defense Secretary McNamara and Gen. William Westmoreland, commander U.S. Forces in Vietnam, sit with muffler type radio earphones as they ride in helicopter toward the DMZ on McNamara's first field trip during his current visit to Vietnam, July 10, 1967. 
A U.S. 1st Air Cavalry Division soldier throws a rice basket into flames after a peasant woman retrieved it from the burning house in background.  American troops destroyed everything of value to the enemy after overrunning the village near Tam Ky, 350 miles northeast of Saigon, during the Vietnam War on Oct. 27, 1967. 
A U.S. air cavalryman lends a helping hand to an aged Vietnamese woman who grew tired as she and her neighbors were being resettled from their village to a refugee camp, Jan. 5, 1968. Other villagers had refused to assist her because, according to custom, they would then have borne responsibility for her for the remainder of her life. 
** EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT ** South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the National Police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem (also known as Bay Lop) on a Saigon street Feb. 1, 1968, early in the Tet Offensive. 
As fellow troopers aid wounded comrades, the first sergeant of A Company, 101st Airborne Division, guides a medevac helicopter through the jungle foliage to pick up casualties suffered during a five-day patrol near Hue, April 1968. 
 
Refugees fleeing their burning homes in Saigon in May 9, 1968 
 
 
 
 
Farewell ceremonies in Danang on July 25, 1969 marking the departure of the colors of the units making up the 9th Marine regiment, which was being deployed to Okinawa under President Nixon’s 25,000 troop withdrawal plan.
 
 
 Supporters of the Vietnam moratorium lie in the Sheep Meadow of New York's Central Park on Nov. 14, 1969, as hundreds of black and white balloons float skyward. A spokesman for the moratorium committee said the black balloons represented Americans who died in Vietnam under the Nixon administration, and the white balloons symbolized the number of Americans who would die if the war continued.



Mary Ann Vecchio gestures and screams as she kneels by the body of a student lying face down on the campus of Kent State University, Kent, Ohio on May 4, 1970. National Guardsmen had fired into a crowd of anti-war demonstrators, killing four.


South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places on June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing.


Carriers and troops of B Company of the 7th Royal Australian Regiment during operations in Phuoc My province, southeast of Saigon on June 22, 1970. The operation involved a three-day search and clear mission, seeking out a Viet Cong base camp.

The four delegations sit at the table during the first signing ceremony of the agreement to end the Vietnam War at the Hotel Majestic in Paris on Jan. 27, 1973. Clockwise, from foreground, delegations of the Unites States, the Provisonal Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam, North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

An American prisoner of war talks through a barred door port to fellow POWs at a detention camp in Hanoi on March 14, 1973.

President Gerald Ford is photographed as he carries one of the first children evacuated from Vietnam during Operation Babylift at the San Francisco Airport on April 5, 1975.
President Gerald R Ford is photograh carries one of the first children evacuated from Vietnam during Operation Babylift at San Francisco Airport on April 5, 1975.
Mobs of Vietnamese people scale the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, Vietnam, trying to get to the helicopter pickup zone, just before the end of the Vietnam War on April 29, 1975.

A CIA employee (probably O.B. Harnage) helps Vietnamese evacuees onto an Air America helicopter from the top of 22 Gia Long Street, a half mile from the U.S. Embassy on April 29, 1975.

A Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) tank enters the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon on May 1, 1975.


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