Life Magazine in Vietnam

In 1965 British photographer Larry Burrows joined an American army helicopter flight over Vietnam. His 16 April Life magazine cover story was a prime example of both the horrors of war as a ‘rite of passage’ for young soldiers and a classical photo-essay, a genre that reached its peak in the mid-twentieth century with picture magazines such as Life. On 31 March 1965 he flew on one of seventeen UH-34D Sikorsky helios, Yankee Papa 13, shuttling South Vietnamese infantry to a landing zone outside Da Nang. The cover shot depicts Lance Cpl. James C. Farley at the helicopter's open door cabin one hand on the butt of his M-60 machine gun. At the DZ the Viet Cong have already brought the helicopters under heavy fire and one, Yankee Papa 3, has been disabled. Farley leapt down from his machine to assist the injured crew members from Yankee Papa 3 including co-pilot James Magel see here lying in the open doorway amid shell casings and debris. While Magel was safely evacuated his serious chest wound would prove fatal.

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