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Citizen Soldier: Capturing the Faces of War - DASPO Photographers in Vietnam
Veterans of the Department of the Army Special Photographic Office (DASPO) Pacific Detachment discuss the vital role played by the elite teams employed during the Vietnam War. Armed with their cameras, sound equipment, light weaponry, and operating on direct orders from the Army Chief of Staff, this elite group of DASPO photographers captured, in stark detail, the true horrors and humanity of the Vietnam War.
WILLIAM 'BILL' D. SAN HAMEL is a former captain in the U.S. Army and a veteran of the Vietnam War. During his distinguished military career, he served as Acting Director of Administration for the U.S. Army Photo Agency from 1965-1966; Mopic Photo Officer with the 221st Signal Company from 1966-1967; and as Pictorial Unit Commander and Motion Picture Director for the U.S. Army Special Photo Detachment Pacific (DASPO) from 1967 until his honorable discharge in December, 1969. Following a career in advertising, San Hamel was elected president of the DASPO Combat Photographers Association in 2013 and continues to serve in that capacity.
RICHARD 'DICK' DURRANCE, JR. is an award-winning professional photographer and author/editor of Where War Lives: A Photographic Journal of Vietnam. A former U.S. Army specialist who served two years as a DASPO photographer in Vietnam, Durrance later joined the staff of National Geographic and went on to a successful career in corporate and advertising photography. In 1968, his Vietnam pictures won first place (news), second place (feature), and third place (portrait) in the Military Pictures of the Year competition sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association.
THEODORE 'TED' ACHESON is a Vietnam veteran and a former motion picture photographer with the Department of the Army Special Photographic Office. Named "Cinematographer of the Year" in 1969 by the Department of Defense and the National Press Photographers Association, Acheson's work appeared frequently on nightly news segments in the U.S. throughout the war. Wounded in May, 1968 during a firefight near the city of Hue, he was awarded a Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal for his service. He is now retired from the advertising business and is a lifetime member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.