The Women Who Covered Vietnam

There were dozens of female war correspondents and photographers. Today they are largely forgotten.

Comments: 110

  1. A wonderful article! Thank you for writing it! Women in so many professions dedicated their life to their craft - in the face of so many obstacles.

  2. A fine, much needed article. I say that as a former grunt in the 101st Airborne Division who now teaches the literature and history of the war. Accounts of their experience by women on both sides have really made my course, and my understanding of Vietnam, much richer. I look forward to reading what Becker has previously written on the war. I recommend "War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam," which features first-person memoirs by eight female correspondents, including the remarkable Kate Webb.

  3. One of the other Vietnam correspondents covered in "War Torn" is Denby Fawcett, who still writes columns for the online newspaper Civilbeat in Hawaii. She is a long-time resident, having grown up in Honolulu. www.civilbeat.org

  4. Thank you so much, Ms. Becker, for an eye-opening story of some very brave and daring women. Women bring their unique life experiences, perspectives and ways of dealing with people to any field of endeavor. The feminine perspective is always needed in every area of life and never more so than in these times in which hyper-masculine leadership is on the road to destroying the planet and its inhabitants.

  5. Yes, the feminine perspective is needed in every area of life. That is an element of feminism that is often ignored. It is not about winning or losing or being superior. Feminism is about being equal. Period.

  6. It is true that women reporters have been forgotten, but it is also true that Americans have forgotten or have lost interest in the Vietnam War. When the excellent Ken Burns documentary of the Vietnam War was being broadcast, I polled a number of acquaintances young and old. Not one person under 50 was watching it. Not one. My 30 year old daughter wasn't even aware of the program. War veterans like myself watched every episode, but women seniors were not interested in the documentary. The US has moved on, and perhaps rightly so.

  7. Not “rightly so.” Disastrously so. The uninterested and uninformed body politic today are letting our current “president” and his military functionaries, supported by completely ignorant, gutless members of Congress, make the same disastrous mistakes in Afghanistan and the Middle East that their predecessors made in Vietnam and surrounding places in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

  8. west coast dog The worst part for me asking friends and family members if they watched the Burns Vietnam documentary was their response: "No, I just couldn't." Oh really? They just couldn't watch, but the VA and other healthcare entities are jam packed with results of the aftermath. Not to mention the Vietnam Wall, and other reminders..... It gave me an unwanted and sort of undigested take on who I was talking to that "just couldn't watch" and I can't hardly let it go. MIMA

  9. There are so many forgotten stories of the Vietnam War era. Thank you to Ms Becker for bringing this one to our attention. Something important!

  10. When I returned from Vietnam at the end of 1971, I was surely the oldest 23 year-old any of my friends, family or classmates had ever met. Having been an advisor embedded in the Province Reaction Force in Kien Hoa Province (Viet Cong Market Place), one of 3- 5 American advisors to a force of 600 Vietnamese (including numerous Hoi Chan or former Viet Cong), I had spent a year being the 911 responding to ARVN's getting it over their heads and needing to bail. Our job was to coach them or extract them...alive, wounded or dead and don't leave their equipment. Francis Fitzgerald's "Fire in the Lake" was the first book I read that captured the essence of what we had to learn when we studied Vietnamese history and culture in country to become advisors. We grasped it...99% of Americans who served (I say without any anger) I would have to say, didn't understand that we were intervening in a civil war that was none of our business. Fitzgerald's work was a tribute to scholarship and a woman's unflinching vision of reality.

  11. Thanks for this. I read Kate Webb's book when it came out and I was a first-year journalism student in Canada. She was among several female role models for me.

  12. I've asked my social media contacts to read your piece and to ask themselves if the press matters. Women reporting from that theater of conflict was not mentioned while I was in journalism school. Women in the press should be explored more by those interested in the Vietnam conflict. Thank you for writing this wonderful article.

  13. I knew nothing of women correspondents before this article. Thank you, Ms. Becker, for bringing this to light, and thank you for your courage, tenacity, and pursuit. You are truly a role model for women and men everywhere.

  14. Thank you for this wonderful article. I have thought lots about women journalists, who covered conflicts beginning with Clare Hollingworth, who reported on the invasion of Poland to more recent ones, Marie Colvin etc, and what a difference each has made in the telling of each story. When The War Was Over is my favourite book on Cambodia. I have imagined the various difficulties and challenges many of these women might faced because of their gender. I have been waiting to read such an article, where I don't have to imagine - thank you. This article fills a gap in a gaping hole in stories about women reporting in conflict.

  15. There needs to be a longer history and study of the unique contributions of female journalists, which you cite in this article as beginning in WWII. I can imagine there exists a treasure trove of more "informal reporting" in the journals of women who observed wars in previous centuries. Currently, there has been a notable number of women reporting on more recent wars in the Middle East, including the retaking of cities this year in northern Iraq and Syria. This history has been too long overlooked if not discarded. Thank you for your own contributions and for bringing this history further to light.

  16. Brilliant, needed and so comforting to read about bravery, intelligence and essential curiosity of women, by women and for women.

  17. This is one of the best articles I have laid my eyes on in a long time. I have friends who were in Vietnam, females, nurse or support soldiers, but the reporter story is a new one. These are women I want my daughters and granddaughter to know about. They will get this article. We will go to the movie.....together. My husband served in Vietnam, as did 2.7 million. I did a little research for an article I wrote on Veterans Day. That was 9.7% of their generation. Most were 21 years old and younger. 31% suffer from PTSD. 75,000 were severely disabled, and hundreds of thousands suffered wounds, while over 58,000 died. My heart is so very proud of these women, who also served in Vietnam. They brought stories. They brought sadness and angst in their writing. They tried to bring us the truth. I want to say, as we all say, "Thank you for Your Service" in so many ways. But I think for now being aware and spreading the awareness of them, their passion, bravery, and hard work will have to be an expression of ever gratitude. Thank you for this piece of everlasting importance.

  18. You failed to mention one of the great female war correspondents who also died in Vietnam and that is Marguerite Higgens (Maggie). A brave woman who also reported on the Korean War and told Doug to let her write - he did by the way.

  19. Stories about indomitable reporters such as these women will not be easily repeated, at least when the American military is involved. The Pentagon knew EXACTLY what it was doing when it adopted its “embedded reporter” scam. Now women and men are equally controlled with no more free access to military zones, no more unauthorized stories, no more freedom from censorship. Now, everyone who wants to cover America's wars essentially “works” at the whim of the Pentagon, with all of the potential implications. Anyone who believes that the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan would have unfolded and continued as they have if reporters had the almost unlimited freedom they had in Vietnam is a fool.

  20. What these women did was in many ways brave, groundbreaking, and important. But "Forgotten?" Spare us the self-pity, and, frankly, ego. A google search for "female reporters in Vietnam" shows that their story is told and re-told regularly on various news programs, highlighted in museums and in academic institutions, and written about in books.

  21. Random but related pop culture fact: one of the most memorable episodes of Quantum Leap is, in fact, about a woman reporter in Vietnam!

  22. I remember Kate Webb almost breaking down as she recounted what she had seen during the Indonesian bloodbath of 1965-66. Sensitive, braver than most, one heck of a person and reporter. This was in 1969. I almost broke down too. The next day we were both back in the field, probably bumming a chopper ride from Hotel 3 at Tan Son Nhut. Must have gone in different directions. Can't remember when or if I saw her again. God speed, Kate.

  23. Wonderful story. Another reporter: Rose Wilder Lane-daughter of Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder of the pioneer books! http://www.thecriticalmom.blogspot.com

  24. I stand in awe at the courage and decency of these wonderful women correspondents who are among the few heroes of this disastrous and misbegotten adventure in Southeast Asia.

  25. Gloria Emerson wrote one of the greatest books ever written on the war, Winners and Losers, which won the National Book Award in 1978. I read it back in 78 when I was 18, and I just re-read it. The second time really affected me.

  26. Great article by Ms. BECKER, but fails to mention the name of Marguerite Higgins, perhaps the "doyenne" of all female war correspondents who covered Second World War, Korean conflict as well as our long, costly, tragic experience in Vietnam. Won a Pulitzer Prize, and one of the best reporters ever to write for the much regretted New York Herald Tribune and then Newsday. With all due respect to Ms. Becker, they did not come any better or more courageous than Ms. Higgins.Only omission in an excellent piece, giving long overdue recognition.

  27. There is, however, a fine documentary about the women who served in Vietnam, called "No Time For Tears." It's available to watch on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/130980614

  28. Thank you.

  29. Elizabeth Becker is a national treasure, as this wonderful article reminds us. Not least for its detail, it is marvelous reading. Yes, John Gunther Dean was a disgrace, in a series of ambassadorial postings. Yes, Syndney Shamberg was a callow attention-seeker. Yes, the brilliant poet Tom Fenton's deep engagement with SE Asia has been astonishingly impressive. And, yes, Ms Becker is too polite to note what a preposterously silly book Fire in the Lake is. But read When the War Was Over. It is magnificent.

  30. Excellent story -- I saw only one journalist when I was in Vietnam, a French reporter who flew in and out of LZ Stud one afternoon. I don't know who he interviewed. I was unaware of female reporters; not surprising, I don't recall hearing or seeing any on the evening news. But now I know and with info like this article, I am learning more. Brave women who went into the field to report the horrors of war. Thanks for your service ladies.

  31. What a great article! I thought I knew a lot about Vietnam until I read this article. Thanks! I wonder if Ken Burns knew about this? The part about Sydney Schanberg was truly eye opening, especially given the center stage he got from the movie Killing Fields.

  32. History is not, as they say, written by the victors. It is written by the playwrights, poets and composers. Think of how many whose knowledge of English history is based solely on Shakespeare's "Henry" plays; contemplate the possibility that the most important diplomatic event of the mid-late 20th Century will be commemorated 500 years hence by revivals of John Adams' opera "Nixon in China."

  33. Thank you Ms. Becker -- we all need to learn, or re-learn, important history, and who reported it.

  34. Sexism comes in all too many forms, sadly, and Ms. Becker's article spotlights yet another one -- not giving proper credit where credit is due. Condescension dies hard. James Bennet, Jim Dao and the staff of The New York Times's Opinion section as a whole deserve highest praise for the entire "Vietnam '67" series, which both alone and in combination with "The Vietnam War" tour de force by Burns/Novick/Ward on PBS has not only refreshed many memories, provided uniquely illuminating insights and helped educate younger generations, but made great strides in righting a lot of wrongs.

  35. Thanks for the excellent article. It brought to notice a very neglected part of the Indochinese wars. Reporters like Kate Webb bravely faced all the dangers of reporting in Cambodia along with the added burden of derision from older, male reporters. I was in Cambodia in the same period and was appalled at the way other members of the press corp routinely mistreated female reporters.

  36. In the on-line biographies and encomiums to Sydney Schanberg, none of them mentions that he practically copied Sylvana Foa's scoop and took credit for it for 32 years. I am left to wonder how many other stories he stole from women without giving them credit, and how many other male journalists did likewise. Reminds me of the lists of women now coming forward with accounts of being sexually abused by powerful men--I can only wonder how many other women aren't speaking up. I am left sadder and more cynical...

  37. I'm surprised that the article didn't mention Elizabeth Pond, whom I believe got sent over there by her employer, The Christian Science Monitor. The German-language Wikipedia article about her says they sent over in '68. I remember when she was a prisoner of war, and her employers went to great lengths to assist in her release. It's nice to know, if I am correct, that at least one newspaper was willing to send a female correspondent over there at a time when most had to pay their own way.

  38. I don't understand this. Many men had to pay their own way, and this article states women had no other choice. That is demonstratably false.

  39. Where is your demonstration of falsehood?

  40. Interesting article, with some caveats; Sylvia Foa's 'discovery' of the US Embassy's involvement in directing the air campaign has been notably debunked. At the time, Embassy communication gear was being moved out to Bangkok, yet the practice of verifying US/ARVN Tac Air targets called in by FANK troops had to continue to minimize collateral damage. The radio intercepts that Sylvia Foa and others revealed were not related to directing, acquiring, or choosing targets, but were part of the temporary Tac Air confirmation system in place to verify targets already selected by FANK.

  41. How would one purchase such a stamp? I have women in my life who could use a story of courage, professionalism and triumph right about now.

  42. Main page link here -> https://shop.auspost.com.au/stamp-and-coin-collectables/stamp-issues/a-c...

  43. https://shop.auspost.com.au/product/a-century-of-service-women-in-war-mi...

  44. Thank you Martin

  45. Welcome to the real world. You have your angst over a lack of recognition for women reporters covering a lost war. Well guess what, almost 50 years later, many of us who served still wonder about the lack of recognition over lives lost for the dreams of vain men whose time have already been

  46. Well said. None of us who served in that horrible mess came out any better. In fact, Hollywood opportunists made millions on movies depicting us as monsters and the public flocked to see them. To this day I can't watch the original MASH movie or TV series because it was really a Vietnam anti war story set in Korea. Portraying Vietnam vets in the slightest positive light simply wasn't marketable at that time; may still be true even today.

  47. There has been discussion - unending discussion - over how Vietnam vets were or were not treated. There are also many articles, books and articles about how the US got into Vietnam, the mistakes made and the singleminded fear of losing face that kept us there. Do you begrudge this single article about women who reported the war?

  48. There has been discussion - unending discussion - over how Vietnam vets were or were not treated. There are also many articles, books and articles about how the US got into Vietnam, the mistakes made and the singleminded fear of losing face that kept us there. Do you really begrudge this single article about women who reported the war?

  49. "...Horst Faas, the photo editor of The Associated Press in Saigon. He made the careers of several women with his simple policy of buying great photographs no matter who shot them." This is one of those things that makes me look up at the ceiling and yell "DUHHH!" and then follow it with incomplete questions like "How do you even---?" and "How can you not---?" before calming myself down and telling myself that things have improved.

  50. Not to diminish the excellence and bravery of the likes of Chapelle, Webb and Fitzgerald, Gloria Emerson was a rude, self-entitled jackass with a pre-positioned point of view, whose alleged reports were well formed before her boots hit the ground. I took hundreds of journalists to the war in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969-70, never with the aim of influencing their reporting, and admired and respected many more than not. Ms Emerson was not among them. She was universally disliked by those of us in, and in and out of the field and I suspect she would consider this a badge of honor. Those days were tough enough. To hell with her.

  51. Well, of course it’s a WOMAN you remember to dislike. I’m sure all the men you ran into we’re just swell guys.

  52. DB Ashton if I may...I'm sure there were plenty of men that were aggressive and abrasive occupying the same role Ms. Emerson did. She had to be doubly tough to get through the resistance and misogyny of her time to do what she did. She was not there to make friends or make nice, she was there to do a job. I've noticed (even today) women are socialized to smooth out rough situations and to make nice as part and parcel of their lot in life. She broke that mold and told people her opinions, even if unpopular. That would definitely rankle men of your era as somewhere deep down inside you judged her as breaking with her innate social contract. I applaud her bravery and courage in the face of huge social obstacles, not the least of which were condemnations from within her own ranks. Not an easy role to play. She had an opinion and she was entitled to it. She was entitled to speak it even if others disapproved. She was born with a voice. We could all learn a lesson from her bravery.

  53. Ave & Brava...

  54. "Kate remained single..." America, Kate remained singular!

  55. Oriana Fallaci?

  56. I must add that women have contributed enormously to our knowledge of war in other ways as well. Women have been fantastic HISTORIANS of war and have conveyed the collosal stupidity of war in excruciating detail. One of these female historians may have played a part in AVERTING NUCLEAR WAR at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. BARBARA TUCHMAN wrote a history of World War One entitled "The Guns of August." President Kennedy read it shorly before the Cuban Missile crisis. He was struck by Europe's mindless descent into barbarity. Among other things, on the eve of the war, the ordinarily irate and aggressive Kaiser Wilhelm considered not commencing war. But he was advised that the troops trains were heading toward the frontiers and that it would have been a headache to call it off. So the war that was supposed to end by Chistmas lasted for more than 4 years and its wake came men like Adolf Hitler. During the Cuban missile crisis, most of Kennedy's advisors, and most Generals, thought that we should bomb the missile sites by surprise. If we had done that we may have all come to ashes: About ten years ago Kruschev's son said that some of the missiles were already activated. If we did not get every missile on a first strike, the remaining missiles sites would have rained nuclear hell on American cities. But this did not happen, President Kennedy, thanks to the female historian Barbara Tuchman, was struck by the stupidity of WW1 and armageddon was averted.

  57. Quick! Send a copy to Trump and hire someone to read it aloud to him!

  58. Donald Trump has probably never heard of "The Guns of August" let alone read it.....or be able to read it. Thanks for your meaningful comment and the credence behind it. MIMA

  59. David G, "So the war that was supposed to end by Chistmas lasted for more than 4 years and its wake came men like Adolf Hitler." And the war where the Iraqis would greet us as liberators and would be short (just like the war in Afghanistan) and has lasted for now 14 years. And in its wake came men like Donald Trump and his cabinet of wolves.

  60. Thank you for this wonderful article and reminder of brave people with big hearts.

  61. If you'd like to read more on this theme, try "War Torn" by Gloria Emerson and let me give a shout-out to Laura Palmer.

  62. Ms Scott: I'd like to add Gloria Emerson's "Winners and Losers" to the conversation; along with Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest," it shows the rot from the beginning to the end of our involvement in Vietnam. And, yes, cheers to Laura Palmer. On Alex Gibney's recent documentary on Rolling Stone for HBO, her work from Vietnam was not included. SAD!!

  63. What a remarkably rich story. I'm stunned.

  64. I served in the Army from 1967 to 1969-not in Vietnam. Stationed in Ft. Myer and working in the Pentagon, I felt that I was well informed. However, I was not aware of the role that female journalist played during the war. Thank you Elizabeth Becker for bringing the story about the brave female journalists to the nation ‘s attention . Furthermore, I am awestruck by young braver men and women that are covering the American involvement in the wars in the Middle East, and Africa. I salute them.

  65. I was a journalist and manager of a small domestic UPI bureau in this era, and Kate Webb's bylines and outstanding writing were legend. I'm delighted that she's being recognized for her excellent work and can't wait for the film to come out.

  66. Thank you for writing about this important piece of history. I grew up watching the Vietnam war on the Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC. I had no idea there were women reporting from the lines. Many thanks for your skill, bravery, and humanity.

  67. One of my best college history courses about the Vietnam War Era was from Dr. Jane Hamilton Merritt. She was a photojournalist in the Vietnam War and became a passionate advocate for the Hmong people. Although I took that class more than 25 years ago, I am still influenced by her teachings. Just another case of forgotten women in history.

  68. Ms. Becker: thank you for reminding us of our own history. I think sometimes it is easy to forget how far women have come in a relatively short space of time. That is a very encouraging thought. In my experience, many of today's young women are unaware of the courage and fortitude shown by their grandmothers, and what we owe to them. What we owe to you, for believing in yourself and your own capabilities no matter what those around you had to say. And for putting your very life on the line in order to do what was important to you.

  69. There is an essay by Martha Gellhorn on the suffering of the children in Vietnam during the war. It is collected in the first volume of the Library of America's collection of Viet Nam War Reporting. I wish I had my copy to give better bibliographical information, but you can find it in that LoA volume. It is one of the finest pieces of writing that I've ever read.

  70. I am so delighted to see this story. Thank you Elizabeth Becker for bringing your experiences to our attention. I wanted to only send a shout-out for another remarkable woman photo-journalist who played a pioneering role in opening those dangerous ranks for other women before World War II. Gerda Taro covered the Spanish Civil War and died in 1937 while doing so. Her photographs helped bring attention to the atrocities committed in that war, and did much to humanize the struggle of the Republican forces in that conflict. (https://www.icp.org/exhibitions/gerda-taro ). Taro's story is also remarkable because she wanted to cover the war for her own political and personal reasons: as a Jew living in Germany, she was intent on exposing the racist atrocities of the Nazis and the kind of violence they helped perpetrate along Franco's forces.

  71. A thoughtful, moving, and informative story. Thank you!

  72. Thank you. This is kind of writing I expect to read in the Times. Thank you for linking stories of the glass ceiling with modern war history. Thank you for your service.

  73. 1/3 of the United States teenagers couldn't find Vietnam on a world map then- and 1/3 of the United States teenagers can't find it now.

  74. Ms. Becker has written an absolutely great article on this topic of women in combat reporter roles. I am certain that this example of her clarity and insightfulness runs through her reporting of that time; it is a credit to anyone's capabilities, but such a shame that it has to be called out by a woman about women. Our society is so "bi-polar" - we as a citizenry loudly claim all these altruistic characteristics: fairness, equality, rights of education/freedom/race/religion...what-have-you; and yet, our true colors continue to come through, of bigotry, sexism, economic and social bias. Ms. Becker, Ms. Webb, sadly the late Ms. Chapelle (the photos of her last moments as she lay dying are some of the most gut-wrenching of that sad war) represent all that is the best...of humanity, not just "of man". As a combat vet of that time, and a father of three wonderful and independent-minded daughters, I can only salute all of you for who you are as individuals.

  75. Today, CBS News has at least a half-dozen women covering the conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, every one of the doing superb work. But this sentence by Elizabeth Becker, "More than a few came back bedeviled by nightmares from the atrocities and deaths they witnessed," explains succinctly and exquisitely why so many of us men who were there did not want then and still do not today want women to have to taste the ugliness of war. Can women handle war? Yes, they can, beyond any shadow of doubt. Should they, willingly or no? Another question entirely. No one, man or woman should "have" to experience war. Perhaps it is sexism, perhaps paternalism, but more than those, I think it is this little thing called love that leads us to this pass. Perhaps we just think, most likely wrongly so, we are protecting you. Let us have that fantasy.

  76. For this '80-something, this article is like a trip down memory lane and an old feminist dream come true! My best friend and I, as children growing up during WWII, dropped our dolls and played at being foreign correspondents with great gusto. They were our heroes and we wanted to be like them. They brought home to us the war our fathers were fighting "over there."

  77. Thank you for this wonderfully informative piece!

  78. Those were the days when we had genuine women reporters, journalists as itnwere, risking their lives to report on what was actually occurring in a brutal war zone where capture and death were always on the table. Kudos. The women "reporters"of today have taken that franchise and largely squandered it. Look at the questions the women "reporters" shout at Sara Huckabee Sanders in the WH briefing room everyday, These are not questions posed to elicit facts and information. They are biased political statements, mostly argumentative, and designed to enhance their liberal bonfides and speaking fees on their cable show, lecture circuit and book tours where the real money is. That is a naked conflict of interest but this crop couldn't give a wit about the ethics of the once revered 4th estate. Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are turning over in their graves. Those guys were both probably liberals but they managed to compartmentalize their own views and gave us honest hard news, not the field slop that passes for reporting today.

  79. She is wearing an American U.S. Army issued jungle fatigue blouse or jacket. I forget the nomenclature. Not a safari shirt. Unless I accidentally got dropped in Africa instead of Vietnam, I wore the same jacket. It would have been nice if one of the reporters noted in breaking the story about Cambodia that the North Vietnamese were violating the sovereignty of Cambodia in shipping arms from China and Russia and personnel from the North and infiltrating South Vietnamese. How did the South Vietnamese fare after 1975 when they were crushed by the North. Noam Chomsky never commented on their "liberation" and oppression. Yes I was there.

  80. Thank you, Elisabeth Becker, for this homage to these women who risked, like you, their lives and their sanity covering a terrible war.

  81. and what about Marlene Sanders, first woman to report from Vietnam and ABC-TV correspondent.

  82. We should remember all the forgotten people.

  83. more "Hidden Figures' and "Code Girls" keep the truth coming. Inspiring.

  84. Why were these brave women left behind and unrecognized? THANK YOU to all the Kate Webbbs of the world.

  85. We have centuries of stories by and about women to catch up on. They are especially remarkable because they worked in times when misogyny was as acceptable as the enslavement of blacks was at one time. Now we just have to get public education on board to teach the stories of and by women (and transcend all accusations of trying to be "politically correct.") Let's go.

  86. They are not “forgotten,” they are remembered in proportion to their importance in the historical record. If that’s inconvenient to the author’s agenda, so be it.

  87. Thank you for this article and your remarkable book which tells the story of how Pol Pot rose to power and the role of other countries in that rise and the genocide that followed.

  88. In her first paragraph Becker indicates Kate Webb is wearing a safari shirt in the photograph, like one might wear on vacation. In fact, Kate Webb is wearing a jungle fatigue shirt like most of the rest us soldiers wore during the Vietnam War. Believe me the Vietnam War was not a safari shirt vacation.

  89. Dickey Chapelle, Kate Webb, Elizabeth Becker are names, people, who rank with the finest journalists, observers of the human condition. Ms Chapelle, like another great journalist, Ernie Pyle in WWII (not a woman, but don't hold that against him) were killed in action. The women named in this column and the women not named but involved deserve every accolade. Phu Bai. 1969

  90. Truly inspiring. I'm sure there are others - in other countries and who have reported on other wars. In the spirit of Thanksgiving - my best wishes to you all - past, present and future.

  91. That really is a fantastic photograph. A woman probably born in the 40s at her best as a young woman, bright and fully engaged and figuring stuff out for herself. A couple of us took an ethics course from a woman like that our first year in college and entered the philosophy department looking for more of that kind of thinking. When she changed careers and went to law school we followed the same path to the same law school three and four years later.

  92. Remarkable account Ms. Becker. The trajectory of change in the lives of women suitably reflects the other changes coinciding with war in Vietnam. I saw only women characterized as "Donut Dollies" while I was in the field, and just once. The term at the time was derogatory, even if affectionate, and yet with time has become a badge of honor for the women who filled that role. There we'd be, in an LZ cut out of jungle, and out of the resupply chopper would climb a young woman who could completely reverse the descending arc of depression by being there and talking to you. Then off she went, never seen again by us, but seen by others, like an angel of a god or even a goddess. I admire you. I can't imagine having to put up with what women in that period put up with. I think about the life of my mother, born in 1922, into an Irish American culture, having 11 kids, and watching her friends, post WW II, having tasted the opportunity of male lives while they were gone, forced back into "traditional" roles. How did that generation do it? How did you do it? Reading this piece, in the context of this time of revolt against sexual harassment, and sex abuse, necessarily evokes that question: how did you put up with us men and accomplish so much, with so little and so well?

  93. I remember Chu Lai in the year 1967. But, my perspective was somewhat different, I was there as a grunt with the parachute infantry (327th PIR, 101st Abn.). Any correspondent, male or female, that willingly chose to travel there has both my sympathy and my respect. Those brave correspondents, those from the Red Cross, those entertainers and their allies who were present in the combat theater during the Vietnam War have the respect of all of grunts. They brave people us grunts, they were there. Thank You, very much.

  94. Terrific story in every way. Coverning war brings in elements of real life that go beyond what ordinary life brings, and reading about these women reporters from the particular prism of gender, and it is not about women being sexually exploited, primarily, is writing at its best. The rather extraordinary tales of these women stand out for their abilities primarily, from reportage to photography. Reminds me when I was a young girl and had Florence Nightingale as a hero. That was after Brenda Starr. Thanks for bringing their stories to the forefront in such an excellent way.

  95. As a student of journalism in the 60's I dreamt of selling everything I owned except my portable typewriter and camera and somehow making my way to Paris. There, with my smattering of French. I hoped to wrangle an assignment that would take me to Viet Nam. As it turned out "everything I owned" was about $80 worth of college textbooks. Eighty dollars was a fortune to me but it wouldn't have gotten me far so I let that and other necessities deter me. Therefore, it is with great interest I read this article. I and all other women owe a lot to the vanguard of women who pursued their passion for story-telling in that day and age. (Or any other career, for that matter.) I can now look at my granddaughter and know the world is open to her.

  96. Thanks for this eye-opening article, Elizabeth Becker. I was born before the Vietnam War, but enjoy learning more about it. I would have never known about this if you hadn't had written about it. Important and inspiring!

  97. Amazing -- women's careers were advanced because an editor bought good photographs NO MATTER WHO took them. That is all women want: an even playing field. When will that happen? Why hasn't it happened yet? The questions for this point in history. I read science fiction in the 1950s, when we thought people would be living on other planets and in space by 2015. I was in the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s, when we thought equality and the ERA would be accepted for many decades by now. Why not?

  98. Great part of what we all should have known before now. I would remind those too young to know- those days the reporters were not “embeds”. When you are embedded you have some measure of protection by the Military, but you are also restricted. To operate outside the embed system exposes you to much greater risk.

  99. I served in Vietnam as an Air Force combat news reporter -- 9/67-9/68.....today I write poetry, much of it about the war and my experiences. Central New Mexico Community College offers a class "Vietnam: War, Politics, History" taught by Stephen Andrews. (I audited the class two years ago.) The last day of class is sort of "show and Tell" and on December 7 I will be again reading my poetry and discussing my Vietnam days with CNM students, most of who are 18-22 years of age. Each time, I am very much gratified by the response from the students....In regard to Elizabeth Becker's article, I would add the name of Liz Trotta who worked for NBC and was another woman journalist who got her fatigues dirty covering the war, not from the relative comfort of Saigon but out in the "boonies."

  100. There were 70 accredited women reporters during the entire Vietnam War. There were about 600 reporters from around the world in Nam in '68 at the height of the war. I have also read that male reporters continued the practices of previous wars and discriminated against their fellow female reporters but they also engaged in the practice of stealing and out-scooping their fellow male reporters as well, calling them names a lot worse than "girls". Not to explain away the very real biases but to a hammer everything looks like a nail. Once the female reporters were far enough away from command centers in Nam they had easy access to young commanders and easy access to helicopter rides. Some of them did great work, were great writers and you can see that in their dispatches. Others like in any other industry were just mediocre or poor. The real victims of the war were the men that fought it and the incredible amount of civilians who died and suffered during it. Not a few women whose careers were inhibited by sexism. By the way, go ahead and name a dozen male reporters from the Vietnam War. Okay, try two or three. There you you.

  101. Seems to me that journalists were also heroes of this war and should be honored and remembered by a national holiday. How many more lives would have been lost but for their bravery in reporting the truth about the lies and failures of our military and political leaders.

  102. Love this article. How about the female and male military nurses in Vietnam? The male medics and corpsmen in country. And of course, the brave female nurses, American Aussie and Brit, from WWII, some POWs. Courageous all.

  103. Through the fault of my being born in 1957, I'd like to get a roll of (Kate Webb') stamps to affix on my correspondence as a commemoration of a great journalist (but I'll settle for her photo contained in this article), and a celebration for my inability to participate in that quagmire of Southeast Asia.

  104. Well done. Also remember the nurses who carried the pain of the wounded and dying as well as their own pain.

  105. Forgot the accomplishments of women in Vietnam? Americans can barely remember the war, as we continue to lurch into other nations bringing death and destruction but no real value.

  106. Thank you for your Vietnam coverage, but no mention of Marlene Sanders, the first American woman to cover the Vietnam War in Vietnam? For shame. She was fearless also.

  107. Kate’s story is coming soon to the big screen, Carey Mulligan to play Kate. Thank you for this article, reports like this are the main reason I subscribe to the NYTs.

  108. Kate Webb isn't wearing a "safari shirt." She wearing jungle fatigues, just like I wore over there.

  109. I was in Vietnam at Cam Rahn in 1970. I never met a female journalist there, but thank them for voluntarily going to VN, seeing see the horror and reporting it. But another movie which needlessly romanticizes that despicable war where 57K troops died and hundreds of thousand came back to a country that turned their back on them. Nor can we forget the deaths of millions of Vietnamese and the despoiling of their land. Instead I suggest a monument to female journalists that served in Vietnam on the National Mall near the Wall of Tears. (VN monument). But a nagging voice says, wouldn't it have been better for them to have led the anti-war movement? The atrocity of Vietnam cannot be erased from our National soul by, yet another, action hero movie.

  110. Let us not forget Beryl Fox, who long before it became fashionable to question the morality of the Vietnam war directed the documentary "Mills of the Gods." It remains one of the most powerful anti-war films ever made.