Just one year after having his first photo published in Sports Illustrated magazine photographer Guido Rossi’s career shifted in a completely different direction. Guido was assigned to cover the Vietnam War and spent time attached to the 1st Cav, 9th Infantry, the 5th Marines and more. Guido will be sharing a number of his most memorable photos with us. It will be a very interesting show.

TRANSCRIPT – Transcript and Subtitles are generated automatically by YouTube and may contain errors.

good evening vietnam
welcome to lz bunker this is the
veterans live show
i’m your host ronnie embrace i served on
the first airborne division of vietnam
from december 1967 to december 1968.
tonight another special guest mcv
photographer guido alberto rossi from
milan italy
guido was one of the only italian
national photographers to cover the
vietnam war
and spent time attached to the first
ninth infantry the fifth marines and
guido will be sharing a number of his
most memorable photos with us
it’ll be very interesting show we will
with guido in a few moments but first
i’d like to let you know that the
program is brought to you by
fallen never forgotten vietnam memorials
in the usa
fallen ever forgotten is a veterans
memorial book a tribute to those
who never made a home from vietnam visit
for more information or to purchase your
copy let’s go to the headlines
okay headlines on this day
here we go we’re broadcasting veterans
live show from washington dc over
memorial day weekend
there you go just hope that it opens up
with the big show they have down there
all all the bikers come from around the
and we have plenty of booths with
uh pictures i don’t think they have
weapons but they have uh
all kinds of jackets and uniforms and
patches and
and food and camaraderie okay
so if you be in uh the dc area for more
day weekend
come by our booth and say hello let’s go
to the vietnam
vietnam timeline segment
okay this state in vietnam april 14th
173rd airborne brigade was ordered to
deploy to south vietnam
the 173rd arrived in vietnam in may in
1965 and was the first major united
states army ground
combat unit to the war headquartered at
benoit air base near saigon from may
65 to october 67.
the brigade conducted combat operations
in the region surrounding saigon
in november 67 the brigade fought a
major battle
with north vietnamese army forces at
doctor in the central highlands
winning the presidential union citation
for bravery in action
airborne all the way for you guys you go
the number one song on april 14 1965 was
i’m telling you now by freddie and the
this state in vietnam war april 14 1969
united states troops killed 198
communist soldiers in a massive paving
and vc attack against patrol base
diamond three which was 33 miles
northwest of saigon
13 americans were reported killed and
three wounded
the number one song on april 14th in
was aquarius that the sun shined in by
the fifth dimension
let’s go to the photo segment
okay first photo from salvatore gallo
sitting on a 175 millimeter gun
lz ross boy that gun could do some
damage yeah you’re not kidding man
and by the way a salvator could you
write it to us how far could that shoot
let us know the range of that
magnificent weapon thank you
next picture okay all right
chicarelli i just turned 19 years old
19 you look like you’re 14. my god look
at you respect five
you probably still look young today my
man art okay eight companies six
battalion 31st infantry of the ninth
infantry division
maycon vietnam 1969.
welcome home thank you next picture
jim heston navigating the war a shot
dad took from his o to b i guess that’s
a uh
uh helicopter moving about i have been
told by wildlife
ngos that such a site these days would
be rare if not extinct due to
vanishing habitat that’s crazy with
those elephants one two three four five
well it’s great very nice
next photo rick langley life is good and
don ha
depends when you were there rick
a cot rubber lady tent all comforters of
this didn’t last long we’d be in the
rear for four or five days and back out
in the field
amen to that thank you rick for that
and philip c tyson perimeter guard 11th
armored cav
base camp longzhao vietnam spring of 68.
we served with the 11 armored cab out of
we went up to the uh rubber plantation
at the mission rubber plantation and
you guys gave us a lot of rides around
man everything i didn’t like was those
hitting those trees with those red hands
and all of a sudden everything had to
come off to get they were crazy
i hope they brought back some bad
memories all right the car tonight what
do we got here from vietnam cards
bombs away there you go
looks like for phantoms president
johnson increases united states
commitment to south vietnam and his
determination to keep south vietnam
from falling into communist hands on
march 17
1964 johnson approves the use of air
force jets to provide support flights
and bombing of communist infiltration
routes throughout laos
through laos there you go thank you
okay that’s gonna
bring our guest in guido or bernie rossi
there you go how you doing here
guido thank you thank you for inviting
me to this program
i really enjoyed to be in after so many
years of
my work yeah yeah i don’t blame you i’ve
never met a father the only photographer
i heard of in vietnam
was one woman who got killed after a
while but she was pretty
dangerous where did you serve what part
of the country
well i’ve been in the beginning i’ve
been around
saigon i was there on a black lady
and with the with infantry
and with the cav i’ve been down on the
delta of the cog
in and i did with them about three
operations in the delta
then i went up to da nang and from da
i’m working out with the marines in the
area and i was at the very end of the
mid-river battle in which was
about half an hour from the neck by
chopper and that was pretty
tough place and we we got almost
shot from a guy with a pistol an nva
with a pistol
and uh i’ve been up uh nearing a track
after the track in a place called a
with a special uh forces with the green
in a in a one of those camps they were
with cidg’s and uh with local people
and that was quite interesting we were
pretty in a wide place
with elephants as as you’re showing that
picture and a few tigers roaring at
wow i gotta tell you your english is
pitch perfect did you speak this well
this english this well 50 years ago
yeah i did
i worked in american school when i was a
okay and so i pick up english pretty
early in my life
there you go by the way gentlemen ladies
and gentlemen out there it’s 2
30 in the morning out in in italy where
uh guido is now
so we got to thank him for getting up or
or staying up to do this show
so doug let us uh tell me uh when you
how did you get the job to get to go
well uh you know uh the war pictures uh
was one way i mean it was a fast lane to
get in some success in this business
i started my career in 1966
shooting uh formula one cars and sports
and 1966 was my first astoria it was
only 17.
uh the israeli war broke up and
i wanted to join that in june but by
matter of fact i was able only to get
there in july by
visas connections and when i got there
everything was pretty awful ready and
and so i did some some little things
like refugee camps and stuff like that
but uh my first big job in a war was
so i decided to go to vietnam i got a
sponsoring me uh i got my ticket i got
my visas and
i flew in where did you go who did you
go to visit when you got i mean when you
landed where’d you land in tanzania
absolutely yes
okay where’d you win you had to go to
the embassy or check in or what
no it was pretty easy i mean you
used to report it to mcv uh
which had a very big compound right in
front of a city hall
of saigon and then you were processed
through the press offices and then they
take you to the po to buy your uniform
because i was out in the field with a
the only patches that were saying
different but i was not a us soldier
was that i had a label saying uh my
magazine name
but uh wise uh and i think
a vc or an nba from far away would
recognize that i had cameras or guns
so uh that’s true i have two cameras i
used to have this leica
m3 but i used to load it with black and
white feel
and i use it to have a nikon uh which
was uh loaded
with color film with uh with
transparency films uh so
that was mainly what we did and i must
tell i want to tell you a story my first
mission when i was out there with a
in fantasy division um we landed up
uh on a rice pad nearby a jungle then we
got into the
jungle a little bit and as soon as i
entered that path
i got attacked by a bunch of red ants
so i had to strip it myself completely
i hear you bro i feel so stupid
i hear you that’s what i mentioned
before about the pictures with the guy
from the 11th cap
when you’d write on the apc they’d hit
the little trees and knock them over
but all the ants would fall down on you
and knew that it was nuts it go into
that in your socks in your underwear
your armpits
god forbid we got attacked at that time
fighting naked
i was completely naked and it was quite
a funny story because
i i mean i feel so stupid
because i mean 48 hours 72 hours ago i
was in milan
and then i was in a war finally it
wasn’t a real war
and what happened i just bumped naked
because of this there you go
so uh how did how did you get reassigned
to your different units that you served
it says that you’ve served with the
first cab with the ninth infantry with
the marines
you had your where you wanted to go or
they sent you
yeah no no it was uh you used to go up
uh the press offices and they will give
you a little
briefing or what operations were going
okay i mean everything was like a tour i
mean you say i want to go there
uh and they say okay we take you there
we make over coordination
somebody was helping with transportation
and doing all your
all your trip was a very well done then
you were assignment
to a company to a platoon whatever was a
and then you are on your own you were
free to do everything you wanted
oh i forgot to tell you i was also on
the us ranger carrier
out of i mean i spent nearly three
months in vietnam so i had a lot of time
to do a lot of shooting there
yeah shooting with the camera camera yep
there you go okay the uh a lot of guys
love those
cameras from the px they were so cheap
and they were inexpensive
that they said they just fell in love
with the watches but the cameras
were great and they they they sent so
many home it was real and some of the
guys still have them
like you yeah well i
funny enough i probably have all my
cameras i just give a
few away because they were broken or
during the years
but i have a couple of boxes full of
nikons and all kind of cameras i use it
in my life
wow that’s crazy i’ve been getting up
for quite a while and uh
so and what news did you get into as
many special newspapers
that you have some really uh magazines
oh magazines okay italian magazines
italian magazines but some of my vietnam
went worldwide
also by united states magazines as well
but mainly was mainly was in europe well
uh from italy uh all together i think we
five photographers are being there but
only a few of us
have been on the combat
yeah that’s uh that must be a crazy job
and did you carry a weapon did i ask you
this already did you carry your weapon
no no i was not allowed to carry weapons
no kidding even a pistol i mean
wow no i was not allowed to
okay well that’s crazy okay
so where was give us some of the most
how would i say
dangerous or exciting or both
incidents well uh
once uh when we were we’re down in the
uh we shot uh some ground fire went
through the helicopter
uh that was quite uh that was quite
yeah and it was crazy because you were
looking around the helicopter
and in a black place i mean in a dark
place of the helicopter
on the floor or something like that
which was totally dark almost
suddenly you see with some some uh some
color passing through and that was a
hole and
if you measured it probably went uh five
ten inches out of your face and uh
and you only realize that afterwards and
that’s crazy
yeah but the fast garden nobody got hurt
nobody got scratched and and we landed
we got out and we move on
uh i must tell you one thing uh
in one of that was my very first mission
we end up in a little fight i mean
well we knew that bc i mean i was just
following and
i had a very vague idea what was going
you know you are in a line with troops
and uh the command is in front
radius and all that so i don’t know
exactly what’s going on
and uh but uh at a certain point
the jets come in and drop in a little
path of jungle
nap on bombs then the way cobblers come
and start rocketing down in that place
and then finally
we move on and when we move on
the only fan we found was about five
uh young vc probably there were just
that were forced to serve on the bc with
old weapons as well scattering around
and and i realized that i say come on
they spend
all this money to kill five people
if they would have give the same amount
of money they spend on the food to this
peasants they will be the best and
supporters of america that was my first
photo that’s the
first situation because everything’s
so crazy you know you were reading and
seeing movies
about a war where you fighting big
amounts of germans or japanese or
and then all suddenly always noise
always big fan
for 5 bc
it sounded quite strange for me at that
yeah yeah i understand it was like well
there was a program to try to
uh educate and re
re uh out um i guess re-accumulate the
the people who turned over to the vc so
they wanted to
go into the villages yeah
that was a surrender program but the
other one was to
educate and and
try to you know get into the local
populations little towns and villages
and win them over to the uh
non-communist side which was difficult
to do because once we moved out
the vc came back in or the nba came back
in so
well the difference the difference of
that is that
uh i will say we because i was with you
so when you try to do that you do it in
a gentle way
when the vc came at night they do it in
the hard way
if you kill somebody to force them to do
that that was all the story about
why you’re taking care of that you’re
yeah and i think the same thing going on
in afghanistan
and in other words crazy places
so you spent three months there yeah
nearly three months
wow october and i
left in december at the end of december
but matter of fact i came home and
was the last day of the year because i
had to make a stopover in paris
because there was no direct connection
flights from italy to vietnam
so i i did a stop over in paris and i
got in milan
in the afternoon of the 31st of december
and i was dead tired and i went to bed
and i heard the firecrackers going out
at midnight
and i thought it was some incoming
shells of mortars
so i woke up and i tried to figure where
my bunker was
yeah i hear you was in my room
a lot of guys used to sleep in a bunk i
was stationed in benoit i see that we
were in country at the same time
i was there from december 67 to december
and you were there from october 68 to
december 68.
so we might have crossed paths you never
know man
maybe you’re in one of my photographs
i’m going to send you some of my
i used to keep my instagram my
instamatic camera
in my ammo pouch with all kinds of those
little cartridges that put them in there
it was great i got i took about a
thousand pictures when i was uh
when i was over there of everything the
kids the barracks the woods the jungle
the swamps the
mountains the whatever the the landing
it was uh it was crazy but i only went
there i figured i was
in war once so let me try to capture
what i can
so we’re gonna go to get see some
pictures now you can talk to us about
the pictures
okay matt let’s hit the pictures
oh there you go nice burrito rossi
europa el ropa european
magazine magazine yeah that was the
who gave me a letter to what a handsome
devil man check you out
yep okay matt
next one here we go what have we got
here okay
uh this is a picture that we got some
uh we were in a line walking up this
this is down in the delta in the mekong
where the this is the ninth infantry or
or the first cave i don’t remember
exactly because it gets confusing a
little bit
between the free emissions and this is
exactly when we
we got some shots with us and you see
the pictures blurred
i don’t know if it was because i was
using a low speed on the camera
a shutter or because my hands were
trembling but i was on the floor i was
on my belly as well
that matt can you go back to that
picture i want to pick to show something
it’s really cool
uh cigarettes in the helmet binder up
got a few hand grenades on the back of
his uh uniform there with the ammo
he’s got his entrenching tool back there
he’s got a couple of canteens it looks
this guy looks like he’s 150 60 pounds
and he’s loaded down
like crazy good for him there you go
next picture
okay what do you got here uh here we
captured uh
a vc school this guy holding a map
is he was a suspected vc uh we tied him
up and we sent him back
uh somewhere to we surrender into the
vietnamese army
but we got obviously all these signs and
all these
uh propaganda stuff that were used by
the bc to train people out in the middle
of nowhere
wow this is a mission when i told you
that uh when all that hell helicopters
jets for five dead people and that guy
survived it
gotcha next picture man there you go
this is the same situation when we were
closing up to the jungle
and you see this is a a rocket
firing from us towards the jungle
oh i see the guys the guy on the left
shooting the rocket
that way yeah okay and it exploded in
gotcha okay and
what is that like elephant grass like
this grand tall grass
uh this was a a rice pad
rice paddy okay yeah i’ve never seen the
so full you know
good pictures next
there we go uh this is when i flew
in an a37 out of ten sonute
uh and we did a a napo
bombing mission uh and this was uh my
first time on a jet
this is a wing plane and you see i have
black and whites on cars because only
with two cameras
and the reason we were shooting black
and whites instead of old color
was because uh at that days the
magazines had some pages
in black and white and some pages in
color and they were not there was no
to move the color to black and white
so you had to shoot both so i have some
great pictures in black and white that
if it would be in
color will be much better and the other
way around
nice yeah this is uh
what i was able to shoot when we banked
it out
from the we were following the airplane
and we back it out
this is an apple exploding down there
what is that the river or or a beach
now uh the one on the right side of the
picture is
river uh don’t have a little little
stream coming into the river
yeah i see that right tango where where
we dropped
the nap okay
gotcha next picture here you go
camera i will show you before uh this
one is with the fifth marines and this
is mid-river
right check you out
got the camera got the press card got
the smile
and everybody else nobody else is
smiling but you
know these guys and this guy’s been a
pretty tough time
oh i agree believe me i know uh
the body count in mid river was close to
1 000
nba and uh to
to to the final stage of the battle
was b-52 dropping bombs on them
wow i think i think that bc the nba
had about almost a division out there
was a lot a lot of people
next picture man here you go
this is a little copter dropping us
flying out you see they’re all
empty and they’re just yeah i see that
yeah there you go picking you up
okay there you go this is a picture i
and funny enough i never sold this
picture uh
we are going back uh we were being
taking out from uh
from the jungle on a on a boat
one of those uh carrier pc carriers
and uh everything went well we spent
four days out in the jungle
and everything everybody was happy and
tired to get back
and this guy with this uh uh
with this uh little funny
sunglasses smiling at me and saying
victory because everything went well
and i shot this picture just as a
when we were talking and i love this
picture but funny enough no magazine
never published it
you got a bandolier real quick for the
uh m60 there
got his weapon in his uh i think he can
see part of his weapon there
yeah and he got the john lennon glasses
there you go yeah
okay okay this is mid river
this is an nva capture it uh and he was
captured by this tall guy
on the left uh with a t-shirt
and you see he’s holding a 45 pistol in
his hand
right hey this is a moment
uh we got some shots out and
i mean we were sitting nearby this place
just relaxing a little bit when we heard
some fire from a pistol and this guy
he was out there in the end of those uh
grass at the end of that grass
and he came out with 45 with a cold 45
in his hand
shooting toward us and this big guy with
with a white t-shirt run up there and
grab him
uh probably the pistol jam it or was uh
run out of ammo but anyway we got him
and it was tied up
and and then
it took him back to the nag he flew back
to dinner
with us that’s a good little tidbit
right there thank you
there he comes all again what do you got
okay color this is again yeah this is
again in color
this is another mission down in the
on the crossing rice paddle
and you know how hard is to walk on the
rice pants
yeah i know it looks like in florida
it’s a palm tree
with the palm trees everybody’s got
something else on
these guys the guys got bandoliers on
him from m60s
this guy has a rucksack the other guy
doesn’t have a rucksack he has
three canteens the other guy got the 60
on the m60 on his shoulder
that’s a really interesting picture and
there’s a guy with the radio up front
uh the guy in the center
up there uh ahead of everybody
photograph one thing they suggested me
when i got very
stay far away from the radio guys
because you used to shoot
the radio guys and the people near by
them so they say you keep away from them
and you’ll be safe
that’s right and they have to wait for
them 62.
is that it matt nope here we got another
one here okay
here’s a guy with a few low hanging go
great guido yeah again we were walking
through this rush pass
about 50 people moving up and and and
we were walking into the rice uh
really in the water because as you guys
uh if you were walking on the ditches or
in the little
the little allies that go through they
probably have mines on them and bobby
traps and stuff like that
so it was much safer even if it was
harder to walk on
on the water and the mud that instead of
trying to
be blow up by a mine yeah on the dyke on
the top of the dike you’re right yeah
absolutely we used to do the same thing
you used to go crossways versus on a
to do your right angles or or wherever
it was to keep your feet dry
but your feet were never dry anyway so
it didn’t matter yeah
there you go next picture here we go
okay uh this is uh down
on the delta game this is when we saw a
pam coming up and we
i mean the the tiger scout that was with
you start screaming to the guys on the
same pan to come close to the river so
we can board them
and check them out if with any weapons
or whatever
and this is a time that we’re coming
the bank of the river and you know you
never know what to expect so
everybody was uh ready if something went
wrong to blow them up
should be improved so this was a very
tense moment
as you can see from the guy down here
the the one of the
on the left side of the picture the one
who’s pulling up his m16
you can see from his face how was the
uh yeah it is one of those moments that
everything can happen
you’re right absolutely right what do
you got next so here we go that’s a nice
yeah yeah this is uh to tell you uh this
is the same operation
of that morning and this was in the
uh late in the afternoon then we then we
spent the night out in a village
and this one one of the guys this my
matter of fact
was a a really nice guy i mean he
he were very friendly and
and i love his picture because this
gives you idea
i mean i was in the same condition and
if you don’t i mean if you have weapons
or ammunition you try to keep them
them dry but with the cameras
is even worse because you can you can
just mop out a rifle and an m16 will
work but if you if you ditch a camera in
the water
it’s over right an interesting look on
that guy’s face mac can you go back to
that picture
interesting look on that guy’s face was
standing up
how he’s concentrating on something off
to the left
where this other guy is looking straight
okay thank you all right guido we’ve got
a question and answer session now
so let’s see what the first question is
okay interesting way to carry the
canteens that’s true
a lot of canteens those guys are
yep there you go
swinging in the breeze next question
this is awesome for you these are
awesome for us
youngins to see and link our heritage to
best stone very nice thank you david
malcolm king bible senior
all the airborne all the way thank you
very much
okay next picture
charlie lee fraley company a second
three two seven
no slack 1965.
first guys over there first brigade 100
airborne division okay equipment
strapped to
rucksack frame yeah
they did that at the time it was crazy
these guys don’t have rocks see one guy
has something there
and the other guy doesn’t and the other
guys don’t the one has the radio
interesting how they just go out like a
like a little light patrol
okay next picture okay next question
there you go there you go wow an 8
inch naval gun you’re not kidding
175 millimeter thank you for that
picture again
25 miles very nice range wow
i could go i drive about 50 miles to
work if you shoot me on two of those i
could get there
all right thank you oh guido very much
thank you so much for your
wonderful explanation and how a
professional photographer works in
and it’s really a uh privilege and a
pleasure to meet you
and to uh you have any anything you’d
like to say no
i’m just uh i was honored to be with you
uh well thank you very much i know it’s
two three o’clock in the morning out
there now
so uh ciao arrivederci
and ciao
you can go to my website which is a
guido alberto rossi.com
and mata put that up
man i’ll put that up on the screen
before we go off the air yeah
and dot com and uh you have a search
window there
and uh you select the language you have
italian or english
and you put vietnam more and you will
get a
nearly four or five hundred of my
pictures in there
wow and i’m still scanning i’m still
scanning some black and whites
that for one reason or another one i
never printed
those images so uh and
i will say in about a month time you
have some more new pictures in
but uh that’s interesting go in yeah
yeah there’s also a lot of
there are also a lot of civilian life
and uh i made our trips to vietnam i’ve
been back in 1973
when with another photographer we took a
car in saigon
and we went all the way up along the
highway one
we ended up where that point
was just a little bit over in the tranq
a little bit over wet
that was a border and from the other
side of the river was
the nba already with the flags and
everything and that was a scary trip
americans were almost nowhere
and then i went back in
in 89 and i was
that probably was one of the very first
trips for a photographer
and i was invited by the government and
i did a book out
of that and then the last time was in 19
1994 when they did a book
called passage to vietnam and they
we team it up about 70 photographers
from all over the
world to make a book every photographer
had one
assignment to do and and that was a
that was an interesting experience
because we went to hanoi
we went in a lot of places and funny
when i want to tell the story if i have
another second
uh we we used to take over film
we shot to an office of a publisher
that was in the city hall of hanoi and i
was with other free
french photographers we walked up there
to take our films and to get debris fit
when we see a little uh a little
old man and a french politician
talking on the steps of
the building and at a certain point the
cameraman that is
shooting the politician make him a sign
and the politician just drop his hand
turn back and go and he leave his guy
and this guy doesn’t know what to do so
we recognize that that was general jack
really yeah yeah are you kidding me
no i have a picture because we had our
cameras with us so what we did uh the
three of us
uh one was uh he was i gave him my my
camera and he shot a picture of me
shaking in my general jab
then i move out and the other guy went
there and shake it and
i took his picture and unfortunately i
you get such a man which was an hero
for his country and was one of the most
known generals and he was totally gone
the poor man his head was off
and when was that what year was this uh
this was 94 1994 wow 20 years after the
yeah by the way for anybody who doesn’t
recognized the name general jeff he was
the north vietnamese army
commanding general he was the one who
uh won the battle of the one that turned
the war with the french right
interesting guido
i love it love everything you’re doing
and uh
the best thing i like about you is that
nose just like my sicilian nose right
here see
pardon i like your nose it’s like my
sicilian nose
this way that’s okay brother
thank you so much my man god bless you i
will talk again
thank you good night
okay thank you very much don’t forget
to look up your copy before never
vietnam memorial is in the usa it gives
you a look about
50 different state memorials and lists
all the
guys who never came home sad book but
somebody has to pay a tribute to the
guys who never came home
thanks again for watching we’ll see you
next week on veterans live show
god bless you and welcome home