On the morning of Jan 31 1968, the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong rebels launched the Tet Offensive, a surprise and co-ordinated attack on 126 South Vietnamese cities. The carnage was beyond imagining. Eddie Adams was a photographer covering the Vietnam war for the Associate Press when he captured one of the most iconic and infamous images of the Vietnam war. Nguyen Van Lem was arrested for being a member of the NLF (National Liberation Front) and directly executed in the street. Adams received the Pulitzer prize for the photograph but later expressed regret about the destructive impact it had on the life of the South Vietnamese chief of police Nguyen Ngoc Loan who carried out the execution.
It was the first major U.S combat operation of the Vietnam War. After the trialing of the use of helicopters in the Korean War, they had a huge role to play in the Vietnam War. Helicopters became the modern day equivalent of the Cavalry.
Learn about the use of helicopters in the Vietnam War here.