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20 Harrowing Pictures From The Front Lines Of Vietnam

From 1962 until his death in 1971, Larry Burrows captured some of the most powerful and brutally honest scenes from the Vietnam War.

Posted on April 25, 2018, at 3:22 p.m. ET

A machine gunner scans for hostiles while his helicopter is on patrol over the Mekong Delta.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

A machine gunner scans for hostiles while his helicopter is on patrol over the Mekong Delta.

As the first televised war, the conflict in Vietnam was seen by many Americans in harrowing detail on the news and in the pages of Life magazine.

Larry Burrows attaching cameras to the Yankee Papa 13 helicopter prior to a mission during the Vietnam War.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Larry Burrows attaching cameras to the Yankee Papa 13 helicopter prior to a mission during the Vietnam War.

British photographer Larry Burrows was responsible for capturing some of the most powerful and brutally honest scenes from the war, often placing priority on getting the perfect shot over concern for his own life. From 1962 until his death in 1971, Burrows' images in Life magazine brought the reality of the war into the homes of Americans across the country and helped to provide a concrete record of this dark and difficult time in US history.

In 1971, Larry Burrows was killed while documenting Operation Lam Son 719, along with three of his fellow photojournalists — Henri Huet, Kent Potter, and Keisaburo Shimamoto — when their helicopter transport was shot down over Laos.

Since the war's end in 1975, Burrows' pictures have been revered for their explicit depictions of both the humanity and the inhumanity of Vietnam as well as a brutal reminder of the true cost of war.

Here are some of the most powerful pictures taken by Larry Burrows during his coverage of the Vietnam War.

*Warning: Some people may find these pictures disturbing.*

Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie (center) is led past a stricken comrade after a fierce firefight for control of Hill 484.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie (center) is led past a stricken comrade after a fierce firefight for control of Hill 484.

US Army soldiers burn straw huts during the Operation Pegasus phase of the Battle of Khe Sanh in April 1968.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

US Army soldiers burn straw huts during the Operation Pegasus phase of the Battle of Khe Sanh in April 1968.

Marines recover a fallen comrade while under fire with photographer Catherine Leroy (right).
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Marines recover a fallen comrade while under fire with photographer Catherine Leroy (right).

Left: Gen. Paul D. Harkins during an inspection tour of his troops. Right: A US jet drops napalm and phosphorous bombs on a small village.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Left: Gen. Paul D. Harkins during an inspection tour of his troops. Right: A US jet drops napalm and phosphorous bombs on a small village.

An exhausted American infantry soldier lies on the ground, among comrades, and drinks from a canteen near the Cambodia–Vietnam border in 1970.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

An exhausted American infantry soldier lies on the ground, among comrades, and drinks from a canteen near the Cambodia–Vietnam border in 1970.

A grieving widow cries over a plastic bag containing the remains of her husband, who was found in a mass grave of civilians killed by the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, in February 1968.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

A grieving widow cries over a plastic bag containing the remains of her husband, who was found in a mass grave of civilians killed by the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, in February 1968.

After firing on a Viet Cong village, US troops remove "joy girls," or sex workers, from the area.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

After firing on a Viet Cong village, US troops remove "joy girls," or sex workers, from the area.

Left: A US soldier inspects the body of a Vietnamese soldier killed during Operation Prairie, just south of the demilitarized zone in 1966. Right: US Army Captain Robert Bacon leads a patrol during the early years of the Vietnam War in 1964.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Left: A US soldier inspects the body of a Vietnamese soldier killed during Operation Prairie, just south of the demilitarized zone in 1966. Right: US Army Captain Robert Bacon leads a patrol during the early years of the Vietnam War in 1964.

US jets drop napalm on Viet Cong positions in 1962.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

US jets drop napalm on Viet Cong positions in 1962.

Tracer fire lights the night sky as US soldiers, along with South Vietnamese troops, conduct security checks during the Vietnam War.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Tracer fire lights the night sky as US soldiers, along with South Vietnamese troops, conduct security checks during the Vietnam War.

Left: A US soldier cradles a dog while under siege at Khe Sanh in 1968. Right: A bayonet-wielding South Vietnamese paratrooper threatens a captured Viet Cong suspect during interrogation.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Left: A US soldier cradles a dog while under siege at Khe Sanh in 1968. Right: A bayonet-wielding South Vietnamese paratrooper threatens a captured Viet Cong suspect during interrogation.

A South Vietnamese soldier crouches next to an injured woman while awaiting medical aid during an attack by the Viet Cong.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

A South Vietnamese soldier crouches next to an injured woman while awaiting medical aid during an attack by the Viet Cong.

Half-dressed US soldiers of the 9th Infantry Division fire at enemy troops somewhere along the South Vietnamese–Cambodian border area.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Half-dressed US soldiers of the 9th Infantry Division fire at enemy troops somewhere along the South Vietnamese–Cambodian border area.

Left: A shell-shocked US Marine has his wounds bandaged during Operation Prairie, a US military sweep of the area just south of the demilitarized zone. Right: Vietnamese girl Nguyen Thi Tron, a young amputee who lost her leg during an accidental US helicopter attack near her village, looks on at her new artificial leg.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Left: A shell-shocked US Marine has his wounds bandaged during Operation Prairie, a US military sweep of the area just south of the demilitarized zone. Right: Vietnamese girl Nguyen Thi Tron, a young amputee who lost her leg during an accidental US helicopter attack near her village, looks on at her new artificial leg.

Service members line up respectfully near coffins and military air transport during services for their dead comrades at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
Larry Burrows / Getty Images

Service members line up respectfully near coffins and military air transport during services for their dead comrades at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.

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