I’m not in the habit of taking “selfies” but this one was too good to miss! Had lunch today at the Song Long Restaurant in Westminster with my friends and former mates from Saigon, Peter Arnett and Nick Ut. The three of us are the last left standing of the ten journalists who won Pulitzer Prizes covering the Vietnam War. Arnett is the senior partner of this trio. He won the 1966 Pulitzer for International Reporting for his Vietnam writing. Nick was awarded the 1973 Pulitzer for Spot News Photography for his incredible of Kim Phuc, the little girl who had been napalmed and was running in terror down the road. On top of that, Nick saved her life by getting her to the hospital. I received the 1972 Pulitzer for Feature Photography for my previous year’s work that included photographs from the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and India. The portfolio also included a picture from the Ali-Frazier, “Fight of the Century,” which you could also say was a war in its own right!
Among others at the lunch today was Phuoc Van Dang, one of AP’s best, (and most frequently wounded), combat photographers, my first UPI boss, Carlos Schiebeck, a great shooter in his own right, Ray F. Herndon, an early-on UPI staffer in Saigon, Murray Fromson who covered the war for CBS and his wife Dodi, Edie Lederer, AP’s first female resident correspondent covering the Vietnam War, and Linda Deutsch, AP’s ace Los Angeles courtroom reporter.
These mini-reunions are important, and remind me of what talented people covered not only the war in Vietnam, but every other conflict before and since. They are essential to understanding what goes on in the world, and without them we would live in ignorance.
Nick Ut also presented me with an original signed print of AP photographer Max Desfor’s 1951 Pulitzer Prize winning photo of Korean refugees crossing a destroyed bridge over the Taedong River, taken December 4, 1950. It’s one of the great photos of all time. Max is 100 years old this year, and is someone I greatly admire and respect.