Christopher Turner, Vietnam veteran
Banner Elk, N.C., U.S.A
I was an army photographer assigned to the 221St Signal Company in Long Binh. As a photographer I worked for the South East Asia Pictorial Center or SEAPIC. I arrived in country just as the U.S. invasion of Cambodia began. As a new soldier in country I had not been assigned quarters yet, when Doug Itri a photographer I had known since photo training at Fort Monmouth offered me his bed since he was going on assignment. He and four other photographers from our unit were shot down while flying in a helicopter near Pleiku. All five were killed. Several days later his father called our unit and asked to speak to somebody who knew his son. We were all so young then we didn't know how to imagine the pain that father must have been feeling. None of us wanted to talk to him. We did not know what to say. Since I was fortunate enough to survive, I have always regretted not talking to Doug's father. I now have a son about the age Doug was when he died. I would have told him Doug was a good man; one who had a vision for a future outside the war. One who liked to laugh, one who had taken part in a water pistol game at our post the week before he took part in the ultimate game. I hope somehow his father reached a sense of peace about Doug's death. The war was tragic but Doug and the others were valiant and I think it is meaningful that they were willing to serve their country at a time when most of the country did not seem to appreciate their effort.