In 1967, 19-year-old Marc Waszkiewicz left college, giving up his Vietnam draft deferment to join the Marine Corps. He learned on his first deployment what Marines really do in theater: smoke cigars and play poker. During one game, he bested a platoon member on a $35 bet. The defeated Marine didn’t have enough cash, and his time in country was running short. He offered to mail a check when he made it stateside, but Waszkiewicz assumed that meant he’d never see the money.
“What’ve you got that’s worth $35?” he asked.
The answer: a camera.
“I gave up poker and cigars, and I started taking pictures,” Waszkiewicz told Task & Purpose.
Over three combat tours, Waszkiewicz used that camera to take more than 4,000 photos. Now, hundreds of them have been carefully curated into a photo memoir titled “1000 Yard Stare.” The book illustrates the beauty, monotony, sadness, and camaraderie Waszkiewicz claims he found in the Vietnam War.
Scroll below to see some of Waszkiewicz’ work.
Smiles were rare when humping in the rain.Marc Waszkiewicz
Mile after mile, valley after valley, we humped endlessly.Marc Waszkiewicz
The hazards of barbed wire. We were so young.Marc Waszkiewicz
My infantry training regiment at Camp Pendleton.Marc Waszkiewicz
Clank! Clank! Clank! Here come the tanks.Marc Waszkiewicz
I wasn't the only one fascinated with the events around me.Marc Waszkiewicz
Dinner is served.Marc Waszkiewicz
Cau Doi Bay looking north toward Hue City.Marc Waszkiewicz
Good enough then, good enough now. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Celebrating heading home.Marc Waszkiewicz
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Marine Corps recruits with Platoon 4030, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, perform rifle manual marching movements during an initial drill evaluation June 25, 2018, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Dana Beesley)
An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email email@example.com with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
James Jackson, right, confers with his lawyer during a hearing in criminal court, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in New York. Jackson, a white supremacist, pled guilty Wednesday to killing a black man with a sword as part of a racist plot that prosecutors described as a hate crime. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 13. (Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)
White supremacist James Jackson – accused of trying to start a race war by killing a homeless black man in Times Square with a sword — pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder as an act of terrorism.