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
“1000 Yard Stare” is available April 1, 2017 on Amazon.