Posted on March 12, 2018
Dick Swanson first went to Vietnam as a war photographer. James Jeffrey tells the story of Swanson’s return – on a rescue mission for his 12 Vietnamese family members. When American photojournalist Dick Swanson first set eyes on local reporter Germaine Loc in Saigon in 1966, he thought she was beautiful, but she seemed aloof, too busy for a relationship. She thought he looked like a scruffy hippie. Despite that shaky start, they got to know each other better during the 1968 Tet Offensive, when the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong launched multiple attacks catching South Vietnamese cities by surprise. “We worked well together, almost as equals,” Swanson says. They married in South Vietnam in 1969 before moving back to the US in 1971, so Swanson could resume his career at Life Magazine’s Washington bureau. Germaine knew her family was strong – they’d fled the communists in 1954 and felt safe in Saigon. But as the war raged on, she asked her new husband, would he rescue them if South Vietnam fell? “I said of course I would,” Swanson remembers.