After witnessing so many years of war, Vietnamese civilians, especially in rural areas, most often cast silent stoic gazes upon passing American soldiers and Marines. The Americans, when not rifling through civilian huts, looking for VC contraband and other evidence of cooperation with the enemy, responded in kind, moving nervously through countless villages and hamlets, but not making eye contact with the people, as if they were not there.
Many Americans had younger brothers and sisters back home, and, in some cases, baby daughters or sons, causing some of the soldiers to interact differently with Vietnamese children. Private Dick Wolfe, who had a baby son named Brian, and a little sister, Carolyn, back home in Princeton, Indiana, somehow found the time to visit a small school and orphanage located near the company-size base camp he and his fellow Alpha Company comrades inhabited. On his trips to the orphanage by jeep, he brought food and candy to two small boys he had befriended there. The Wolfe family was never completely aware of the time he spent doing these good deeds, but recently discovered photo negatives found among the belongings of Wolfe that were shipped home after his death, along with a letter from a fellow soldier sent to Dick Wolfe’s parents document Wolfe’s involvement with the unusual acts of kindness in an otherwise harsh and brutal war. Three of the photos are presented here.