How CBS News cameras captured events of the Vietnam War

How CBS News captured the Vietnam War

Last Updated Feb 26, 2019 8:39 PM EST

Coverage of the U.S.-North Korean summit in Vietnam marks a return for CBS News. The most important events of the Vietnam War — events that changed our country forever — were captured in real time by CBS News crews.

On March 8, 1965, cameras were rolling as U.S. marines landed in Da Nang. Just four months later, Walter Cronkite's crew prepared to fly.

For the first time in American history, news from the frontlines was sent straight into living rooms across the country: The realities of war, minus the fog.

In August, as the war was escalating, Morley Safer documented marines destroying homes in Camne. One hundred and fifty homes were leveled in retaliation for a burst of gunfire. Safer's report painted a new kind of picture, an ugly, uncensored one.

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The Vietnam War was captured by CBS News crews including Morley Safer. CBS News

The reels kept coming. From the jungles of Hoai Chau to the streets of Saigon, America's first TV war dragged on.

More than 58,000 Americans were killed over two decades of the Vietnam War, including those who covered it. Nine CBS News employees died and 33 other staffers were wounded, including the late Ed Bradley, who was hit by gun shrapnel.

In 1968, Cronkite addressed a war-weary audience.

"To say that were are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory conclusion," he said.

Stalemate or not, it would take seven more years until Americans saw Bruce Dunning's 1975 report on the last plane out of Da Nang, as the city fell to north Vietnamese troops.

"As men clambered over one another, members of the air crew dragged them onto the plane trying to fill it as fast as possible," he said.

As deserters shoved and shot their way onto a plane meant for women and children, a Boeing turned into a battlefield. Viewers back home came to terms, on TV with the end.