Charles “CW” Bowman, drafted into the United States Army on July 19th, 1966, served in the Vietnam War. Bowman spent his time in Vietnam as part of the 25th Infantry Division (nicknamed the “Tropic Lightning”), Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, eventually rising to the rank of staff sergeant. Bowman’s operations took place in some of the most fiercely contested areas of Vietnam; Cu Chi and Trang Bang. These areas were strategically vital and were hotbeds for Viet Cong, acting as a staging area for VC and NVA operations against the American forces.
Remarkably, throughout the violence and horror of the Vietnam War, Bowman persevered through these conditions and had the foresight to bring a camera on top of the heaping weight of his equipment in order to document his experience. Through his stacks of photographs, Bowman captured everyday life in Vietnam. The photos display both the destruction and humanity of the Vietnam War, as well as the monotony of daily duties and the deep connections and comradery between the soldiers.
This video slideshow was created by Marshall Museum Intern Matt Muller, Washington & Lee University Class of ’21. It was part of a multimedia project Muller did of C.W. Bowman’s Collection. Muller wrote exhibit text, selected objects and photographs from Bowman’s Collection, and even contacted Bowman, who visited Lexington to see what Muller had researched and designed.
C.W. Bowman’s Pictures from Vietnam