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Getting his story

It has been decades since Don Hirst of Mathews saw his last mission as a combat photographer, but readers of a new book can see the same black and white images taken all those years ago on the photojournalist’s Pentax camera.

“We Shot the War” is a new pictorial history by Stanford’s Lisa Nguyen that features the work of four journalists (of which Hirst is one) who worked for Overseas Weekly, a publication distributed throughout Vietnam and east Asia during the Vietnam War.

In 1966 the paper opened an office in Saigon, which was at the heart of American operations in the region.

Hirst and the other reporters soon developed a reputation for their gritty, raw coverage of the conflict.

“Our coverage, it was uncensored and sometimes there was some grim truth in there,” Hirst recalled.

Fresh off his service in the Army and a tour in Vietnam, Hirst reenlisted and went to a 12-week military course on still photography in New Jersey. From there he would...

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