AP / Courtesy of Mark Purintun

Mark Purintun, October 21, 1969, Chu Lai, Vietnam


John Kerry, Vietnam December 1968 - March 1969

The filmmaker-photographer—who previously showed a keen eye for recognizing potential with his 1977 documentary Pumping Iron, about a then-unknown bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger—begins with home movies of Kerry as a boy, interviews his brother and sister, and evokes Kerry’s exuberant first days at Yale University. (As roommate Harvey Bundy recalls, “John was always doing something.”) At the urging of Bundy’s uncle, William, Kerry enlisted in the Navy, and frequently found himself the target of gunfire on Vietnamese rivers. He was wounded three times and earned a Silver Star. “Every day, John Kerry made decisions that saved the lives of the crew of that boat,” remembered one man who served alongside him. You’ll hear lots of quotes like that in the film. Over and over. You’ll also see the young, dark-haired Kerry looking surprisingly handsome, shirtless in the sunshine and holding a puppy in his lap, like some shimmering vision from an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. (You won’t, however, hear from Kerry himself, today. He declined to be interviewed for the film, which was probably smart — doing otherwise might have looked like an infomercial.)

(Click to enlarge)
Mark Purintun and Faustino Requiza (San Diego)
Chu Lai, Viet Nam   (March 1967)
Americal Division

Mark Purintun
Chu Lai, Viet Nam (December 20, 1969)
Americal Division



Mark Purintun - August 1967
Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri

Mark Purintun  (August 20, 1969) Jasmine
Viet Nam 1969 - 1970  (watching my back)