Film Flashback: Same Roll, Halfway Round The World

Like many other servicemembers, my dad carried a camera in his personal gear. He snapped pictures of whatever caught his eye or thought interesting. About six weeks before returning home from Vietnam, in June 1968, his Brownie camera stopped working. The shutter mechanism had jammed. While having a camera didn’t seem to be a necessity, he bought an inexpensive Minolta camera at the PX to replace it. The trip home had him traveling through Japan, and then taking the polar route via Alaska and Seattle. It was worth taking a few pictures. With my dad soon retiring from military service, he wasn’t coming this way back again.

While these are not the best images, they were on the same roll of film that was loaded in his Minolta camera.

low and fast, helicopter ride from Lai Khe, Vietnam (Jun 1968)


southwest Colorado, near the Four Corners at sunset (Jul 1968)


It is said the world has become smaller, especially in the age of the internet. Two images on the same roll of film, the axiom, “halfway ’round the world, worlds apart”, applies. The world is much larger.


4 thoughts on “Film Flashback: Same Roll, Halfway Round The World

  1. It is funny how we didn’t think twice about leaving the same roll of film in the camera for extended periods of time. In your father’s case, it was for much time and many time zones. His photos have a wonderful vintage feel, and through them you must feel a great sense of connection to him.

    • That’s so true when it comes to film. In my 35 mm SLR, right now, it’s loaded with a 24-exposure roll – 8 shots taken, 16 remaining.

      With my dad’s photos, primarily slides, each one has a story. My grand plan is to put together sort of a history site/blog. It’s matter of blocking out the time and putting it together, and getting my dad to recount some of the stories. The other part would be fitting it with the home front – how times were different then, etc.

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