1942-1973 · United States, Italy, Korea, Vietnam
This archive consists of official paperwork, certificates, letters, and a photograph album that belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Carl L. Palmer.
The photograph album contains over 50 corner-mounted photographs ranging in size from 3.5" x 5" to 8" x 10". About 25 additional photographs are laid-in. Most of this grouping is in nice shape, however, the photograph album is missing its front cover and many of the images have significant humidity damage. The photographs appear to have been rearranged on the album pages several times.
The documents begin with Palmer's initial World War II physical exam in 1942 and end with a civilian "Reduction in Force" notification in 1976. In between are oaths of office, military school diplomas, promotion certificates, a Purple Heart award, several letters (including one notifying Palmer of a comrade's death in a Vietnam firefight and two from an officer in the Korean Army), and more.
The collection of Vietnam combat photographs in the album is the highlight of this archive. The photographs document Palmer's assignment to ACTIV in 1963-1964. ACTIV, which consisted of civilian analysts and military advisors, was chartered in 1962 primarily to provide on-site evaluation and research to improve the operational effectiveness of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). Based upon the photograph content, Palmer worked with the ARVN 2nd and 3rd Armored Battalions providing advice and collecting data about the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) and Mechanized Rifle Troop operations. The photographs show
ARVN forces (including what appear to be Montagnard scouts),
M113s conducting operations against the Viet Cong,
captured Viet Cong being evacuated by an American Huey helicopter,
dead Viet Cong,
damage to M113s by high caliber weapons and recoilless rifles,
a destroyed M113 (probably by a rocket-propelled grenade, RPG),
what appears to be a Viet Cong Tiger Trap (a large concealed hole that could swallow half an APC),
a hasty river-wetgap crossing,
the recovery of stuck M113s, and an
ARVN awards ceremony.
Palmer was commissioned as a cavalry officer in 1942 and commanded a company in the 7th Replacement Depot at Naples during World War II. Later assignments as an armor officer included the 7th Infantry Division in Korea, the Army Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV), and the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. After his military retirement, Palmer served in a civilian position as a Training Specialist at Fourth Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
This ACTIV album is an important visual record of the early American involvement in Vietnam during the administration of President Kennedy before President Johnson's massive escalation of the war in 1964.
At the time of listing, no pre-1965 Vietnam War photograph albums are for sale within the trade. The Rare Book Hub shows no auction results for similar pre-1965 albums, and OCLC shows no pre-1965 Vietnam War albums held by institutions, however, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center has a photograph collection documenting U.S. military involvement in Thailand in the early 1960s. (Inventory #: 008587)