February 2024
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Slide Show: Memories of Saigon 1965 and 1966

Pastor Thomas Johnson who was a Chaplin’s Assistant at 3rd Field Hospital from the Fall of 1965 to Spring of 1966 has been kind enough to contribute this slide show of photographs he took while in Saigon.

These pictures will give you an idea of what Saigon was like during the year following the closing of American Community School and the departure of most Saigon Kids.

This is a wonderful collect which will bring back memories, for you, with pictures of Tan Son Nhut, Saigon maps, Flower Street, Lam Son Square, Continental Palace Hotel, Basilica, U.S. Embassy 1965, Vietnamese Schools, street scenes of downtown Saigon, river front, My Cahn Floating Restaurant, the Central Market, Victoria Hotel bombing, Saigon Zoo, Xa Loi Pagoda, Buddhist temples, beggars, street barber shops, black markets, taxi cabs and much, much more.


Click Here to enjoy wonderful memories.

[ Note: If the slides are moving too fast for you, you can increase the time between slides by adjusting the *seconds* between slides on the tool bar at the bottom of the screen: click the * + * Icon to slow it down to a comfortable speed for your viewing. ]

Coming next: Saigon Then (1965) and Now (2008). This is another of Tom’s collections in which he took pictures during his visit to Viet-nam in 2008 of the same places he took pictures  in 1965 – showing the *then* and *now*.

This is a wonderful album Tom. Thank you so very, very much for sharing it with us. Very much appreciated! 🙂


13 comments to Slide Show: Memories of Saigon 1965 and 1966

  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    Great photos and it sure brings back great memories. One can only feel sad about the poverty that the people had to endure while we had it made, but that unfortunately is the way of life and makes me so pleased to have been born an American/Brit and not have to live the way some people did. Unfortunately the poverty continues, not just in Vietnam but around the world.
    But back to the album…thanks a lot for the trip down memory lane.

  • Richard (Rique) turner


    Thanks so much for putting this slide show together. Its both thoughtful and thorough. I look forward to your Now and Then show. I worked with a photographer, Paul Hester, in Houston on the design of a park that included Now and Then photographs of downtown Houston. There’s also a major Re-Photography project that is ongoing in which photographers are attempting to re-photograph images of the American west taken in the 19th century.



  • Angelique Kenney

    Fabulous photographs. I am struck with how remarkably similar the Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) that I visited in 1993 was to the one in 1965! The poverty was almost unfathomable. That year, 1993, the highest bank note was worth 50 cents!

    Your photographs of the people were beautiful and the intensity of the poverty, very moving.

  • Janet Bogardus

    Tom, this is the best set of slides from that time that I’ve seen so far. Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to your next contribution. I left Saigon in 1960, but these pictures bring back lots of memories for me.



    • Thomas Johnson

      Hi Janet,
      Thanks for the comments. Who would have known in 1965-1966 that I would be doing a “Then and Now” comparison of Saigon over 40 years later!
      Thomas Johnson

  • Sarah J Rogers

    Wonderful photos and especially the people. I had so wanted to see a picture of the floating restaurant so really appreciate that – many fond memories for me. Where was the Victoria Hotel in Saigon? Drawing a blank on that.
    Look forward to the now and then. Saigon is changing so fast it is amazing. I could not believe the changes from 2001 to 2009 that I saw.
    Mahalo nui loa,

  • Frank

    Good slides. Enjoyed them very much. Just saw the Vietnamese movie…”Owl and The Sparrow”. Shows a good look of Saigon today. Frank

  • Robin

    Thanks for sharing your photos. By any chance did you meet my dad (Ray Johnson) while you were there? Don’t know what rank he was at that time. He was a SMSGT when he retired in 1970 at DMAFB Tucson AZ.

  • H. Clark

    Hi Bob,

    I tried to click on the link to view the slide show Memories of Saigon 1965 – 1966, but got the … Sorry that page was not found… message. Wondering if it’s my computer that is having a problem?

    Also, have I missed the Saigon then 1965 and now 2008 collection of photos?

    Thank you very much again, Bob, for all of your wonderful work. Truly appreciate it.


    • Hi Huong – Funny you should mention this, as when I was checking links on the site today I encountered the same problem. So NO it is not your computer. It appears Tom has moved his photos to someplace else on the Internet and they are no longer available through the link he previously provided in the above Post. This is always a problem when linking to third party content, which is why as much as possible I prefer to host all content on my servers. Normally I would simply delete Posts with dead third party links in them, but I left this one for the value of the content in the Comments to the Post. Hopefully, Tom will provide new live links in the near future. Tom’s slide shows of photos was hosted on one of Google’s free photo sharing platforms, so it could be the links went dead due to changes at Google. Google has been making a lot of changes over the past year or so and eliminating many services that are not profitable for them to maintain, as well as, many of there formerly free services.

      Thank you for reporting dead links. Always very helpful – 🙂

  • H. Clark

    Hi Bob,

    Not only your writing is succinct, you’re also a good teacher – the term “dead link” is brand new to me. LOL 🙂 You see, I am not too familiar with the technical computer terms. Would have called it something like …the link is broken (?) LOL. What do I know?! However, I get the gist of your admin work (wow, the force behind the scene) and I am a big fan. Wish I can write as good to share my stories growing up in Saigon from my perspective. Never a dull moment!

    When I reflect upon your story Exile from Saigon, I thought to myself if some music could be added to the background, it would be a terrific movie. It is fun filled; it has action, culture, love, deceit, bribery, politics, cause and effect! It even ended in paradise! Somehow it reminds me of this song:)

    To Everything – Turn Turn Turn…
    A time to rend, a time to sew
    A time to love, a time to hate
    A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

    Awaiting an encore.

    Huong 🙂

    • Hi Huong,

      You can write your stories. Everybody can write – 🙂 It’s easy, just type the words as though you were sitting around talking to a friend and telling them about your life in Saigon. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling and all that stuff. Just type the words as just like you were speaking them. Then go back later and edit everything to clean it up. Let it sit for a couple days, then come back to it and read it, tweaking it as you go. Done – 🙂

      Please do write some stories about your days in Saigon. It would be a refreshing touch to the site to read stories from a *female perspective* instead of all these *guy stories* (I’m sure the girls get tired of Guy Stories all the time) … Plus, from the Vietnamese perspective. I’m certain all the Saigon Kids would enjoy reading and learning about Saigon through your memories, experiences and stories.

      For the purpose of this blog site, the stories *do not* have to be literary Nobel Prize winning master pieces – lol – 🙂 – Just write the best you can, and that’s good enough for this site – 🙂

      So, please do share with us what it was like growing up in Saigon – we are waiting on pins and needles – 🙂

      Again, thank you for your kind words. Hmmm? Add background music, film clips … and becomes a movie … Interesting thought … Hmmm? Who knows, it might happen some day – LOL – 🙂

  • H. Clark

    OK, Bob, Done! LOL 🙂 Will follow your advice and embark on an exciting venture – WRITE. Will need to collect some thoughts, write, and submit later. Maybe with some pictures of the places…

    As for the guy stories, must admit that in Saigon us ladies led a sheltered life so to speak, hence not many stories told. For example, we didn’t dare to go out to the Y bridge area in Khanh Hoi, much less at night fall. The Y area is called “cau chu y” by the Vietnamese, translated word for word “bridge letter y.” Let’s call it the *Y bridge.* For myself, my universe in those days were home-school-home and then later home-work-home. The curfew times were eerie! Cho Lon, in my view, is like a foreign, scary place in my own (old) country. They have goons there… 🙂 but will touch more on this subject in my story later.

    In truth, us ladies do enjoy reading the guy stories every time. They write more as they had so much more fun and… mischief’s 🙂 They remind us of where we once were with a smile – Saigon. We are clapping!

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