In today's very moving (and somewhat graphic) post, a LIFE photojournalist follows a Marine helicopter crew into the sky in Vietnam-- on a mission that goes tragically. 1965.
Note: since I published this LIFE.com featured the whole series on their own website, complete with the full narrative and proper captions; that is here.
Photographer Larry Burrows attaches cameras to helicopter Yankee Papa 13 before the mission. Source
Helicopter crew chief Lance Cpl. James Farley carries machine guns to the helicopter pre-mission. Source
Private Wayne Hoilien, a gunner aboard the helicopter. Source
Lance Cpl. James Farley puts on his helmet before takeoff. Source
Lance Cpl. James Farley mans a machine gun aboard the helicopter. Source
Without the accompanying story/captions it isn't clear what happens next, but a machine guns jams, and the pilot and a sergeant are seriously wounded.
James Farley shouts to crewmates as badly wounded pilot James Magel and sergeant Billy Owens lie at his feet. Source
James Farley works the jammed machine gun. Source
James Farley checks on the wounded sergeant as the pilot lies dying. Source
James Farley and Private Wayne Hoilien bandage the shoulder of Sgt. Billie Owens. The pilot has died. Source
James Farley breaks down in tears after the death of his crewmate. Source
Wounded sergeant Billie Owens being helped from the helicopter onto a stretcher. Source
In his office, James Farley cries over the death of friends in the war. Source