On February 10, 1971, four journalists, including photographer Larry Burrows of Life magazine, Kent Potter of United Press International, Nenri Huett of the Associated Press, and Keisaburo Shimamoto of Newsweek, die in a South Vietnamese helicopter operating in Laos. The journalists had been covering Operation Lam Son 719, a limited attack into Laos by South Vietnamese forces, when their helicopter crashed.
Vietnam was one of the most reported conflicts in the history of warfare. In 1964, when the massive American buildup began, there were roughly 40 U.S. and foreign journalists in Saigon. By August 1966, there were over 400 news media representatives in South Vietnam from 22 nations. The Vietnam War correspondents in the field shared the same dangers that confronted the front-line troops, risking their lives to witness and report the realities of the battlefield. Sixteen Americans lost their lives while covering the war. American journalists are among the 42 U.S. civilians still missing in action and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, including NBC News correspondent Welles Hangen and Time photographer Sean Flynn, both of whom disappeared while covering the war in Cambodia.