Coalinga Vietnam vet to reunite with partner and photographer of iconic photo

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At the bloody Battle of Hue in February of 1968, one moment was captured in a photograph. (KFSN)

The photographer who snapped an iconic Vietnam image will soon meet with a Coalinga marine and a fellow marine who was thought to have died not long after this picture was taken.

Rick Hill of Coalinga said he's the guy riding in the back of the tank of the iconic shot. He took shrapnel in one leg and was shot in the other.

For 48 years, he thought Alvin Grantham was dead but Grantham actually survived.

This week, Rick gets to meet the man who took the memorable photo which appeared in Life and many other magazines.

At the bloody Battle of Hue in February of 1968, one moment was captured in a photograph.

Back in March, Hill had an emotional reunion with Grantham, the injured Marine on his side.

Hill was told Grantham had died but when they were reunited, the two immediately bonded when they met in Mobile, Alabama.

"Well, we consider ourselves brothers now because we're so close in a short amount of time," Hill said. "We were able to open up and talk about things we had bottled up inside."

Hill is now on his way back to Mobile to see Grantham but, this time, they'll be joined by John Olson, the famed photographer who snapped the shot.

"I've talked with him and emailed several times over the past two years but never met him," Grantham said. "This is going to be really something awesome."

The three of them will also head to Florida next week to attend a US Marine reunion.

Hill has many questions for Olson.

"Why was that picture so important for him to take? How has that picture changed his life?" said Hill as he plans to speak with the photographer. "I know it has."

Olson told us this was his most memorable picture he took in Vietnam.

Grantham survived the tank ride despite being shot in the chest with an AK-47 and now Alvin and Hill are close enough to crack jokes with each other.

"I told Alvin, 'You took up the whole tank,'" Hill said. "I had to sit way back in the back because you were too lazy to sit up because he's got a great sense of humor."
Related Topics:
societyvietnam warphotosocietyfresno countyCoalinga
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