NM HISTORY MUSEUM Herb Lotz HP.2008.25.41

Sleeping During the Day: My Time as a Soldier in South Vietnam, 1968

April 7, 2017 – October 2017
New Mexico History Museum
Santa Fe, NM 87501

The Vietnam War has been described as “the war Americans watched from their living rooms.” The U.S. military granted unprecedented freedom and access for media to the combat zones. As a result, millions of photographs of the Vietnam conflict were taken between 1962 and 1975. The National Archive alone currently houses over a quarter of a million photographs from the Vietnam War. TV nightly news and the press were saturated with visual documentation of the horrors of an undeclared war. The unprecedented media coverage became a motivator of anti-war sentiment, and for the emerging counter-culture movement.

Born in Illinois, Herbert Lotz was a young gay man who was drafted in his third year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He served in Vietnam during 1968, an experience which was to affect him for the rest of his life as it did so many others of his generation. Unlike the way contemporary society views military veterans, Vietnam vets were scorned and marginalized to the point that most vets hid their service. Lotz himself didn’t acknowledge his service for some time.

Although a radio operator, Lotz had studied photography at school and while in Vietnam took many photographs from his perspective as a young man serving in the military. He photographed other men around him, life in base camp of the 25th Infantry at Cu Chi, the Bob Hope USO show, a striptease at the EM (enlisted men) club, a visit to Vung Tau beach.

Lotz was a prolific letter writer and his family and friends saved all his letters and returned them to him when he returned home.
Image: Courtesy of New Mexico History Museum, Herb Lotz