Aldo Stephen Panzieri was born in September 1946 in California. On his way to Air Force basic training in 1966, Panzieri recalled some men going absent without leave when the plane stopped to refuel. However, it wasn’t men deserting the war effort that brought him closer to the reality of war, but his first assignment at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Panzieri was hospitalized at Mountain Home after a lump was discovered on his spine. Here, he saw wounded soldiers coming back from Vietnam. After his recovery, Panzieri went to Vietnam.
Panzieri worked 12-hour shifts for the 12th Reconnaissance Intelligence Office, printing thousands of photographs of aerial photos. During his limited down time, Panzieri took his pocket camera and documented the war. He didn’t have much interaction with the local people due to security, but he managed to capture a significant part of the war from his viewpoint.
After his time in Vietnam, Panzieri returned home to California where he continued to work at a newspaper and attended college. He had trouble with post-traumatic stress disorder, stuttering and stammering, anxiety and a knee injury. However, his health improved with the help of a very persistent doctor.
Panzieri continues to work in photography and credits the military with helping him become the man he is today.
Thank you for your service!
More of his story is at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.31863/mv0001001.stream.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Melissa L. Ter Burgh
Editor: Michelle Cannon
Fact checker: Nohely Diaz