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Collection Joseph W. Daoust
WVM ID Number OH 10
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Joseph W. Daoust
Date 2002
Event Vietnam War
Narrator's Name Joseph W. Daoust
Interviewer's Name James McIntosh
Description Joseph Daoust was born in Hurley, Wisconsin and enlisted in the Navy in December of 1965 and attended a thirteen week boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station. He recalls that after completing boot camp he attended a six week photography school in Pensacola, Florida and then went to Long Beach, California where he was stationed on the USS Bonhomme Richard, an Essex-class aircraft carrier. He states that the Bonhomme Richard left for the Western Pacific to assist in the Vietnam War in January 1967 and in Yokosuka Japan met the USS Coral Sea, the carrier that the Bonhomme Richard was relieving. Daoust recalls that the fresh-water tanks would often become contaminated and water use would be restricted during these periods, however the photo-lab still had access to water and he would take some for personal use. He talks about his duties which included working in a photo lab on the USS Bonhomme Richard and developing photographs that came off of reconnaissance aircraft. When a picture-taking airplane would land, the finished print would have to be in the admiral's hands fourteen minutes after the plane landed. Daoust states that the Photographer's Mates were assigned to either the shooting crew or the darkroom and would rotate positions. Daoust recalls taking pictures from C-1 and C-2 aircraft or a helicopter if pictures of ships or aircrafts if there was a crash or accident. Daoust describes taking pictures of the fire on the USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967 and remembers the carnage of this incident. Daoust states that he and other Photographer's Mates spent a lot of time in AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft and would "photograph the sweep of the radar scope."

Daoust briefly talks about his other duties which included officer portraits and officer identification shots. Daoust describes how he and other Photographer's Mates also were required to do public relations photography in which the photographs would be featured in places such as the ship's publication or the Navy Times. Daoust recalls that did medical photography including any accidents on the flight deck, such as when a man was decapitated by the propeller of a C-1, or when a physician wanted photos of an operation for medical reports. Daoust recalls how the USS Bonhomme would spend about a month and a half in Vietnam and then would go back to the Philippines, then go to Hawaii, and then go to Hong Kong or Japan before returning to duty in Vietnam. Daoust talks about how American sailors would buy goods in Japan such as motorcycles, cars, and stereos and ship them back to the United States on the USS Bonhomme because there were lower prices on these goods in Japan than there were in the United States.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog video recording: 1 VHS tape (approx. 1 hour, 20 minutes)
Transcript: 50 pgs.
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Biographical Record Daoust, Joseph W.
Search Terms Vietnam War