Excerpt from the 1965 Dateline for The Robert Capa Gold Medal 1964:
Robert Capa Award for superlative photography, requiring exceptional courage and enterprise
HORST FAAS of the Associated Press works as the late Robert Capa worked—close in where danger, death, and heart-stopping pictures lie. Faas’s brand of photo journalism earned him OPC citations in 1963 and 1964, and wins him this year’s Capa Award.
Front-line troops rarely see more of the brutality of fighting than Faas’s lenses, because, since 1960, Faas has generally been right alongside them. Sent to the Congo, Faas performed with total disregard for danger. Captured and beaten by insurgent Katangan troops several times, he came away with pictures that drew editors’ commendation. Displaying some valor in Algeria, he was sent on to war-ridden Vietnam in 1962.
In his months at the Vietnamese front, Faas has survived helicopter crashes, Vietcong ambushes. In one, fully a third of the Vietnamese troops were slain. In another, Vietnamese and their American advisers fell only yards where Faas was recording the action.
On the promise of a chance to photograph Vietcong training in rough back country, Faas set out with 50 Kohor tribesmen. Four days later they ran into an ambush. The survivors took to the hills and ridges, ran two days without water, went another four before they reached their own camp.
“It was the first time I ever at 16 cans of Spam in one week,” Faas recalls. In his pack were 5,000 piasters ($50), put there when a Vietnamese commander, eyeing Faas’s 220-pound frame, warned that his troops probably would not carry a wounded Faas very far without pay. Despite his up-front style, he still hasn’t had to spend his 5,000 piasters.