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The early years covering Vietnam by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Nick Ut

After 51 years at the Associated Press, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Nick Ut is retiring. He took his most famous photo, showing a young girl running down a road naked and burned by napalm bombs that had been dropped on her village, in 1972 when he was just 21.

Born Huynh Cong Ut in Long An, in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam, Ut was 15 when his brother, Huynh Thanh My, was killed in 1965. An actor, Ut’s sibling had left the movie business to become a war photographer for the AP, until he was hit by a Viet Cong bullet. After his funeral, Ut showed up at the AP’s Saigon bureau, trying to get a job.

After starting in the darkroom, Ut went on to cover the war for several years, during which he was wounded three times.

He eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he covered news and entertainment for 44 years.

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(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

Nick Ut's brother, Associated Press photographer Huynh Thanh My, covers a Vietnamese battalion pinned down in a Mekong Delta rice paddy about a month before he was killed in combat on Oct. 10, 1965.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

A South Vietnamese soldier keeps his finger on the trigger as he watches a Cambodian woman and baby emerge from bunker following airstrikes in the vicinity of a village near Cau Sap in Cambodia’s Parrot’s Beak area on May 7, 1970.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

Smoke from airstrikes on enemy positions serves as a backdrop for South Vietnamese soldiers near Cau Sap in Cambodia’s Parrot’s Beak area on May 7, 1970.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

A wounded U.S. soldier in South Vietnam on Aug. 22, 1969.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

The commander of a North Vietnamese army battalion smokes a cigarette given to him by South Vietnamese troops after being captured in a firefight north of Prasaut in eastern Cambodia’s Parrot’s Beak region on May 13, 1970.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

South Vietnamese Marines rush to a U.S. Army helicopter near the Cambodian town of Prey-Veng in June, 1970.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

The crew of a U.S. Army armored personnel carrier relaxes at Quang Tri in South Vietnam on May 28, 1971.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

A South Vietnamese soldier takes a group of blindfolded Khmer Rouge prisoners to an interrogation center on March 17, 1972, in Kompong Trach, Cambodia.

(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

A South Vietnamese soldier rests at a lonely outpost northeast of Kontum, 270 miles north of Saigon, on March 25, 1974. The hill overlooks a vital North Vietnamese supply road and is near the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in South Vietnam.

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