In 1998, Kimo returned to Vietnam for the first time, specifically to the place of his first assignment. From this cathartic return, he realized what he missed as a soldier.
J. KIMO WILLIAMS, A VIETNAM WAR VETERAN RETURNED TO THE COUNTRY WITH HIS CAMERA.
In 1969 as a high school senior, future Vietnam Vet Kimo Williams always thought Vietnam was a third-world backward and gloomy environment.
Once there, he realized it was nothing like that at all. The country had very beautiful landscapes and majestic flowing rivers. The non-combatant Vietnamese locals were warm, cordial and very friendly. He relished the opportunity to engage with the people and the culture. However, because of the nature of his presence there, a full cultural investigation was out of the question. Kimo left Vietnam in the fall of 1970 never having had the chance to fully engage with and understand the Vietnamese, their culture or to embrace their land.
In 1998, Kimo returned to Vietnam for the first time, specifically to the place of his first assignment in Lai Khe.
From this cathartic return, he realized what he missed as a soldier and wanted so much more. He returned in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010. During each trip, he had his camera with him and captured the faces of those he encountered, which provided the essence from his perspective of what this culture offers to visitors.
James"Kimo" Williams was born in Amityville, New York, and spent much of his childhood divided between Air Force bases, urban neighborhoods of Baltimore, rural Mississippi and a lot of time on his grandparents farm in N Carolina.
Moving to Hawaii with his father in 1967, he volunteered to serve in the military and was deployed to Vietnam in 1970. He holds an MA in Management from Missouri's Webster University as well as a BA in Composition from The Berklee College of Music in Boston.