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Horst Faas, photographer, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner; April 28. 1933 -- May 10, 2012

NEW YORK -- As chief of photo operations for the Associated Press in Saigon for a decade beginning in 1962, Horst Faas didn't just cover the fighting -- he also recruited and trained new talent from among foreign and Vietnamese freelancers.

The result was "Horst's army" of young photographers, who fanned out with cameras and film he supplied and stern orders to "come back with good pictures."

He and his editors chose the best and put together a steady flow of telling photos -- South Vietnam's soldiers fighting and its civilians struggling to survive amid the maelstrom.

Mr. Faas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photographer who carved out new standards for covering war with a camera and became one of the world's legendary photojournalists in nearly half a century with the AP, died Thursday in Munich, said his daughter, Clare Faas. He was 79.

Born in Berlin on April 28, 1933, Mr. Faas joined the U.S.-based news cooperative there in 1956. He photographed wars, revolutions, the Olympic Games and events in between.

But he was best known for covering Vietnam, where he was severely wounded in 1967 and won four major photo awards, including the first of two Pulitzers.

"Horst was one of the great talents of our age, a brave photographer and a courageous editor who brought forth some of the most searing images of this century," said AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. "He was a stupendous colleague and a warm and generous friend."

Mr. Faas was a brilliant planner, able to score journalistic scoops by anticipating "not just what happens next but what happens after that," as one colleague put it.

His reputation as a demanding taskmaster and perfectionist belied a humanistic streak he was loath to admit, while helping less fortunate ex-colleagues and other causes.

Mr. Faas' Vietnam coverage earned him the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Award and his first Pulitzer in 1965. He said his mission was to "record the suffering, the emotions and the sacrifices of both Americans and Vietnamese in this little bloodstained country so far away."

Born in Berlin, Faas grew up during World War II and, like all young German males, was required to join the Hitler Youth organization. Years later, he wrote that Allied air raids and "the fascinating spectacle of anti-aircraft action in the sky" were part of daily life.

As the war ended in 1945, the family fled north to avoid the Russian advance on Berlin and two years later escaped to Munich in West Germany.

In 1960, at age 27 and an AP photographer for four years, Faas began his front-line reporting career in the Congo, then Algeria. In 1962 he was reassigned to the growing war in Vietnam where he landed on the same day as Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporter Peter Arnett.

Faas left Saigon in 1970 to become AP's roving photographer for Asia, based in Singapore, ranging widely on assignments. He teamed with New Zealander Arnett on a cross-country reporting tour of the United States as seen by foreigners, and covered the 1972 Munich Olympics where he photographed a ski-masked Palestinian terrorist on the balcony of the building where Israeli athletes were being held hostage, hours before they were murdered at the airport.

The same year, he won a second Pulitzer Prize, along with Michel Laurent, for gripping pictures of torture and executions in Bangladesh. Laurent later became the last journalist killed in the Vietnam War, two days before the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, while working for the French Gamma photo agency.

In 1976, Mr. Faas relocated to London as AP's senior photo editor for Europe, until he retired from the news agency in 2004.

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