October 9, 2015
Dedicated to Sean Flynn and all photographers who go into harm's way to record the reality of war.
Sometimes, as in the case of Sean Flynn and his friend, equally experienced war photographer Dana Stone, they never return from their last assignment, remaining on the battlefield for eternity. If this is ever avoidable, and a recovery is remotely possible, it obviously should be undertaken. This is where Rory Flynn enters the picture. Her father, Sean's father, the amazing actor Errol Flynn, would undoubtedly expect no less. His mother, the beautiful actress Lily Damita, never relented in her efforts to find her son. Louise Stone, Dana's amazing wife, gave most of her life to the effort and passed away young. Their stories are told by their friends who were there in some cases, right up to the end. Their names are associated with Tim Page, John Steinbeck, Perry Deane Young, Zalin Grant, Kyoichi Sawada, David Halberstam, Henri Huet, Jeff Williams, Larry Burrows, Kent Potter, Michel Laurent, Peter Arnet, Joe Galloway, Roxanna Brown, Stephen Bell; the list goes on but it is not that long, and only a fraction of those listed above are alive to recount these stories.
The Sean Flynn Searchers
There are many people over the years who have searched for Sean and Dana. The most well known by far, is Tim Page. He spent years covering the Vietnam War and was a friend of the two missing journalists. The half crazed journalist Dennis Hopper portrayed in the movie "Apocalypse Now" - was based on Tim Page. I know people who praise Page, but it is also true that he has a tendency to get on the bad side of people he mixes with, or vice verse, and there are few who would argue that Tim Page believes the story of Sean Flynn is one he more or less owns. All the while, the Flynn family as well as Rory's personal quest for information, have been fully left to the side.
Dave MacMillan, Rory's main force behind the recent recovery of human remains in the suspected Sean Flynn grave site, is one person who would disagree. At the age of 29 he is young, particularly when compared to Page or his peers who covered Vietnam. Most are well into their sixties, those who lived. But he has the kind of background that more than qualifies him to have a dog in this race.
In fact he has a rare empathy for Sean Flynn that few people his age could ever have. An experience he narrowly survived in Vietnam, more or less set his work on the Sean Flynn story into motion.