The My Lai Massacre During The Vietnam War

2030 Words 9 Pages
During the Vietnam War, about 14 years after the war started, a platoon of 140 men from Charlie Company of the United States Army went into a small village called My Lai and slaughtered 504 Vietnamese men, women, and children in a village that consisted of 700 inhabitants. The My Lai Massacre was a tragic event that altered the lives of not only the men involved, but also the American public as the truth about that day finally came to surface. My Lai, also known as Pinkville, is located in the Quang Ngai Province, which was believed to be a stronghold for the Communist National Liberation Front, or better known as the Viet Cong, during the Vietnam War. The Charlie Companies’ first Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade was sent to …show more content…
But it was mostly done with a machine gun. They were shooting women and children just like anybody else.” Said Sergeant Michael Bernhardt,a soldier at the scene. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons. We had no casualties. It was just like any other Vietnamese village-old papasans [men], women, and kids. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember seeing one military-age male in the entire place, dead or alive,” (History.com Staff).
Along with killing unarmed men, women, and children, the soldiers slaughtered countless livestock, raped an unknown number of women and burned the village to the ground. It was also reported that Lieutenant Calley dragged dozens of people, including young children, into a ditch before executing them all with a machine gun. The My Lai Massacre only ended due to Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, an army helicopter pilot who was on a reconnaissance mission, landed his aircraft between the soldiers and the retreating villagers and threatened to open fire if the soldiers continued to attack (History.com
…show more content…
The army drops charges of an alleged cover up against four officers bringing down the number of cleared soldiers to eleven. Eventually all of the men were acquitted except for Lieutenant Calley, who was charged with 6 specifications of premeditated murder and was accused of killing 109 “oriental human beings,” along with ordering a large group of civilians to be pushed into a ditch and slaughtered (Bowman 151;157;171). Chief Army Prosecutor, Captain Aubrey Daniels, said that Lieutenant Calley ordered Sergeant David Mitchell to “finish off the rest.” Sergeant Mitchell was acquitted in Fort Hood, Texas on November 20th of intent to murder 30 South Vietnamese civilians at My Lai (Bowman 172). Defence attorney George Latimer cites “superior orders” as a reason why non-combatants were killed. Some other reasons include poor training of the platoon, rage from seeing friends killed, and the expectation of fierce resistance. George Latimer also stated that the whole episode was seen by higher commanders on both the ground and in the sky (Bowman 174). Lieutenant Calley was found guilty of premeditated murder by the Fort Benning court martial jury. There was an outcry when the public found out about Lieutenant Calley being charged and found guilty because they saw Lieutenant Calley as a scapegoat. This outcry got President Nixon involved in the matter and he vowed to look into it personally (Bowman 175). On the third of April

Related Documents