Though their first three months in Vietnam passed without any direct contact with North Vietnamese-backed forces, by mid-March the company had suffered 28 casualties involving mines or booby-traps. Army as the Viet Cong.
The unit met no resistance in My Lai, which had about inhabitants. Indeed, they saw no males of fighting age. They only found villagers eating breakfast. Nevertheless, over the next three hours they killed as many as Vietnamese civilians. Some were lined up in a drainage ditch before being shot.
The dead civilians included fifty age 3 or younger, 69 between 4 and 7, and 27 in their 70s or 80s.
In addition, Vietnamese women were raped; other civilians were clubbed and stabbed. Some victims were mutilated with the signature "C Company" carved into the chest. One soldier would testify later, "I cut their throats, cut off their hands, cut out their tongues, scalped them.
A lot of people were doing it and I just followed. I lost all sense of direction. In one incident, a soldier, Robert Maples, refused an order to fire his machine gun on people in a ditch, even when his commanding officer trained his own weapon on him. Hugh Thompson, a helicopter pilot, had threatened to fire on the American troops in order to rescue Vietnamese women and children from the slaughter.
The My Lai massacre took place shortly after the Tet offensive. Charlie Company had arrived in Vietnam three months before the My Lai massacre. Charlie Company had suffered 28 casualties, including five dead.
Just two days before the massacre, on March 14, a "C" Company squadron encountered a booby trap, killing a popular sergeant, blinding one GI and wounding several others.
The Cover-Up The 11th Brigade claimed to have killed Viet Cong during the operation, which would have been the largest number killed by the Brigade in a 24 hour period.
Curiously, the Brigade reported only 3 weapons captured.
Even though he had personally seen at least bodies, he maintained that between 20 and 28 civilians had been killed by gunship and artillery fire. That conclusion was echoed in a report submitted a month later by the commander of the 11th Infantry Brigade, Col Oran K Henderson.
He claimed that 20 civilians had been killed inadvertently, The massacre was covered up until a year-old helicopter gunner in another unit, Ron Ridenhour, wrote letters to 30 congressional and military officials a year later detailing the events at My Lai.
The Peers report concluded that the brigade commander, Col. Oran Henderson, and the commanding officer, Lt Col Frank Barker, had substantial knowledge of the war crime, but did nothing about it.
In the end, Army lawyers decided that only 14 officers should be charged with crimes. Seventeen men had left the Army, and charges against them were dropped. Army investigators concluded that 33 of the members of Charlie Company participated in the massacre, and that 28 officers helped cover it up.
Charges were brought against only 13 men. In the end, only one soldier — Lt.
William Calley - was convicted. Calley was charged with murdering villagers in the My Lai massacre.Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre story in November for a little-known media outlet called the Dispatch News Service.
Above is the front page portion of his article that ran in the St. So I gave him my camera, the Nikon I used at My Lai, for the shrine.” Haeberle has returned to My Lai several times, and will be there again on the 50th anniversary of the massacre.
Haeberle is. My Lai Massacre On November 12, , Hersh reported the story of the My Lai Massacre, in which hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians were murdered by US soldiers in March  The report prompted widespread condemnation around the world and reduced public support for the Vietnam War in the United States.
Nov 09, · Watch video · The My Lai massacre was one of the most horrific incidents of violence committed against unarmed civilians during the Vietnam War. A company of American soldiers brutally killed most of the people.
In the case of the My Lai Massacre, justice never came. After this look at the My Lai Massacre, discover the surprising story behind the iconic Saigon execution photo and read up on the horrific effects of Agent Orange on its Vietnamese victims.
Digital History>eXplorations>The Vietnam War as History. My Lai Massacre. On the morning of March 16, , soldiers of Charlie Company, a unit of the Americal Division's 11th Infantry Brigade arrived in the hamlet of My Lai in the northern part of South Vietnam.
The My Lai massacre became a defining symbol of the Vietnam war. Some deemed.