Monday, October 10, 2016

Chapter Review: The My Lai Massacre: A Light in the Darkness

Taken from Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America, by Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe and Hannah Beck, Theshold Editions, New York, 2013.

This is a very sad day in U.S. military history.  True it was that the orders were to wipe out everyone in the village of My Lai because they were believed to be harboring The Viet Cong Forty Eighth , which would attack, and then melt into the jungle.  Someone must be helping them.  However, in this case intelligence was faulty.  When Charlie Company attacked the village, they did not find Viet Cong, but took to killing the civilians all the same.  Some even raised their hands in surrender, and were easier prey.  Lieutenant William Calley was leading the killing.  With 200 prisoners lined up in front of a trench, a helicopter pilot, Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, tried to intervene.  However Calley insisted he had his orders.  When the helicopter had taken off, Calley ordered the slaughter.  The continued shooting into the bodies to make sure nothing moved.  A group of Vietnamese holed up in a bunker.  Again they were pursued, but this time Thompson was able to rescue them, he also pulled a living boy from the pile of massacred bodies.
The massacre was covered up.  However the press finally did get a hold of the information.  Captain Medina, who gave the orders got off, having a good lawyer.  Lieutenant Calley was convicted of multiple counts of premeditated murder, but his sentence was commuted by President Nixon.  Hugh Thompson was harassed and threatened with prosecution.  It took thirty years for his bravery to be recognized.  He and his crew received the Soldier's Medal for their actions.
Warrant Officer Hugh THompson

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