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My Lai Massacre
Transcript of My Lai Massacre
Vietnamese citizens were murdered by the United States Army. Most of the people killed were women, children, and the elderly. Livestock were also included in the killing. Only one American was injured from this event because he shot
himself in the foot. Groups of people
were murdered and thrown into ditches. Those who were still alive and were emerging from piles of bodies were shot by the soldiers. The village houses were burned and destroyed. When It Happened: The event occurred on March 16, 1968. The American public did not know about the massacre until November of 1969, 20 months after the atrocity. Who Was Involved? The soldiers who arrived in the Quang Ngai Province were called the Charlie Company. A platoon of US soldiers, led by 2nd Lieutenant William Calley, were responsible for the killings. Only Calley was convicted of murder even though many others participated in the shootings. About 25 or so people survived because they hid under the corpses of their relatives and neighbors. Where: The massacre took place in the hamlets of My Lai and My Khe. It was a poor area in the Quang Ngai province and had been a base for the Viet Cong 48th Battallion. The area had low, marshy coastal plains. Lt. William Calley was originally given a life sentence in prison. However, it was changed to 20 years in prison, and then down to 10 years. He was paroled after 3 and a half years of house arrest. He's been labeled as a scapegoat since he was the only person who was court marshalled. Why? Three platoons of US soldiers were ordered to My Lai village on a search and destroy mission. They were told to expect active members of the Viet Cong in the area. The soldiers were already under stress because they lost comrades from booby traps and mines around My Lai. Fearing their lives and being told it was a VC stronghold, the soldiers believed anyone was either a VC or a VC sympathizer. The guerilla type warfare in Vietnam caused the soldiers to suspect almost any Vietnamese of being involved with the Viet Cong, even women and small children. That's why they indiscriminately shot all the civilians in the village.