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Posts Tagged ‘My Lai in South Vietnam’


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Fifty years ago, a platoon of US soldiers stormed the quiet hamlet of My Lai in South Vietnam, unleashing a barrage of gunfire, grenades and sexual assault which left as many as 500 dead.

On March 16, 1968 an army unit entered My Lai. The troops were ordered to lay waste to anything “walking, crawling or growing” on a search and destroy mission that lasted four hours and left the village razed to the ground. Not even crops or livestock were spared. The atrocities of My Lai would remain largely hidden for 20 months, until vivid images and accounts of the massacre appeared in newspapers, shocking Americans and sparking massive anti-war protests.

THE MY LAI MASSACRE

US Infantry battalion Charlie Company entered the area under the erroneous understanding that Viet Cong guerrilla fighters were present. Instead, they found unarmed civilians, many of whom were children, women and the elderly.

Unleashing a hail of firepower from M-16s and an M79 grenade launcher, the soldiers rounded up villagers and killed them, not before sexually assaulting as many as 20 women and teenagers. The horror only began to die down when army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr landed between the soldiers and the villagers, threatening to fire at the troops.

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