My Lai Massacre


Term Paper

Period 5

The massacre occurred during the Vietnam War and was a horrible incident that happened. On March 16th, 1968, three companies of the 1st battalion launched a search and destroy mission in the My Son area. Their main objective was to target the VC 48th Battalion which was found on maps as My Lai. The only people then that knew about the incident that day were the people in the village and the people that caused the massacre. The incident didn\'t get brought up until 19 months later when Lieutenant William Calley was charged with horrible war crimes for what he did that day in My Lai.

The United States went over to Vietnam to stop the spread of communism. It was hard to fight in this war because no one knew exactly who was who. Everyone looked the same and masses of troops died in the Vietnam War. They would hide in bunkers under ground and when the troops got close enough they would open fire. Some untraditional warfare that they carried out was setting up booby traps through out the fields.

Now, the troops were sent into My Lai and were told, "This is what you\'ve been waiting for ‑‑ search and destroy ‑‑ and you\'ve got it". The U.S. denies ever saying this to the troops, but why would so many civilians get killed in My Lai? The U.S. covered this whole incident up making believe that it didn\'t happen, but they couldn\'t cover it up as well as they had hoped because they forgot about the people that were there and witnessed this horrific event. The troops went into the town thinking they would find Vietnamese troops and have a battle with them. The objective was to go in and defeat them. When they got there all they found were civilians and got upset about this. They were expecting to battle and get back at them for everything the troops had witnessed in the Vietnam War. When they got to the village and found civilians, they were angry. Some things the troops witnessed were their fellow troops getting blown up by land minds, missiles, killed by guns, all different things that could happen during the war.

Lt. Calley gave the order to go on a killing spree and kill everyone in sight. He said to his troops to "kill every man, woman, child, and animal in the village."Soldiers later on said about Calley. "If they wanted to do something wrong, it was alright with Calley." Since the troops were hungry for blood they went ballistic and a huge massacre happened. Some of the things Lt. Cally did were so horrendous that it was awful to think about. One thing he did was he dug a large hole in the ground and put the civilians in it. After he put them in the hole he gave orders to his troops to waste them. Opening fire they killed civilians up to 5 feet deep of dead bodies. Only 150 went into that massacre and had a killing spree for over four hours. Over 500 unarmed civilians like children, women, and even the elderly. One person said that a baby was crawling out of the hole and Calley went over, picked it up, and threw it in the hole opening fire again. This whole massacre should have never happened; and when the government heard it they tried to cover it up.

Since the massacre was against the rules of war, the U.S. government tried to cover it up making it look like nothing ever happened. This caused lots of controversy with the public and the government. Some people began to think that if they were trying to cover this up, then what have they covered up before? A helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson flew over the site and witnessed the massacre. Sickened by the horrible massacre, he landed the helicopter and started to rescue Vietnamese survivors. One person he rescued was a three‑year‑old child, and the child was smothered in blood, but with no injuries. After this he went to his section leader and reported everything that was happening in My Lai in very graphic detail. After sending in the report, Charlie Company was ordered