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December 10, 1969 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-12-10

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Wednesday, December 14, 1969


Page Five

Wednesday, December 10, 1969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

in kville:



Us. .

commits war crimes

EDITOR'S NOTE: The massacre at Song My,
now reported by almost every newspaper in
the country, was a long time in being noticed
-first, because word had not leaked out, later
because no respectable media would carry it.
Not until Seymour Hersh, a former Asso-
ciated Press Washington reporter, wrote of the
massacres for the fledgling Dispatch News
Service did anyone take notice. Ills original
report on the Army's handling of the affair
and some crucial eye-witness reports found by
Hlersh are reprinted here.
FORT BENNING, GA. - Lt. William L.
Calley Jr., 26, is a mild-mannered, boyish-
looking Vietnam combat veteran nicknamed
"Rusty." The Army says he deliberately
murdered at least 109 Vietnamese civilians
during a search-and-destroy mission in
March 1968 on a Viet Cong stronghold
known as "Pinkville."
Calley has formally been charged with six
specifications of mass murder. Each specifi-
cation cites a number of dead, adding up to
the 109 total, and adds that Calley did "with
premeditation murder . . . Oriental human-
beings whose names and sex are unknown
by shooting them with a rifle."
The Army calls it murder. Calley, his

counsel and others associated with the in-
cident describe it as a case of "carrying out
"Pinkville" has now become a widely
known codeword in the military in a case
that many officers and some well-informed
congressmen believe will become far more
controversial than the recent murder
charges against eight Green Berets.
In terms of numbers slain, "Pinkville" is
by far the worst known U.S. atrocity case
of the Vietnam War.
CALLEY, A PLATOON leader of the 11th
Brigade of the American Division, was for-
mally charged with the multiple homicides
on or about Sept. 6, 1969.
Calley has since hired a prominent civilian
attorney, former U.S. Military Appeals
Judge George W. Latimer, and is now await-
ing a military determination of whether the
evidence justifies a general court-martial.
All sources agree that the court-martial
will be ordered soon. It is expected to begin
early next year.

four eye witnesses

Editor's Note: The U.S. Court of Military Ap-
peals has unanimously agreed to allow soldiers
who participated in the alleged massacre at
My Lai to make statements to the press. What
follows 14 the story of My Lai, told in the
words of four men who were there.
Pai d Aleadlo, 22, forimerly
in tie implicated com JinV:
There was supposed to have been some
Viet Cong in Pinkville a n d we began to
make a sweep through it. Once we got there
we b e g a n gathering up the people . . .
started pitting them in big mobs. There
mnust have b ee n about 40 or 45 civilians
standing in one big circle in the middle of
the village . . . (Lt. William) Calley told
me and a couple of other guys to watch
'You know what I want. you to do with
them,' he said. 'Haven't you gotten rid of
them yet?' he asked me. 'Get with it, I want
them dead.'
So we stood about 10 or 15 feet away from
them, then he started shooting them . . . I
started to shoot them, but the 'other guys
wouldn't do it.
So we (Meadlo and Calley) went ahead
and killed them. Meadlo says he killed at
least 15 civilians.)
I just thought we were supposed to do it.
It took a load off my conscience for the
buddies we'd lost. It was revenge, that's all
it was.
We had a b o u t seven or eight civilians
gathered in a hootch, and I was going to
throw a hand grenade in. But someone told
us to take them to the ditch.
Calley was there and said to me, 'Meadlo,
we've got another job to do.' So we pushed
our seven or eight people in with the big
bunch of them. And so I began shooting
them all. So did Mitchell, Calley (and oth-
ers whose names he could not recall.)
I guess I shot maybe 20 or 25 people in
the ditch.
After the ditch, there were just some peo-
ple in hootches. I knew there were some
people down in one hootch, maybe two or
three, so I just threw a hand grenade in.
We all thought we were doing the right
thing . . . at the time it didn't bother me.
Sgt. (regorv Olsen, 20, for-
nerly in the compay ill.
volved il the massacre, in a
letter mailed to his father in
in March, 1968:



it was an insane act that caught on spon-
It's something I don't think a p e r s o n
would understand - the reality of it just
didn't hit me until recently, when I read
about it again in the newspapers.
Xichuel Terry, 22, also of
tie l11111 Brigade, a (devout
Iormon d n(i iO a soph-
oinore (it Brigliam Young
t ii'ersitv:
They just marched through shooting ev-
erybody . . . seems like no one said any-
thing . . . just started pulling people out
and shooting them.
They had a group standing over a ditch
just like a Nazi-type thing .. . one officer
ordered a kid to machine gun everybody
down, but the kid just couldn't do it. He
threw the machine gun down and the officer
picked it up.
I don't remember seeing any men in the
ditch, mostly women and kids.
I think that probably the officers didn't
really know if they were ordered to kill the
villagers or not, . .. A lot of guys feel that
they (South Vietnamese) aren't human be-
ings. We just treated them like animals.
;t. 11icliael Burnghurdlt, 23,
a member of the I ith In-
fantry Brigade Company:
They were doing a whole lot of shooting
up there. I walked up and saw these guys
doing strange things. They were doing it
three ways. One: they were setting fire to
the hootches and huts and waiting for peo-
ple to come out and then shooting them.
Two: they were going into the hootches and
shooting them up. Three: they were gather-
ing people in groups and shooting them.
As I walked in you could see piles of peo-
ple all through the village . . . They were
shooting women and children just like any-
body else.

THESE FACTS ARE not. in dispute:
The Pinkville area, about six miles north-
east of Quang Ngai, had been a Viet Cong
fortress since the Vietnam War began. In
early February, 1968, a company of the 11th
Brigade, as part of Task Force Barker,
stormed through the area and was severely
shot up.
Calley's platoon suffered casualties. After
the Communist Tet offensive that month, a
larger assault was mounted, again with high
casualties and little success. A third attack
was quickly mounted and it was successful
One man who took part in the mission
with Calley, in recounting what happened,
said that in the earlier two attacks "we were
really shot up."
"We were told to just clear the area. It
was a typical combat assault formation. We
came in hot, with a cover of artillery in
front of us, came down the line and de-
stroyed the village," he said.
"There are always some civilian casual-
ties in a combat operation. He (Calley) isn't.
guilty of murder."
r 4
AMERICAN SOLDIERS cautmously enter
It was a fear of the village-de(in~1I1g Sout
possible, if not actually inv(itabhe, the m
We met ntO resistance and I o n 1 y saw
three captured weapons. We had no cas-
ualties. It was just like any other Vtetna-
mese village -- old papa-sans, women and
kids. As a matter of fact, I don't remember
seeing one military-age male in the emiire
place, dead or alive.
It's my belief that the company was con-
ditioned 'to do t h i s. The treatment was
lousy ...
As it was, the Army was treating it like
a vict'ory and I knew only a few guys would
be able to testify without implicating themn-
selves . ..
Guys were saying how great it was (af-
terward) -sort of 'shoot them up before
they grow up and shoot at you."

The order to clear the area was relayed
from the battalion commander to the com-
pany commander to Calley, the source
BEYOND THESE facts, conjecture and
the law came in.
Calley's attorney, George Latimer, said in
an interview, "This is one case that should
never have been brought. Whatever killing
there was was in a firefight in connection
with an operation."
"You can't afford to g u e s s whether a
civilian is a Viet Cong or not. Either they
shoot you or you shoot them," Latimer said.
"This case is going to be important - to
what standard do you hold a combat officer
in carrying out a mission?" the attorney
Adding to the complexity of the case is
the fact that investigators from the Army
Inspector General's office, which conducted
the b u1k of the investigation, considered
filing charges against at least six other men
involved in the action on that MarcA 16.

Included were Capt. Ernest Medina, Cal-
ley's company commander, and Sgt. Man-
uel Lopez, Calley's main noncommissioned
officer. Both are now stationed at F o r t
They, and at least four other men from
Calley's unit, were flown to Benning some-
time in late summer during the Army's Ar-
ticle 32 hearing, the military equivalent of
a grand jury proceeding, which concluded
that Calley should be held for court-martial.
Sources report that Calley was personally
accused of all of the slayings under his and
Sgt. Lopez's command. The young lieuten-
ant refused to say whether the order to fire
came f r o m Medina, his former company
commander, during the hearings.
CALLEY'S FRIENDS in the officer corps'
at Fort Benning, many of them West Point
graduates, are indignant, but knowing the
high stakes of the case, they express their
outrage in private.
"They're using this as a god-damned ex-

ample," o n e officer complained. "He's a
good soldier. He follows orders."
"There weren't any friendlies in the vil-
lage," the officer added. "The orders were to
shoot anything that moved."
Another noted, "It could happen to any
of us. He's killed and seen a lot of killing ...
killing becomes n o t h i n g in Vietnam. He
knew that there were civilians there, but
he also knew that there were VC among
There is another side to the Calley case,
one that the Army cannot reveal as yet.
Interviews have brought out the fact that
the investigation into the Pinkville affair
was initiated six months after the incident,
only after some of the men who served un-
der Calley complained.
A CONSTANT SOURCE of amazement
among all those interviewed was that the
story had yet to reach the press.
"Pinkville has been a word among GIs for
a year," one official said. "I'll never cease
to be amazed that it hasn't been written
about before."
Why did the A r m y choose to prosecute
this case? On what is it basing the charge
that Calley acted with premediation before
killing? The court martial undoubtedly will
supply the answers to these questions, but
some men already have their opinions.
"The Army k n e w it was going to get
clobbered on this at some point," one know-
ledgeable military source noted. "If they
don't prosecute somebody - if this stuff
comes out without the Army taking some
action -- it would be even worse."
AS FOR CALLEY, he's now smoking four
packs of cigarettes daily and getting out of
shape. He's short, 5'3", slender, with expres-
sionless gray eyes and thinning brown hair.
He seems slightly bewildered and hurt by
the charges against him. He wants nothing
more than to be cleared and return to the
"I know this sounds funny," he said in an
interview, "but I like the Army . .. and I
don't wanttodo anything to hurt it."
Friends described Calley as a "gung-ho
Army man . . . Army all the way." Iron-
ically, even his staunchest supporters admit,
his enthusiasm may be somewhat to blame.
"Maybe he did take some order to clear
out the village a little bit,too literally," one
friend said, "but he's a fine boy."
An information sheet put out by the pub-
lic affairs officer of the American division
the day after the M a r c h 16 engagement
contained this terse mention of 'the inci-
dent: "The swiftness with which the units
moved into the area surprised the enemy.
After the battle, the 11th Brigade moved
into the village, searching re a c h hut and
But much more than that would even-
tually be known.
Copyright, 1969, Dispatch News Service

a South Vietnamese village which may be a haven for the Viet Cong or its sympathizers.
h Vietnamese peasants-along with a vicious and degrading attitude toward them-that made
assacre at the village called "Pinkville" by American troops.


f Tr.a iw if " s r
'n ..Rs. .. . A . i*
M ~ . yit: r i4

On their way back to (their landing zone),
they saw a woman working in the fields.
They shot and wounded her. Then t h e y
kicked her to death and emptied their (ri-
fle) magazines in her head. They slugged
every little kid they came across.
This isn't the first time, dad, I've seen
it many times before.
We seemed always to get the dirty jobs.
Morale was terribly low. Everyone felt that
we were getting the short end of the stick.
Any radio, TV set
cassette or
tape recorder with
a phono jack
Rour bag
Gtarrard's X-10modie
a precision
auitomatic jurntable.
Complete and ready to play.

I \
< s
Colt 45 is 27% more
unique than a

December 4, 1969


Student Body President
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
My undying thanks to the faculty and alumni for making M'GOO the happiest man in
California. M'GOO is ecstatically proud of his old alma mater and will make world fam-
ous M'GOO'S of Hollywood national headquarters for the Michigan Wolverines and their
friends. Yours in victory, An old Wolverine,

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