Vietnam War Dictionary

My Lai Massacre

My Lai, a hamlet in Quang Nai province 335 miles northeast of Saigon, was the site of an infamous massacre. On 16th March 1968 members of Charlie Company of the Americal Division’s 11th Infantry Brigade entered the village and brutally killed hundreds of its inhabitants after failing to find any Viet Cong. The massacre was kept secret for more than a year until it was exposed by Richard Ridenhour, a soldier with the 11th Brigade, who learnt about what happened from others that were there. The resultant investigation and court case led to the conviction for murder of Lt William Calley, Charlie Company’s commanding officer. He was initially sentenced to life in prison, however his sentence was quickly reduced to 10-years, of which he served only a third.

See Dak Son Massacre

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