Today In History: March 16 1968

The My Lai Massacre

On March 16, 1968 United States troops launched an operation in the region of Son My in search of Vietcong. The second lieutenant William Laws Calley and his section was assigned the My Lai area. Upon arriving at the landing zone the helicopters left the soldiers and moved to a standby position. Over four hours, Calley and his men raped women and girls, killed livestock and set fire to the houses until the town razed completely. Finally, they threw the survivors in a ditch.

Pilots and gunners saw how Calley fired his weapon against them and ordered his men to do the same thing to kill all the inhabitants of the area, this included the elderly, women and children. Due to «shortcomings» in the investigation, the exact number of victims remains unknown, but it is estimated that it must have been between 347 and 504.
A few days later, the United States Army provided official information, listing where around 120 dead, of whom 90 were vietcong non-civilians and 30 vietcong civilians. In the entire operation  only three vietcong weapons were seized.