J. L. HUDSON, SEEDSMAN, BOX 337, LA HONDA, CALIFORNIA 94020-0337 USA
Hugh Thompson, Jr.
True Hero at My Lai
On 16 March 1968, helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson, door gunner
Lawrence Colburn, and crew chief Glenn Andreotta encountered United States military troops
slaughtering hundreds of innocent Vietnamese civilian men, women, and children in the village of My
Thompson landed the helicopter in the line of fire between American troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians and Andreotta and door gunner Colburn pointed their own machine guns at the U.S. soldiers to prevent more killings. Thompson, Andreotta, and Colburn stopped the massacre, rescued Vietnamese civilians, and air-lifted them to safety.
The psychopath Lt. William L. Calley, a platoon leader bearing both command and personal responsibility for the murder of the innocent Vietnamese, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the killings, but he had served just three years under house arrest when then-President Richard Nixon, reduced his sentence (in addition, he served only three days in jail before being moved to house arrest by Nixon).
"We kept flying back and forth, reconning in front and in the rear, and it didn't take very long until we started noticing the large number of bodies everywhere. Everywhere we'd look, we'd see bodies. These were infants, two-, three-, four-, five-year-olds, women, very old men, no draft-age people whatsoever... I think a count has been anywhere from two to four hundred, five hundred bodies—it was that many. I think that's a small count, including the three villages that were hit.... Then something just sunk into me that these people were marched into that ditch and murdered.... it was no accident whatsoever. Pure premeditated murder."—Hugh Thompson, Jr.
The United States military attempted to cover up the massacre.
On his return home, Thompson received death threats from pro-war persons.
For thirty years the United States military deliberately failed to recognize the heroism of Thompson, Colburn, and Andreotta until a letter-writing campaign led to their finally being awarded the Soldier's Medal in 1998.
Hugh Thompson, Jr. died of cancer on 6 January 2006.
Glenn Andreotta was killed in a crash three weeks after My Lai.
Thank you Lawrence Colburn, wherever you are.
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This page has been translated into Latvian by Evelína Koprziwová: