One of the American military's darkest wartime activities ever, the rape, torture, and murder of hundreds of innocent Vietnamese civilians within a one day period. It was an occurrence, which was initially called a massacre, then tragic and finally nothing more than an incident, which occurred during a time of war. It was a futile invasion of a small settlement in Vietnam where there were no enemies present. The soldiers, known primarily as Company C or Charlie Company, essentially went mad and performed what some have called Nazi acts. It was an incredibly horrible event and was, by far, the worst reality of the Vietnam War.
On March 16, 1968 the men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, entered the village of My Lai. It wasn't much longer before the killings began. When news of the carnage emerged, it sent tremors through the chain of command in the military, the US political institution, and an already divided American public.
My Lai is located in the South Vietnamese region of Son My, an area of heavily established Vietcong troops. Several members of Company C had been wounded or killed in this area a few weeks prior. The obviously stressed and agitated troops, under Lt. William Calley's command, entered the village ready for battle with the Vietcong.
As the search and destroy mission began it soon escalated into the slaughter of over 300 supposed unarmed civilians including women, children, and the elderly. Lt. Calley ordered his men to enter the village guns blazing, although there had been no reports of enemy fire. As per eyewitness reports given after the annihilation, several old men were speared with bayonets, praying women and children were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped, and then murdered. As for Calley, he...