The My Lai Massacre was one of the horrible tragedies that happened during the Vietnam War. On March 16th 1968 American soldiers walked into a place called My Lai. They were under the command of Captain Ernest Medina and William Calley. They raped and shot unarmed civilians, women and children and others were put into drainage ditches then shot and killed . They shot others with machine guns. .
Many officers kept it concealed from American citizens. Army files said nothing happened. Ronald Ridenhour, who was not at My Lai, but heard about it, wrote to the Department of the Army. He wrote on March 29th, 1969 about what happened in My Lai. Copies were sent to many people such as Congressmen and Senators. Ridenhour asked for an investigation into the massacre. Life Magazine showed pictures that were taken by Ronald Hueberle of the things that happened. .
The army charged twenty-five officers with crimes in connection with My Lai, but they were all acquitted except one. The person who was convicted .
was William Calley. Calley, who was a college dropout, worked as a dishwasher and railroad switchman before enlisting in 1966. A Court Marshall tried him from 1970 to 1971 . He was charged with killing at least 102 Vietnamese. He said he was following orders. In an article from www.biography.com it said that many people thought Calley was "made a scapegoat for all the atrocities of the Vietnam War." He was accused of killing 22 South Vietnamese, and was given time in prison. He only served three years before being paroled. In a document titled "My Lai Incident" from the History Channel online, it said that the army estimated that a total of 347 people were killed in the massacre.
William Calley could be called a villain in the My Lai Massacre. But one person who could be called a hero is Hugh Thompson. In information found on www.usnews.com I found out that Hugh Thompson was a 24-year-old helicopter pilot who came upon the My Lai Massacre as it was going on.