Vietnam War
Hugh Thompson Jr. On Witnessing The My Lai Massacre

The My Lai Massacre took place on March 16, 1968, when members of the U.S. Army killed between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in the South Vietnam hamlets of My Lai and My Khe. Hugh Thompson Jr. was a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. On the day of the massacre, Thompson and his crew were flying over My Lai when they saw a U.S. soldier shoot a woman. Thompson landed his helicopter between villagers and soldiers, and he and his crew dismounted and threatened to shoot the U.S. soldiers if they did not stop. Thompson then went on to report the massacre to his superiors. In this video, Thompson Jr. recalls the day of the massacre. When asked how he can explain soldiers doing what they did in My Lai, he responds: “When the leadership that allows them to do it. Negative peer pressure. Prejudice. Fear. Not everybody on the ground that day took part in it. We put I think somewhere around 190 people on the ground. Only somewhere between thirteen and eighteen I’ve been told actually took part in what was going on. The others didn’t do anything to stop it, just kind of turned the other way. You know, they knew what was going on.”

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Submitted by: Ilana Faber
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