Insubordination Hughes Thompson
• insubordination Hughes Thompson
Interestingly, he felt Lawrence Colburn, looking through the crosshairs on his colleagues. There were more, they were armed, but the helicopter was the M60, capable of delivering 500 rounds per minute, and against Lawrence Colburn infantrymen had no chance. Moreover, it maintained the flight engineer Glenn Andreotti and immediate superior - Warrant Officer Hughes Thompson. They were 20-25 years old. The same amount was Lt. Brooks, who was standing in front of a machine gun Colburn and choked with anger.
Military Intelligence at the time from the beginning said that the Americans will not be able intelligently to fight in Vietnam. Well there is an army - the Americans are better armed, better trained, better everything. But excuse me, there are still partisans every tropical stuff like mosquitoes, swamps and so on. Other option but the use of scorched earth tactics, it was not simple. The Americans were forced to destroy everything that could somehow help the partisans - rice fields, villages, ordinary people. Hi, napalm, no humanity. This caused the local even greater hatred of the aggressor.
Well, yes, of course, among the aggressors was Klauers Hughes Thompson, Jr.
48th Battalion Viet Cong greatly irritated the local American commanders and officers of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade 23rd Infantry Division "Americal" in particular. Vietcong fought this monstrously vile as shown in the patriotic American films, war with all the consequences: a trap with stakes, ambushes, luring Americans into the marshes and so on. At the beginning of March 1968 has been informed that the headquarters of the 48th is based in the rural community of Milan or somewhere nearby, in Mikhe or My Lai. military operation to suppress the slippery reptile Vietnam was scheduled for March 16. To the soldiers did not hesitate to use force, including information that has been prevalent that civilians in the village will not be, they disperse over the fields and forests, and will be in the village only partisans. Anyway, the press was told all, and the village turned into a scorched black box to Viet Cong soldiers could not be used in the construction of its anti-American purposes.
But it was pure disinformation. One headquarters in the village was not, and half of the partisan (in each half of the Vietnamese village of partisan necessarily present) a few days ago, went into the forest. As a result, when at 8 am heavily armed US forces went to Milan and My Lai, shoot, they were not particularly in someone other than working in the rice fields of the peasants. But orders are not discussed.
Milan, My Khe, Bintey were villages and cemeteries began. The soldiers simply went ahead, pouring unarmed Vietnamese fire, and the house set on fire or threw grenades. Immediately it is worth noting that such killings during the Vietnam War, Americans waged at least a dozen - it's just known. However, many Americans like the massacre were unpleasant. At least, after the war, many said they did not shoot, but only pretended, because to kill women and children - fi. Some of them are lying.
A pilot Hughes Thompson watched the scene from the air - and was extremely disgusted by the fact that he had the opportunity to see. And at some point, it runs counter to the accepted order of the decision to intervene. Actually, that's his helicopter on the same day, filmed during the return to the base:
However, to understand something from the air was quite difficult, and the correct understanding of the situation, Thompson played the role of the case. Even before the operation, he conducted a preliminary reconnaissance flight over these territories and found two suspected Viet Cong, running through a field (it were the same half of the partisan). He gave them the order to surrender, which they did not shove against the same gun. They were tied up and put in an evacuation helicopter called to take on a base for questioning. The second discovery Thompson became a little hiding in fear Vietcong peasants injured during fights (not the first day was a war); some needed medical care. Thompson left them a green smoke bomb in order to identify the place and promised to bring an American doctor of parts. Then he flew in part - to refuel, to deliver the "Languages", call medvertolot. Private Dustin sets fire to the roof of the hut.
Approximately 9 hours, he returned to the same place - and found that the cure is already certain. At the site of the hut, where hid wounded - scorched earth. This has caused some suspicion. Thompson knew that the operation is directed against the guerrilla command, but in the cabin were just unarmed peasants!
Gory pictures, by the way, made the Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle.
Thompson began to fly around the area and saw another picture later became quite famous. About 200 meters from the village, on the Captain Ernest Medina came to crawl away from him a wounded Vietnamese girl came to her on the back foot - and shot in the head. Here it is, Heberli took her corpse later, as directed by Thompson.
Then Thompson realized that so - everywhere. He immediately radioed to base the following message: "It seems to me that there is too many unforced kills, something's wrong here. Everywhere corpses, we have seen the full body ditch. There's something wrong! "
And then he saw a group of people hiding in some whether a ditch, or a self-made bomb shelter, and US troops heading to the last with guns. He landed his helicopter just between natives and foreigners.
For 10 seconds prior to execution. Heberli picture.
By helicopter approached Sergeant David Mitchell and asked why Thompson landed. Anyone hoping still for the best, said in response: is it possible to do something to help the people hiding. Mitchell said that the only help they need - is to shoot them to the dogs. At that moment I came and the unit commander, Lieutenant William Calley - senior in rank than the pilot Thompson (warrant officer - an analogue of the Ensign).
- What's going on, Lieutenant? - Thompson asked. - It's my business.
- What it is, who are these people?
- I was just following orders.
- What order? Whose order?
- I'm just doing ...
- But it's civil, they were not armed, sir!
- Listen to Thompson, this is my business, I'm in command here, this is not your concern.
- Oh yeah, great job ...
- Sit down in a helicopter and do what you need!
Here it is, Kelly. After the war already. But even before the trial.
At this point in Thompson occurred struggle is to go against the subordination or against their own conscience. Mitchell, meanwhile, shot a pistol hidden in a ditch people. Thompson returned to the helicopter and lifted him into the air - and then won the conscience of subordination.
to save those who have fallen into the hands of Kelly and Mitchell, Thompson could not. So he flew to the north-eastern part of the village where the air I saw a group of ten peasants fleeing to the entrance of a self-made bomb shelter. Behind them walked slowly, postrelivaya of huts, soldiers from the 2nd platoon. Thompson took a strong decision - he landed his helicopter across, between the fleeing peasants and the advancing Americans. Bortstrelku Colburn, he said, if the Americans start to shoot at the helicopter or Vietnamese farmers - hit-to-kill, you must promise me. I do not care what their own.
Then he jumped out of a helicopter and went to Lt. Stephen Brooks, commander of the platoon. "I just want to take away innocent people," - he said, - "they need to be put out of bomb shelters and evakurovat". "We'll help, of course, is now a grenade Kinema in the shelter, and all business-something" - Brooks said, not knowing yet what the question. "Order your men to stay where there's a better way than to kill", - said Thompson.
"Gunner will fire if you touch at least one of these people", - said Thompson. And Brooks, senior officer, shut up. Thompson called to the base two large helicopter Bell UH-1C Iroquois (pilots Milens Dan and Brian Livingstone) for evacuation. 11 Vietnamese taken. All this time, while helicopters flew evacuation Colburn Brooks kept people at gunpoint. Once they had left, the helicopter Thompson also took to the air.
"Bella" (though it is a modification of Bell UH-1D):
On the way back Andreotti noted in one of the ditches full of corpses, some movement. They sat down and found the bodies of a miracle survivor of a young boy named Ho Up (according to some sources - Before Ba) - he was immediately taken to a military hospital.
The corpse in the well.
Upon returning to base Thompson once wrote a report. He realized that the need to act quickly - until its report has not Brooks. Because the actions of Thompson smelled tribunal. And we know that such a tribunal in wartime. At the same time Thompson brought to commander Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker of the operation information on what is happening in the village. Barker immediately contacted with said Captain Medina, head of the "in situ"; on the direct orders of the last operation has been terminated. Thus, Thompson rescued still a lot of people - already implicitly.
In this photograph ordinary Mauro and dragged Widmer ordinary Carter. He shot himself in the leg to be injured and not to take part in the massacre. Under the guise he was not charged with any crime of desertion, the wound was named war wounds.
But all this physics. Followed by poetry was much more.
The next day, Thompson sent an official report about the killings, Colonel Oren Henderson, commander of the 11th Infantry Brigade. Information divorced, were canceled out similar operations, scheduled to be held in several other villages. Thompson almost immediately received an award for his actions - Distinguished Flying Cross.
The formulation was as follows: "For the salvation of the child who is in an intense firefight," and that "his right solutions have significantly improved the Vietnam-US relations in the operational zone." Letter in which it was said (to attach to the award) Thompson pointedly crumpled up and threw away, leaving the room where the award was presented. Until the end of the war, he continued to fly on its OH-23 Raven.
But the matter came up again after the war. In 1969, the Pentagon has started a review and study of American war crimes during the Vietnam War. Thompson, Colburn, Kelly, and other participants in the massacre accountable personally to Lieutenant General William Pierce, head of the commission. Senator Mendel Rivers, Civilian Representative, who was present in the committee, demanded to punish Thompson because he raised his weapon on its own, to the fullest extent of the law; when it failed (the military sided with Thompson), Rivers, being a public person, issued a "his" version of what happened. With its filing public educability with the official position of "Americans - the good, the Vietnamese - bad", Thompson began to perceive as a traitor. He had letters of hatred, he razmalovyvali house, throwing onto the porch of the dead dogs.
He was promoted to Major General and retired from the army in 1983, at the age of 40 years.
Flight Engineer Glenn Andreotti, who saved the boy out of the ditch of the dead, just did not see it. He died less than a month after the massacre, April 8, 1968 - the helicopter, to which he was appointed, it was shot down with a machine gun. That is Andreotti in 1967, he was 19 years old.
Lieutenant William Calley was court-martialed. September 5, 1969 he was charged with the murder of 104 civilians. Fuel to the fire poured reporter Seymour Hersh, the investigation received the My Lai massacre in the Pulitzer Prize 1970: Hersh found that victims who have suffered directly from the Kelly unit was even more - 109 March 29, 1971 William Calley was convicted of 22 intentional and unforced murder and sentenced to life in prison Fort Leavenworth.
President Nixon granted the petition of lawyers Kelly and resolved to note the conclusion in jail to house arrest under which Kelly lived until May 3, 1974; in 1974, finally he pardoned Nixon Kelly. Of course, the latter stripped of all honors, pensions, and so on. The only interview Kelly gave about the massacre happened in 2009. He said nothing in it, except for the fact that all life regrets about the day, about the people killed.
A caricature of Kelly:
Kelly in 2009:
gunner Lawrence Colburn retired from the army after the war, married and started a small business repair of ski equipment. Tribunals it almost did not touch, but to witness.
Captain Ernest Medina were charged with criminal order to give them - to kill ordinary people. In August 1971, in spite of all the evidence, Medina was acquitted - all hung on his subordinate Kelly. Justification Medina became known precedent and has been called "Medina standard", according to which the culprit "appointed" only direct orders Performer (Medina not seem to take himself involvement - indications Thompson about a woman no one was able to confirm - as the order gave the wrong, because I do not know environment). Subsequently, the precedent relied on numerous occasions. Lawyer Lee Bailey, who was able to protect Medina, received all-American recognition.
Happy Medina after the acquittal:
One of the prosecution witnesses was a photographer Ronald L. Haeberle, author of bloody pictures found in post. But even his fotodokazatelstva not helped.
However, in connection with the massacre was punished several officers and soldiers of various ranks. The most senior in rank Major General Samuel Koster, who in 1970, along with another 13th senior officers were court-martialed for the attempted cover-up of war crimes, including the massacre in Milan. Koster on the results of lowered by one rank (brigadier general) and stripped of several awards. All under the Tribunal has got about 30 people, but almost all piled up as a result on Kelly. Koster:
What happened then? Then there was the documentary "Four hours Sweetheart" (Four Hours in My Lai) 1989. Thompson and Colburn were interviewed for it.
Then there was the book of the same name - in 1992.
Then there was the Soldier's Medal, which received all three characters in 1998 (Andreotti - posthumously). During the award was delivered, finally, the correct wording - the salvation of more than a dozen people, and that the three stopped a war crime. By the way, handing first, they gathered only to Thompson, but he said that he would accept the medal, only if it will get all three. The picture with the presentation:
In 1998, Thompson and Colburn came at the invitation of the very village in Milan. Two women from the group saved - Tu and Pham Thi Nang Nan - still lived there. Appointment television shows. Thompson and Colburn have entrusted the honor to open the new village school. They were received as heroes. Deserved what to say.
Hugh Thompson died in 2006 at age 62. He was buried with full honors, the President personally expressed his condolences to the relatives.
In this picture - Hugh Thompson, Lawrence Colburn, Andreotti is saved grown to Ho (Ba or Before) boy, youngest son of Colburn. 1998.
Before Ho collects electronics at some factory in Ho Chi Minh City. On the following picture shows him in '42 (2002, Colburn's second visit to the country), he is not married, judging by his stories, much happiness in his life he did not have. But he was alive, and that's the main thing. He described the way that the hospital he went himself in two days and walked 10 miles (he was 8 years old!) Back to the village, where he found and buried their parents - and continued to live alone.
In the village there is a memorial.
The main thing is that there are people capable of upsetting the order, if the order is stupid and cruel. And the ability to defend their right to break it.