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04Nov69-Enemy's Stores Sold Out
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON -- U.S. Army troops were kept busy Saturday digging up large caches of Communist supplies found hidden in the swamps below Saigon and in the rolling hills south of Da Nang.
Americal Div. troopers found the largest hoard of food and munitions, U.S. military spokesmen reported, when a 19-year-old Hoi Chanh (defector) led the GIs to a one-ton weapons cache, four tons of unpolished rice were found within the hollowed-out walls of two village huts by Americal troops.
Revisiting an area in the middle of the Plain of Reeds..............
06Nov69-Henley in Command
CHU LAI (Special) - Col. Paul B. Henley has taken command of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 12 replacing Col. Thomas H. Nicholas Jr., who will command the Marine Air Reserve Training Det., Naval Air Station, South Weymouth, Mass.
08Nov69-VC Terrorists Kill 22 Civilians
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON -- Twenty-two civilians were killed, 69 others were kidnaped by Viet Cong terrorists, according to late reports from the Vietnamese National Police Thursday. There were 19 terrorist acts reported.
The worst among them was an incident Wednesday 30 miles west southwest of Da Nang in which four persons were killed and seven wounded. Police reported that an estimated six VC terrorists stepped up to the windows of two village homes - one of a Catholic priest and the other a village chief - sprayed the interiors with bullets and then tossed in hand grenades. The 2 a.m. attack left the priest's sister, an unidentified male and two children of the village chief dead.
In another of the atrocities, three civilians were killed and 25 wounded Monday when eight rounds of Communist mortar fire dropped on Dak To, 100 miles Southwest of Da Nang.
15Nov69-Trapped in Middle of Battle
GI 3 Feet From Death for 12 Hours
LZ HAWK HILL, Vietnam (Special) - Spec 4 Robert Jeans froze against the forest floor as .30 caliber tracers laced the air above him. He was in a miniature "no man's land," pinned down by friendly as well as hostile fire.
Jeans, a 196th Inf. Brigade soldier with the Americal Div.'s 4th Bn., 31st Inf., was a point man for A Co. when he found himself "in a hot predicament on the floor of the Hiep Duc Valley."
During the battle against the 2nd NVA Div., 30 miles south of Da Nang, Jeans found himself directly in front of an enemy bunker, protected from fierce exchanges of fire by only a three-foot depression beneath the thin jungle undergrowth.
The drama began with the Kenilworth, N.J., rifleman's company moved slowly through underbrush to prevent exposure to the enemy. The unit inadvertently found itself directly against the flank of an enemy ambush.
Before the infantrymen could exit, the aroused NVA opened fire with small arms and machine guns. "I found a dead space and flattened," said Jeans who as point man was several meters in front of the rest of his company. "I knew that it was better than being in the open rice paddy."
Sgt. Al Holtzman, Brentwood, N.Y., squad leader of the point element, was sizing up the fight.
"At first I thought our own men were opening up," he said. "Then the .30-caliber rounds came zipping over us."
Enemy and hostile rounds tore the ground near where Jeans lay. He was unable to rejoin his unit. "I called to Al (Holtzman) and told him I was OK, but couldn't move from my position," Jeans recalled.
The rest of the company established a hasty perimeter and blasted the enemy bunker with machine gun fire and M72 rockets.
"By this time I thought the rest of the company had left," Jeans said.
Then the sun went down during the heated cross-fire and A Co. threw up a night defensive position. Taking advantage of the darkness, Jeans slipped out of the cover and maneuvered toward the area where his company was located.
Still not certain whether the men he saw were Americans or NVA, he crouched in the darkness. Soon he heard the men speaking English and called out to the astonished sentries.
Weary but happy after 12 hours of trapped solitude, he scrambled through the perimeter and into the welcoming shouts of his fellow Americal Div. infantrymen.
16Nov69- GI Skyjacker Shot in Viet
SAIGON (AP)-A U.S. 101st Airborne Div. trooper hijacked an Army helicopter at gunpoint early Friday but was captured when the chopper landed south of Da Nang to refuel, an Army spokesman reported.
He said the paratrooper was shot and wounded during his capture at the U.S. Army base at Chu Lai, 58 miles south of Da Nang, when the UH1 helicopter he had seized landed to refuel.
It is not known whether helicopter crewmen or ground personnel shot the would-be hijacker, the spokesman added.
He said the man was in "fair to good" condition at the U.S. Army's 91st Evacuation Hospital at Chu Lai under guard.
16Nov69-Photo Caption - Firequacker
Meet the latest replacement in C Btry., 6th Bn., 11th Arty., Americal Div. He's Pvt (E-2) Charlie Duc. Charlie, who stands four inches tall and weighs in at 17 ounces, managed to pass the units' physical even though he's flatfooted. The men at Landing Zone Bronco, where Charlie is assigned as mascot, claims he's the only E-2 in Vietnam who's also a full bird (USA Photo Spec. 5 Bud Dotson).
18Nov69-Reds Down 2 Copters, 7 Killed, 7 Injured
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Enemy ground fire downed two Army UH1 Huey helicopters Saturday, killing seven and injuring seven.
The first Huey went down in Quang Ngai Province, 73 miles southeast of Da Nang, killing five. The second craft was shot down 21 miles southeast of Da Nang in Quang Tin Province, killing two and wounding seven.
In other action............
18Nov69-Pilot Foiled Hijacker's Japan Trip
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - The 101st Airborne Div. soldier who attempted to hijack a helicopter from I Corps to Saigon early Friday morning is listed in good condition at Chu Lai's 91st Evacuation Hospital, an Army spokesman said Sunday. His ultimate destination was Japan, the spokesman said.
The soldier, identified only as a private first class belonging to the 2nd Bn., 506th Inf., was shot twice in the abdomen by one of the UH1 Huey's two pilots.
The hijacking attempt began about 2:30 Fridays morning when the trooper began firing his rifle in the vicinity of a helipad at Camp Evans, 65 miles northwest of Da Nang, said the spokesman.
The soldier then entered a mess hall, pointed his M16 at a sergeant and informed him that he would be held as hostage to insure the private's safe passage to Japan, the spokesman said.
He said the sergeant and the private scuffled and the NCO managed to disarm the soldier. The military police were called.
At about 5:30 a.m., the MPs found the soldier in his barracks with another rifle but he managed to escape.
Fleeing , he spotted a Huey belonging to the 158th Aviation Bn. warming up on the helipad. He jumped in, held the rifle on one of the pilots and ordered him to fly to Saigon, the spokesman said.
The crew obeyed and took off. About 9 a.m., when the chopper landed for fuel at Chu Lai, base camp of the Americal Div. 58 miles south of Da Nang, one of the pilots shot the would-be hijacker twice with a 38 cal. revolver.
18Nov69- A Real Field Day for Chairborne GIs
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-New boots pounded the trails in the 196th Brigade recently along with a pair that were on their last Vietnam field exercise.
The men of the Americal Div.'s 1st Bn., 46th Inf., were participating in a field training exercise as members of the Professional Reserve Company, (PROSERVCO), which was recently devised by the battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Craig C. Coverdale, Manhaddet, N.Y.
For Sgt. Lemaul Ayres, Ewing, VA, it was his first time in the bush. "It is very worthwhile," he said. "Valuable experience is gained. I never realized what it was like in all the heat and all the work."
Another sergeant, 1st Sgt. Antonio Garcia, Columbus, Ga., said good-bye to the field after the 24 hour operation. After twenty years of service he is retiring. With the sweat of the midday sun on his brow he described it as a great experience for the new fellows and "a pretty good way to end a career."
Instituted by Coverdale, PROSERVCO has become unique to the Americal Div. The unit is made of elements of the battalion which normally are associated with the rear areas - cooks, clerks, and truck drivers. Still some of the fellows proudly wear the Combat Infantryman's Badge (CIB), from prior assignments with a line company. For them the monthly trip to the field is just a refresher.
"This company would only be used if all the line companies in the battalion were committed and help was needed," explained Captain William Woodford (Marcellus, N.Y.). outgoing commander for PROSERVCO. "They are just what their name implies a back-up company."
PROSERVCO heads to the field once every month and no one is excluded. The battalion rear area eats C-rations for the day as the mess steward is out humping the bush with the rest. During the thirty day span there is on the average a 35 per cent turnover in personnel and the newcomers are thoroughly briefed before the operation as to their mission and the reasons behind PROSERVCO.
19Nov69-Fierce Battle Near Da Nang Claims 62 Reds
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON--Vietnam Regional Force soldiers and a navy junk force killed 62 enemy troops in an hour-long battle 16 miles south of Da Nang Sunday afternoon, military officials said Monday. Allied casualties were seven dead and 25 injured.
The infantrymen and navy gunners, backed by artillery and bomber strikes, also captured 18 Communist weapons.
The battle came in the same area where RF and navy forces killed 71 Reds and captured 58 others in a five-hour fight Nov.12.
Thirty-nine more Reds died in three other clashes Sunday just south of Da Nang. Regional Force troops got help from helicopter gunships to cut down 22 enemy several miles down the coast from the city. Two RF soldiers were killed and three were wounded in the fighting.
U.S. Marine artillery lashed out at small Communist groups spotted by 1st Marine Div. patrols 16 and 19 miles southwest of South Vietnam's second largest city to kill the other 17.
19Nov69- DOD: Incidents Seem Exaggerated
WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Department sources said Monday that published reports that as many as 567 South Vietnamese civilians have been killed in 1968 incidents appear to be exaggerated.
The Pentagon sources said, however, that around 100 deaths may have occurred when U.S. troops moved through a cluster of hamlets in Quang Ngai Province in an area known to be a Viet Cong stronghold.
Defense Department spokesman Richard Capen said pretrial investigations have been conducted involving two soldiers. He did not rule out the possibility that other U.S. soldiers could be implicated as the pretrial probes proceed.
First accused in the case was Lt. William Calley Jr. who has been charged with murder in the alleged deaths of a number of Vietnam civilians.
Whether Calley will be brought before a court-martial on the accusations is being determined by officers at Fort Benning Ga., where he is now stationed.
The Army has also charged S. Sgt. David Mitchell with assault with intent to commit murder.
Pentagon sources said a criminal investigative division team has been in Vietnam looking into the case.
19Nov69-Evidence Conflicts in Death of Vietnamese Civilians
SAIGON (AP) - The province chief of Quang Ngai Province said Monday that villagers told him 460 Vietnamese civilians were killed during an American military operation in March 1968, but he said he had no firm evidence they were executed by American troops.
Two soldiers, a lieutenant and a staff sergeant, have been arrested in connection with the alleged massacre on March 16, 1968, at Song My village, six miles northeast of Quang Ngai city.
Newsweek magazine and the New York Times reported Sunday, however that eyewitnesses said 50 or more soldiers were involved. They said the villagers were herded together, their homes destroyed, and then they were mowed down by GI gunmen.
The province chief, Col. Ton That Khien, said in a telephone interview that three months after the operation by the U.S. Americal Division, villagers "cried that the Americans killed them when they went through the village and made contact with the Viet Cong and they opened fire."
Asked if he believed the villagers were telling the truth, he said: "I think there is some truth but there is also an extension of it. Maybe they exaggerate because it is a Viet Cong hamlet and the people have been trained by the Communists. The people are guided by the Viet Cong."
Khien said American and Vietnamese investigators from Saigon visited his area about a year ago and discussed the incident. He said the investigators "could not go into the hamlet because it was still in Viet Cong control."
Asked if the Viet Cong still control the village he said, "No, sir, there's only snipers,"
Khien said he could not confirm the number of dead, that "is the village chief's report."
Asked if he believed the village chief's report, Khien replied: "No, because he was not there." Khien said he had not spoken to any witnesses to the killings.
"When the villagers told me the Americans deliberately opened fire on them," he said, "I asked, "Who saw this" They said they didn't see it for themselves."
Both the U.S. Command and U.S. Army headquarters in Saigon refused to comment on the published reports of the alleged massacre, saying they lacked sufficient information to discuss the case.
19Nov69-ROKs Kill 111 in Fights On Island
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Korean "Blue Dragon" Marines have killed 11 enemy soldiers during the first five days of renewed fighting on Barrier Island; 20 miles southeast of Da Nang, ROK spokesmen reported here Monday.
Barrier Island - a needle like strip that stretches along the Vietnamese coastline for 30 miles - was considered enemy territory until mid-September when ROK and U.S. forces swept down the narrow needle point to clear the island. ROK forces again began combing the island last week when NVA and VC forces reported began infiltration aimed at retaking the sandy sliver of land.
ROK spokesmen here said their Marines have suffered two killed and 16 wounded in the five days of fighting which began Wednesday, Nov 12.
Taken in the northern and widest part of the island were 42 enemy weapons, including one light machine gun and one mortar, said the spokesmen. A radio set was also captured.
ROK Marines fighting on the island report that NVA regulars are in the area and that two Viet Cong battalions have also infiltrated some of their numbers onto the island.
19Nov69-Cooksey to Ft. Dix
WASHINGTON (S&s) - Brig. Gen. Howard H. Cooksey, now with U.S. Army Vietnam, will be transferred about Jan. 10 to the Army Training Center at Ft. Dix, N.J., the Army announced.
ABOARD USS SANCTUARY, South China Sea, (Special) - This U.S. Navy ship, bearing the motto, "you find 'em, we bind 'em," has been recognized for her meritorious service in Vietnam. Vice Adm. William F. Bringle commander of the Seventh Fleet, formally presented the Navy Unit Commendation to the officers and men of the Navy hospital ship Sanctuary during recent ceremonies aboard the white-hulled 'Mercy Ship' off the coast of Vietnam.
20Nov69-Province Chief Urged Probe of GI 'Massacre' Charge
QUANG NGAI, Vietnam (UPI) - A top government official said Tuesday he requested an investigation after villagers told him American troops had massacred 490 Vietnamese civilians.
Col. Ton That Khien, chief of Quang Ngai Province, said Monday in an interview that he believed U.S. air and artillery strikes -- and not American infantrymen -- were responsible for the incident in Truong An 317 miles northeast of Saigon. He said Tuesday the attack was probably a mistake.
Some of the residents in the sleepy coastal village have claimed that an American patrol killed from 300 to 600 civilians with M16 rifles and one machinegun in mid-March of 1968.
"I doubt the story," Khien said, "I have worked with the Americans many times and I know they don't operate that way. But yes, I did request an investigation when people told me that many villagers had been killed in a raid.
Khien, 40, said he requested an official investigation in June 1968 but no American officers got in touch with him regarding the charges until June 25, 1969 when he was visited by a U.S. lieutenant colonel from Saigon.
He said he was perturbed by the delay because the alleged incident occurred in a Viet Cong village "and there have been many accidents before in Viet Cong villages."
"I made the request in June 1968. Last June 25, an American officer from Saigon came to question me about the incident.
About two months after the alleged incident, government officials said Viet Cong guerrillas passed out leaflets in the area saying that American soldiers had killed over 500 civilians in Truong An village.
Spokesmen for the Americal Div. which operates in this area have referred questions concerning details of the alleged incident to the Pentagon. They said the release of information might prejudice the case.
21Nov69-Village Votes Once Again
LZ HAWK HILL, Vietnam (Special) - A district which has been a showcase for the pacification effort in I Corps Tactical Zone held elections for hamlet and village officials recently for the first time since 1965.
The Hiep Duc district 30 miles south of Da Nang, which was overrun by the Communists in 1965, was the primary target of intense Communist assaults in late August and early September.
During that time U.S. Army infantrymen of the Americal Div.'s 196th Brigade and South Vietnamese Army soldiers killed more than 1,200 NVA in the Hiep Duc Valley.
Each of the several villages and hamlets elected the officials who will assist the district chief in directing the affairs of Hiep Duc. A polling establishment was set up in each village or hamlet for the use of its residents only. The 15 officials were elected to three-year terms. Suffrage was universal to all residents over 18 years of age.
21Nov69-Reds Bring Down Copter - And All Hell With It
Elsewhere, Vietnamese Popular Force troops and helicopter gunships killed 20 enemy soldiers in a Tuesday morning fight in the Central Plains 13 miles west of Quang Ngai City,............
22Nov69-ROKs Kill 15 Reds
SAIGON (S&S) --Marines of the Republic of Korea's "Blue Dragon" Brigade killed 15 Communist soldiers in skirmishes about 15 miles southwest of Da Nang Wednesday, military spokesmen said. One Marine was injured by an enemy booby trap.
22Nov69-Watched GIs Kill Hundreds of Villagers, Sergeant Says
By the Associated Press
An Army sergeant stationed at Ft. Dix, N.J. says he saw American soldiers kill hundreds of South Vietnamese men, women and children in the village of My Lai in March 1968.
Sgt. Michael Bernhardt said Wednesday night that a company of the Americal Division conducted the alleged mass slaying as the result of an order by the company commander.
In another development related to the reported deaths, the Cleveland Plain Dealer Wednesday printed photographs showing South Vietnamese civilians allegedly killed in the incident. It said the photographs showing South Vietnamese civilians allegedly killed in the incident. It said the photographs came from a former Army combat photographer, Ronald L. Haeberle, of Cleveland.
Haeberle said in a copyright story that he joined the company just before it entered the village and heard from the men it was suspected the villagers were Viet Cong sympathizers. He said he saw men, women and children slaughtered.
Lt. William L. Calley Jr., 26, of Miami, Fla., has been charged in the case, and Staff Sgt. David Mitchell, St. Francisville, La., has been charged with assault with intent to murder.
A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said he did not expect there would be any official comment on the Plain Dealer story of photographs. "We don't want to say anything that would prejudice the case," he said.
The charges brought against Calley Sept. 5, one day before he was due to be discharged from the service, were prompted by the actions of Ronald Lee Ridenhour, 23, a former Army Spec. 4 now attending college in California.
Ridenhour sent 30 letters to officials in Washington telling them stories he heard from returning Vietnam veterans who told of hundreds of civilians being shot and killed by American GIs.
Bernhardt, 23, of Hempstead, N.Y., said in an interview that the My Lai incident rose out of the an order given the day before by the company commander whom he refused to identify.
He said the company was temporarily stationed in a field base about five miles from the village. He said the commander gave a briefing during which he said "words to the effect that the village and its inhabitants were to be destroyed."
The operation was actually against three villages, designated on Army maps as My Lai Four, Five and Six, Bernhardt said, and the killing began at My Lai Four.
He corroborated reports by South Vietnamese who claimed to have survived the alleged massacre that the troopers gathered the villagers in three groups and shot them down with rifles and machine guns.
Bernhardt, who said he has testified in preliminary hearings in the Calley case, told of seeing one group being shot down, some "at point blank range." Those still alive "looked in disbelief," he said.
Bernhardt said he did not kill any Vietnamese in the village but that a majority of the company took part in the alleged slayings. "Most of them did kill," he said.
He said he did not recall seeing either Calley or Mitchell during the incident. He said the commander's order "was understood" to be to kill the civilians and "was carried out as understood."
Haeberle said in the Plain Dealer story that he furnished the Army's Criminal Investigation Division with prints of his pictures and gave the CID a statement in August.
Among the eight photos printed in the newspaper were shots of 15 Vietnamese bodies strewn on a path, a GI in a rice paddy firing an M16 rifle and about half a dozen men, women and children standing with frightened expressions on their faces. The caption under that photo said the group was dead minutes later.
The copyright photographs were not made available for distribution by the Associated Press.
The Army said Wednesday it could not release Haeberle's pictures because they might be prejudicial to the rights of the two men currently charged in the incident.
23Nov69-Lee Takes Command
LZ HAWK HILL, Vietnam (Special) - Col. James M. Lee, of Columbus, Ga., has taken command of the Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade, replacing Col. Thomas H. Tackaberry who will become the division's chief of staff.
2?Nov69-Congressmen Want Viet 'Massacre' Probe
WASHINGTON (UPI) - Two members of Congress called for investigations Thursday into an alleged massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American troops.
Rep. William E. Minshall, R-???, has published accounts of the slaying which purportedly took place in March 1968 indicated the facts had been covered up.
Sen. Charles E. Goodell, R-N.Y., said the investigation should look into reports that the United States and South Vietnam jointly operate a program called "Phoenix" under which "supposed" Viet Cong leaders are assassinated.
Minshall said the government's handling of the alleged massacre "smacks" of the same kind of secrecy that surrounded the Green Beret case."
Goodell asked that the matter be investigated by the Senate Armed Services Committee. In a letter to committee chairman John Stennis, D-Miss., Goodell said President Nixon had expressed concern about a "bloodbath" if American troops leave the war too soon.
"... If American policy in Vietnam is so deeply concerned with the possibility of a bloodbath perpetrated by Communist forces, it should be equally concerned with preventing the deliberate killing of civilians by our own or South Vietnamese
forces," Goodell said.
"The American people are certainly entitled to know what happened," Minshall told the House. He said he was asking Rep. George H. Mahon, D-Tex., chairman of the defense subcommittee and the paren appropriations committee to call all appropriate defense department and army witnesses to establish the facts in the case.
A U.S. Army investigation of the alleged incident already has begun in Saigon.
The army has charged 1st Lt. William L. Calley, 26, Miami, Fla., of Company C, with the murder of a multiple number of civilians. Calley currently is stationed at Ft. Hood, Tex. In addition platoon Sgt. David Mitchell, 29, St. Francisville, La., has been charged with assault with intent to murder. There has been no official report on if or when the two will be brought to trial.
DA NANG AB (Special) - Air Force Capt. Harold L. Castall was recently selected as "Gunfighter of the Month" for his accomplishments as an F-4 Phantom pilot with the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing here during October. Castell, who flies with the 421st Tactical Fighter Sq., maintained the highest average bomb damage assessment throughout the month.
24Nov69-Aviators Win PUC
LONG BINH (Special) - An air cavalry team from the 1st Aviation Brigade has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its efforts in a two-month-long operation against the enemy in early 1968.
Troop C, 7th Sq., 17th Air Cav. was selected for the high honor along with the unit it supported, the Americal Div. 1st Sq., 1st Cav. They killed 1,046 of the enemy while sustaining only 11 fatal casualties themselves in the operation.
24Nov69-Viets Slam Reds 4th Time, Kill 56 Near Da Nang
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON-Vietnamese government troops smashed a Communist force on coastal plains about 20 miles southeast of Da Nang for the fourth time in 11 days Friday as they killed 56 Reds and captured 85 enemy suspects in late afternoon fighting. ARVN spokesmen said Saturday. One Vietnamese soldier was wounded in the engagement.
Infantrymen and armored tracks of the ARVN 2nd Div. made initial contact with the enemy Friday 22 miles down the coast from Da Nang. Heavy artillery and warplane bombardments were poured onto the Red outfit. Vietnamese forces counted 170 Communist dead and 145 prisoners while taking light casualties in the three previous battles.
Meanwhile, Communists used small arms and rocket-grenades to ambush Americal Div. GIs 28 miles southeast of Da Nang Friday evening, but the Americans used cover fire from helicopters and an Air Force AC47 gunship to fight their way out of the trap in a 40-minute clash. Six Communist and five U.S. soldiers were killed. Seven other GIs were wounded.
Enemy gunfire downed an Army UH1 helicopter near that battlefield Friday afternoon. One man aboard was injured, and the "Huey" chopper was destroyed.
Elsewhere in South Vietnam.........
24Nov69-Marines Find Red Supply Net
DA NANG, Vietnam (UPI) - U.S. Marines of the 1st Bn., 7th Regt., 1st Div. tromping through one of the last unexplored Communist sanctuaries near Da Nang have uncovered a major supply system used to support hundreds of North Vietnamese troops, military officials said Saturday.
The Marine division commander, Maj. Gen Orman Simpson, said the network of caches was the most significant supply depot found by his 33,000-man unit in more than a year.
U.S. spokesmen said the confiscated supplies hidden in dank caves throughout the Que Son mountain range included more than five tons of rice, 100,000 rounds of ammunition hundreds of rocket and mortar rounds and five flamethrowers. The weapons and munitions were estimated to weigh up to 10 tons.
Scattered fighting in the 3,000-foot-high jungled mountains since Nov. 2 has claimed the lives of some 250 North Vietnamese and 25 Americans. Many of the Reds were killed by artillery when they attempted to escape in small bands into the coastal flatlands.
The 600-man leatherneck force, commanded by Lt. Col. Frank Clark, 39, checked into the rugged mountains 28 miles south of Da Nang almost three weeks ago. The peaks are blanketed by triple canopy jungle and studded with truck-sized boulders.
"This is the most significant weapons and munitions find we've made in more than a year," said Simpson, "Some of the supplies were still wrapped in their original shipping containers."
25Nov69-Small Refugee Village
Is Stage for Major Drama
By SPEC. 5 ALAN MAGARY
S7S Vietnam Bureau
SON MY, Vietnam - This is a small, shabby, refugee village near the South China Sea about 75 miles southeast of Da Nang. It is outstanding in no particular respect except for one: There are people here who say they witnessed a massacre of civilians by U.S. troops.
The visitor, therefore, approaches Son My with a lot of questions. One day in March 1968, it is alleged, American GIs entered My Lai Hamlets numbers Four, Five and Six - half a mile north of here - and it is alleged, killed a large number of civilians.
Son My is a refugee village surrounded by a wooden palisade fence designed to keep the enemy out. A Combined Action Platoon - U.S. Marines and Vietnamese Popular Forces - has set up a small "poncho foxhole" camp inside the fence.
Hill 85, which seems to dominate the area has a quarter-moon-shaped Regional Forces camp on it. The CAP team and the RFs provide immediate security.
Americal troops of the 11th Brigade come by every couple of days on armored personnel carriers in their search for the enemy.
Son My itself is made up of four hamlets officially, but there are not boundaries - just a lot of huts constructed either of tin or of thatch.
Tu Cong is one of the hamlets. It has been there only since August when its population was resettled from My Lai Hamlet.
The My Lai hamlets are, a group of scattered brick and mortar houses 800 yards across a dirt road. All the houses are in ruins - destroyed by artillery and air strikes.
It was, allegedly, some people who used to live in those houses who were killed by American troops.
No one is looking for any bodies.
Security may be one reason. The Son My villagers have a history of supporting the VC, officials say.
The Quang Ngai Province chief. Col. Ton That Khien, said in a published interview that Son My was a "VC hamlet."
"The people have been trained by the Communists," he said. "The people were guided by the Viet Cong.
It is true that the village of Son My is not a very safe place to be. One U.S. officer said a VC squad was known to operate in the area.
He also noted that the village chief does not sleep in Son My.
The visitor to Son My, however, is apparently safe in walking through the village during the daytime. Only old men and women and some mothers with their young children are there at that time.
If a visitor wishes to examine the ruins of My Lai half a mile away, however, he will not find a willing escort. A U.S. helicopter pilot said he would fly either at 600 feet or would make "a low fast run" past the ruined hamlet.
With the investigation into the alleged massacre continuing, nothing much can be found out at this time.
26Nov69-Army to Try Lt. on Charges Of Murdering 109 Civilians
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army Monday ordered a young lieutenant court-martialed on charges of premeditated murder of the 109 South Vietnamese, including a two-year-old child, in the alleged U.S. massacre at My Lai village.
The case of 1st Lt. William L. Calley Jr., will be tried as a capital offense meaning that if convicted the 26-year-old Waynesville, HN.C. man faces a penalty of death or life imprisonment.
Calley is the first American formally accused in the alleged mass killings, which have stirred up an international furor.
One other Army man - S. Sgt. David Mitchell - has been charged with assault with intent to murder My Lai villagers, and the Army is investigating 24 other soldiers and ex-soldiers in connection with the case.
The Calley case may be unprecedented so far as the magnitude of the alleged crimes is concerned. Army officers said they could not recall another case in previous wars where an Army man was accused of killing so many civilians.
The decision to hold a general court-martial for Calley was made by Maj. Gen. Orwin C. Talbott, commanding officer at Ft. Benning Ga. where Calley now is stationed.
The announcement brought the first official release of six charges and specifications setting forth the alleged atrocities. Until Monday the Army had maintained virtual silence on the details.
In one major accusation, Calley is accused of killing "an unknown number of oriental human beings, not less than 70, males and females of various ages . . . . by means of shooting them with a rifle."
Other specifications charged Calley with killing at least 39 persons. One was approximately two years old, name and sex unknown.
Army legal experts have said that Calley could be charged with premeditated murder if he issued an order leading to the killing and did not do the actual firing himself.
Calley's court-martial will be held at Ft. Benning and will be public except for times when the judge may order closed sessions to protect classified information, Capen said.
A trial date has not been set. The Army said it will take at least a month for Calley's attorney, George W. Latimer, and the prosecution to prepare their cases. Latimer, of Salt Lake City, is a former judge on the military court of appeals.
Two more demands for official inquiries into the alleged massacre were heard Monday in the Senate.
Sen. Charles Percy, R-Ill., urged investigations by both the Pentagon and the Senate while Sen. Stephen M. Young called for a Senate inquiry.
As the Calley case came to a head, the Army announced the assignment of Lt. Gen. William R. Peers to determine whether army field officers who originally investigated the case should be held accountable for covering it up.
After an initial on-the-scene investigation by the 11th Infantry Brigade in 1968, the alleged massacre of march 16, 1968 went virtually unnoticed for a year.
Last March Army headquarters in Washington decided to reopen the case on the basis of a letter written to 30 congressmen by an ex-GI saying he heard a number of atrocity stories about My Lai.
The Army said Peers, currently chief of reserve components on the Army staff, has been directed "to explore the nature and the scope" of the brigade's original investigation and the subsequent review by the unit's parent Americal Division.
The brigade's probe "developed nothing to indicate any disciplinary action or to warrant further investigation," the Army reported.
The Pentagon said Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor and Gen. William C. Westmoreland, who ordered Peers' special review, "stressed that their action did not mean per se that the original and review were inadequate." Peers will determine this after completion of his work.
Meanwhile the Viet Cong radio charged that U.S. and South Korean troops murdered more than 1,200 Vietnamese civilians in massacres in seven villages in Quang ngai and Quang Nam Provinces in February and March 1968.
The South Vietnamese defense ministry said Saturday that reports of Americans killing 567 civilians were "completely inaccurate."
And Monday official Saigon sources made public a captured enemy document reporting that Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops who seized Hue during their 1968 Tet offensive eliminated nearly 2,900 Vietnamese.
28Nov69-Had to Speak Out on Massacre, Ex-GI Says
CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP)- Ronald Lee Ridenhour, a bookish, football-playing ex-GI who touched off the investigation of an alleged massacre in a South Vietnamese village, says he had no desire to "besmirch the image of the American serviceman" but felt duty bound to speak out.
Ridenhour wrote a 2,000-word letter to congressmen and the Department of the Army. Since then an Army lieutenant has been charged with premeditated murder in the case and both Congress and the Army have ordered investigations.
Ridenhour, a 23 year-old literature student at Claremont Men's College, said in an interview Tuesday his letter was based on information he collected from soldiers who told him they had been in the village.
It stated that fellow soldiers told him an American infantry company killed at least 109 and possibly 567 civilians including babies-in the Vietnamese village of My Lai.
The letter was written four months after he completed his service time. Ridenhour, who wasn't a witness to the alleged slayings, spent a year in Vietnam as a door gunner on a helicopter.
He said the "first of many reports" came from a private first class named "Butch" who told him all the villagers - men women and children - had been killed. He said "Butch" particularly recalled a boy about 3 or 4 years old.
Ridenhour quoted "Butch" as saying, "The boy was clutching his wounded arm with his other hand, while blood trickled between his fingers. He was staring around himself in shock and disbelief at what he saw. He just stood there with big eyes staring around like he didn't understand. He didn't believe what was happening. Then the captain's RTO-radio operator-put a burst of M16 rifle fire into him.
"It was so bad that one of the men in his squad shot himself in the foot in order to be medevaced out of the area so that he would not have to participate in the slaughter." "Butch" was not further identified.
Ridenhour is a literature major at Claremont. Tall and slim he plays defensive end on the varsity football team. He received a Good Conduct Medal when he completed his Army service. He said most of the friends he told about the case advised him to "forget about it."
But, he said, it haunted him.
H talked with "about 12" servicemen who said they were eyewitnesses, and he said that although they spoke freely to him, they refused to go to the authorities with the story. Then he met Sgt. Michael Bernhardt of Franklin Square, N.Y. who said he witnessed but didn't participate in the alleged massacre and would verify the events.
Ridenhour said he has "no angle" for speaking out himself, ..........
30Nov69-Ex-GI Trial Challenge Code
My Lai Case Is Legal Puzzle
WASHINGTON (AP) - Pentagon officials may invoke two never-before-tested sections of the military justice code to try any former soldiers accused in the alleged My Lai massacre.
One of these is Article 18, generally applying to war crimes, which lawyers said, was intended to preserve common law permitting military commissions to sit
in criminal cases.
Fifteen of the 24 men now under investigation, but not yet charged, have returned to civilian life since the alleged mass slaying of more than 100 South Vietnamese civilians on March 16, 1968.
Prosecution of the nine soldiers still on active duty poses no legal problem. They clearly are subject to the military justice code under which 1st Lt. William L. Calley Jr., faces court-martial on premeditated murder charges and S. Sgt. David Mitchell has been charged with assault with intent to kill.
However, serious questions confront government legal authorities on the course to follow in trying to prosecute any of the ex-soldiers deemed to have been involved.
This is because the Supreme Court in 1955 rejected military court-martial for former servicemen in freeing a discharged Air Force sergeant who had been arrested by military authorities and flown to Korea to face a murder charge after he had gone back to civilian life.
Lawyers for the Pentagon, the Justice Department and other federal agencies have been studying possible courses of action against ex-soldiers in the My Lai case.
Senior legal officers said a likely path would be to try to invoke either Article 18 or Article 21 or both. They said the sections have not yet been tested before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Sen. Peter Dominick, R-Colo., a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Thursday night he favored creation of a military crimes commission if there is no other way to bring former servicemen responsible to trial.
But, Dominick added, he is not pressing for creation of such a commission.
30Nov69Lt. Calley Got Leave to See Dad
FT. BENNING, Ga. (AP)-
Lt. William L. Calley Jr., charged by the Army with the murder of 109 South Vietnamese civilians, was granted a week's leave last month to visit his ailing father in Miami, Fla.
"He felt he had to get home and talk to his father-to reassure him, "Col. Talton W. Long, deputy post commander at Ft. Benning, said Thursday.
Calley was assigned to Long's office when he returned to Ft. Benning last June 21. He was under investigation then in the alleged massacre at My Lai village.
Long said no restraint has been placed on Calley because "none was considered necessary." The colonel said Calley had gotten on "great," that his health and morale seemed to be god and "he is an intelligent, bright, thoroughly capable young officer."
Long said Calley was gone on leave for a week, returning about Nov. 3.
William Calley, Sr., a diabetic, lives with his 15-year-old daughter, Dawn, in a trailer park at Hialeah, Fla. Besides William Jr. and Dawn he has two other daughters who have married and moved away.
Calley drove his own car on the trip, Long said. The leave had been delayed, Long added, when the Army filed murder charges against Calley on Sept. 5-one day before Calley was due to be discharged after two years in the Army.
Long said after Calley returned he spoke of being "concerned only that his father was being asked questions by the press.
30Nov69-'Publicity Has Hurt Rights'
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (UPI)-Lt. William I. Calley Jr.'s defense attorney said Friday publicity "unleashed" on the alleged Song My massacre may have impaired his client's rights.
George W. Latimer, a former Utah Supreme Court justice said he was planning a series of motions to that point, to be filed in court probably next week.
He said he ultimately plans to plead Calley innocent to the charges involving the killing of Vietnamese civilians, but in the meantime, "everybody seems to believe he is the culprit."