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01Dec69-Average Guy Calley Found Niche in Army


  Associated Press Writer

   William L. Calley came home from the war with medals on his chest and a cloud over his name.  To old friends, there was little in Calley's makeup to suggest he was the sort who would merit either.

   He was the neighborhood kid they knew as "Rusty... the boy who played the drum in the high school band ... the lackluster junior college student who flunked four courses . . . the railroad conductor who tied up traffic for 55 minutes at a downtown crossing ... the polite bellhop ... the dishwasher...the salesman ... and finally, the young man who drifted away from home to seek his niche.

   Now, William Calley, the "average guy" as so who knew him describe him, has been charged Nov. 24 by the Army with the premeditated murder of 109 South Vietnamese men, women and children at My Lai on March 16, 1968, and Saturday with the murder of an unidentified adult man more than a month earlier.

   The My Lai incident is alleged to have occurred six months after Calley reported to Vietnam as a platoon leader with C Co., 1st Bn., 20th Inf. of the Americal Div.

   Six months later he was home in Florida on leave before returning, voluntarily, to serve again in Vietnam for 11 more months.  During that visit he talked about the memories he brought back with him.

   He told his sister, Mrs. Marian Keesling of Gainesville, Fla., of seeing naked and starving children in the streets" and that had upset him, she said.  "He said so many of them seemed retarded."

   In a letter from Vietnam, Mrs. Keesling said, her brother, told how he had undertaken the care of a little Vietnamese girl.  "He sort of adopted her and kept her fed," she said.  "But one day he came back from several days of maneuvers and she was gone.  He was broken up about that."

   Mrs. Keesling did not say whether the letter was written during her brother's first or second tour of duty in Vietnam.

   While home, Calley also attended a Christmas party with some old chums from Miami, where he grew up.  They were taken, too, by his concern for the ragged, hungry children of Vietnam.

   "He had compassion for other people." said Chuck Queen, a schoolmate, with whom Calley later shared a room.

   Recalling their conversation, Queen said:

   "Rusty said a lot of things went on in Vietnam that would very much upset the average person.  I mean it would really upset you-some of the things that he saw.  Some of the things hat his platoon saw.  Some of the things he and his men had to do.  Not murder.  But you know, the children starving and things like that.

   "I don't think," said Queen, "that unless somebody was putting a gun to his head he would stand and murder anyone or anything.

   William Laws Calley was born in Miami on June 8, 1943, the second of four children and the only boy.  He was an active youngster, "up early and always cheerful," his sister recalled.

   This was the assessment of a friend.  But some of the soldiers who served with Calley said the lieutenant ordered them to kill large numbers of civilians, and participated in the killings himself.

   In an interview broadcast over the Columbia Broadcasting System's radio network, Paul Meadlo of Terre Haute, Ind., said Calley twice ordered him to fire on groups of people rounded up by GIs in My Lai.  Meadlo said he went into the village as a member of Calley's platoon.

   At one point, Meadlo said, he was guarding a group of men, women and children, when Calley came up to him and asked why he hadn't killed them.

   Then Calley "stepped back about 10, 15 feet and he started shooting them.  And he told me to start shooting,"  Meadlo said.

   James R. Bergthold, 22, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., who said he was also in Calley's outfit, said that on another occasion Calley shot an old man for no clear reason.

   "I brought the guy in," Bergthold said,"He was standing in a field all by himself and the lieutenant questioned him and then threw him in a well and shot him in the head.  He never did say why he did it."

   Charles Gruver of Tulsa, Okla., who also said he served in Calley's outfit, said the lieutenant was intensely disliked by his men, because he "did a few unnecessary things."  Gruver refused to say anything more about Calley.

   The family, Mrs. Keesling said, "were all brought up on Bible teachings.  It wasn't overdone-we didn't sit down and read it every day-but it was an important part of our life."

   Rusty Calley seems to have pursued the normal interests of a boy in Miami, he played baseball and football, learned to water ski, joined the Boy Scouts.  According to an associate he still gets a kick out of water skiing.

   He attended Georgia Military academy for a time, then Miami Edison High School.  William Thomas, the dean of boys at Miami Edison, recalls Calley as "a well-mannered, average student with no behavior problems."

   A schoolmate and neighbor of those days, Douglas Stanley, says Calley "was never rowdy and never looked for trouble.  He was kind of searching for something.  He never influenced people in high school.  He was quiet and went along with the group and I think he was a little lonely.

   "He was pretty straight," Stanley said, "not outstanding in anything.  He was always cool, never irrational.  I never saw him lose his temper."

   When Calley was about 10 his father, a salesman of construction equipment, bought a summer home in the lush green hills of the Smokies in Waynesville, N.C., and when young Calley was 21 the family moved there to live.

   Calley never knew Waynesville as home, though.  He went off to Palm Beach Junior College where he eventually flunked out - scholastic records show two Cs, a D and four Fs-- and moved back to Miami where he shared an apartment with Chuck Queen.

   He got a job in 1964 with the Florida East Coast Railroad and soon became a conductor.

   "He was just about the youngest conductor we ever had," recalled Robert F. Stack, the railway's terminal superintendent.  "He was real small-not over 130 pounds-but a hard worker.  I'd like to have him back."

   Calley is still a small man.  He stands about five feet three, still weighs about 130, though he dropped down to about 120 while in Vietnam.  He has sandy blond hair and keeps it cut short at the sides.

   Eventually Calley left Miami.  "Rusty was always looking for something," said Douglas Stanley.  He went to Palm Beach where he had attended school and took a job as a bellhop, later went to Lake Worth and washed dishes in a restaurant.  Then he drifted westward.  He became a salesman, an appraiser for an insurance company in New Orleans, still essentially rootless.

   On July 26, 1966, Calley enlisted in the Army at an induction center in Albuquerque, N.M.  That same year, his mother died.

   Calley applied for officer candidate school and on March 26, 1967, began the course in class No. 51 at Ft. Benning, Ga.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant in a class of 162 men on Sept. 7.  "There was nothing unusual about him," said a fellow member of the class, Capt. Barry J. Gardner."  He was just another student."

   Fresh out of OCS, Calley shipped over to Vietnam with the Americal Division.  He did not write home much, but in one letter to his sister told of staying out "50" days in the heat, mud and grass with only K-rations to eat."  He asked her to send him something tasty, some sardines and cheese.

   In July 1968, four months after the alleged massacre at My Lai, Calley was transferred to headquarters company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, 198th Brigade, the outfit he was with when he came home on leave.

   "When Rusty showed up at that Christmas party," said Rick Smith the host of the party and an old chum, "I told him we all thought he was dead.  Everybody went crazy."  Smith hadn't heard from Rusty in years.

   A number of Calley's former friends-Smith, Queen, Stanley--said they had the notion that Calley "was always looking for his niche," as Queen put it, and "found his niche in the Army," as Stanley opined.

   "I don't think he was emotionally caught up in the war," said Stanley, "but felt rather he was a soldier doing his duty.  He half-heartedly believed in the war but never mentioned the Vietnamese people in our talks.  He mentioned that there were some aspects of the war that he didn't particularly care for but never anything specific."

   When Calley went back to Vietnam he joined Company G of the Americal Division's 75th Infantry Ranger Battalion.  On the day before he was to be discharged from the outfit, and the Army, he was accused in the alleged My Lai massacre.

   His record shows that Calley did not serve without distinction.  He was wounded, awarded the Purple Heart, and won two Bronze Star medals.

   He was sent back to Ft. Benning and given a job -- or, more precisely, "made available" - in the office of the deputy post commander, Col. Talton W. Long.

   H sits at a desk in Building 35 in Long's outer office.  Only a secretary and the colonel's driver share the room.

   "Lt. Calley was made available to assist me in such ways as he could," Long said.  "Most things are done on a project basis."  One project involves helping to assemble an Infantry museum at the post; another involved working up a new parking arrangement for Building 35.

   Col. Long seems rather fond of Calley.

  "I would say, based on my experience with Lt. Calley and the nature of the office and the things he's doing for me," said long, "that he is intelligent, bright, a thoroughly capable young officer.

  "He is mature in his judgment.  He's certainly no extrovert or hyperegoist.  Nor is he, on the other hand, a phlegmatic introvert.  A normal young man - a man that knows what he's about.  He's well aware of the world about him."

   Calley lives at the Bachelor Officers Quarters across the street.  He enjoys reading, music, dancing, chess.  He keeps in shape by jogging.

   About three weeks ago Calley asked for a week's leave.  Long approved, and Calley drove his red Volkswagen home to Miami.  He found his father and younger sister Dawn, living in a mobile home near Hialeah.  His father was ill with diabetes.

   "He felt he had to get home and talk to his father, "Col. Long said.  "To reassure him".


  FT. BENNING, Ga (AP) - The Army filed another murder charge Saturday against Lt. William L. Calley, Jr., already facing court-martial on charges of killing 109 civilians at the South Vietnamese village of My Lai in 1968.

  The new allegation charges Calley with the murder of  a man in Quang Ngai Province "in an incident that preceded the alleged My Lai incident by approximately one and one half months," Ft. Benning information officer John Gause announced.

   No details of the Quang Ngai killing were given.  Gause said Maj. Gen. Orwin C. Talbott, commanding general at Ft. Benning, had named Lt. Col. Mack H. Hopper of the infantry School as investigating officer for the additional charge of premeditated murder.

   "Evidence leading to the charge of murder was developed in the investigation by the Army of the alleged My Lai incident,"  Gause said, "The allegation charges Lt. Calley with the murder of one adult male."

   Gause said that Hopper, upon completion of his investigation, will recommend whether the newest charge should go to trial.

Photo caption- Aerial View of Part of My Lai Hamlet in South Vietnam.

02Dec69-My Lai 'War Act.' Thieu Ends Probes

   Compiled from UPI and AP

   SAIGON - President Nguyen Van Thieu has ruled the alleged massacre at My Lai hamlet was and act of war and has refused to conduct a new investigation as requested by his vice president, government spokesmen said Sunday.

   In Columbus, Ohio, meanwhile, Atty. F. Lee Bailey said Sunday he had entered the My Lai case in behalf of Army Capt. Ernest Medina and wanted Medina to go on television to tell his story.

   Medina, a native of Springer, N.M. was the commander of C. Co., 1st Bn., 20th Inf., 11th Light ...

02Dec69-More 'Pinkville' Probes Likely in U.S., Vietnam

   Compiled from AP and UPI

   Further investigations into the alleged massacre last year at My Lai, South Vietnam, appeared likely Sunday.

   Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, D-Maine, said in London that congressional committees and a possible special commission should be established to investigate the incident.

    "We need to know a great deal more about Pinkville (My Lai)," Muskie told reporters.  "We need to know what if any coverups were made and we need to know who was responsible or connected in any way in covering it up."

   It was learned authoritatively in Saigon that Sen. Tran Van Don, a leader of the political opposition in South Vietnam, would conduct an inquiry into the case despite a statement by President Nguyen Van Thieu that there will be no new investigation and that the alleged massacre was an act of war.

   Reports were made over the weekend, meanwhile, of war prisoners being thrown from helicopters.

    The Chicago Sun-Times printed photographs allegedly showing a prisoner being dropped to his death from a U.S. Army helicopter.

   The pictures supposedly were taken by a helicopter pilot flying escort for the craft from which the prisoner was dropped.  They were supplied on paper by Alan Jones, 22, Oak Forest, Ill., a - schoolteacher, who said he had known the pilot for some time.

   Jones said the pictures were mailed to his parents by the photographer.  Neither Jones nor his parents would identify him.

   A letter accompanying the photographs said the helicopter had picked up three prisoners.  It went on:  "This guy wouldn't talk, so out he went.  Funny the other two didn't stop talking after that....."

   The Minneapolis Star, meanwhile, reported that Fred Sedahl, a former Navy hospital corpsman from Brainerd, Minn., told the Star a South Vietnamese interpreter had thrown a Viet Cong prisoner of a helicopter during a flight to a prison camp.

   There was no indications as to whether the two newspaper reports referred to the same incident.   Sedahl said the incident he discussed occurred in December 1965.  It was reported, but not confirmed, that the incident mentioned in the Sun-Times

took place this year.

   The Star said Sedahl told them he based his report on conversations with Marines who were in the helicopter when the Viet Cong was thrown out.

   Sedahl said the Marines told him the interpreter-tentatively identified as Nuyn Do Trac, assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, Da Nang, asked the prisoner "Where are the Viet Cong?"

   "When there was no answer," Sedahl said the Marines related, "the interpreter threw him out the door of the helicopter, then turned to the other two prisoners and began questioning them."

   In another development, the Los Angeles Times said in a Washington-datelined story Saturday a warrant officer helicopter pilot who was attempting a wounded 2-year-old child from My Lai was confronted by an armed American officer who tried to stop him.

   The story said the pilot, flying support for ground troops saw 100 to 150 civilian bodies and landed his helicopter.

   As he picked up the child the story said the pilot was faced by a rifle-brandishing officer who told him to leave the child and go.  The pilot told his machine gunner to train his sights on the officer and proceeded to evacuate the child anyway.   

03Dec69-Nurses Lend a Healing Hand to Viet Patients


   CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special) - Lt. Phyllis Breen, New Albany, Ind., came to Vietnam to treat American soldiers.  Today she is caring for some 40 Vietnamese patients - and loving it.

   "It's a real challenge," she said as she measured a 12-year-old youngster's temperature in the Vietnamese ward of the 27th Surgical Hospital at the Americal Div. base camp here.

   The U.S. Army hospital has two air conditioned quonset huts for Vietnamese patients-women and men, children and adults, soldiers and civilians --brought to the hospital on an emergency basis.

   Their ailments include severe shrapnel wounds inflicted by Communists mines and booby traps, gunshot wounds and complications preventing natural child birth.  The patient's ages range from only a few hours to the very elderly.

   "I like working with the Vietnamese," said Lt. Breen.  "This is a hard ward to work in and you must like it to do it well."

   One of the things that makes the ward difficult for the five American nurses is the language barrier.  Despite the use of the Vietnamese aides and interpreters the nurses still have to depend on sign language at times.

   In addition, the Vietnamese often are confused and afraid when suddenly exposed to a modern hospital ward with its equipment and Western techniques.

   First Lt. Cheryl Leonard, Pontiac, Ill., who had been a nurse in the ward for several months explained that the prime objective is to help the Vietnamese help themselves while in the ward.

   "They have lacked pas t medical attention," she said, "so when they are ill or in pain they do not know that they can ask for relief.  We encourage them as much as we can but it's a big change for them."

   "These people are often afraid when they first come into the ward," said 1st Lt. Ruth LaChance, Bangor, Maine, the ward's head nurse.  "The first time they take a shower, for instance, they are scared of the water.  But after the first time you can't get them out."

   All of the nurses are volunteers and none regrets having made the choice.

   "I miss working with our guys sometimes - you know, kidding around with them a little.  You can communicate better with them," explained Lt. Breen, a graduate of the Indiana University School of Nursing.

   Lt. LaChance added, "I could have refused it (working in the Vietnamese ward) but I didn't and I don't regret the decision."

   Along with the problems (there also are rewards - the youngster who has recovered from shrapnel wounds and will go home soon, the relieved mother who had just given birth by cesarean section, the old man who will live a few days longer because of a vital operation.

   "The ward here is a physical example of what we can do to help these people in time of their graves need.  We have been able to save the lives of many Vietnamese civilians who otherwise might have died had they not received prompt medical care," explained Lt. Col Frances Vandiver, Anderson, S.C., chief nurse at the 27th Surgical Hospital.

   Not only does the ward treat Vietnamese patients but it provides a medium of instruction for Vietnamese to learn the rudimentary facts of caring for the ill through the extensive use of interpreters and Vietnamese aides.

   "One of the most significant aspects of this ward is the fact that the Vietnamese  (aides and interpreters) are working closely with our nurses helping each other," explained Maj. Alton F. Gross, commander of the 27th Surgical Hospital.

   For the youngsters and adults in the Vietnamese ward - many of them innocent onlookers caught up in the agonies of the war-the two air conditioned quonset huts and the gentle hands of five American nurses mean more than that.  

   They mean  a chance for survival.

07Dec69-Marines' Number Didn't Come Up.

  An Hoa Survives Jeane Dixon's Doom Prediction


  AN HOA, Vietnam - Jeane Dixon, the prophetess doesn't have a very good intelligence branch.

  It was widely rumored at this marine base camp, 25 miles southwest of Da nang, that Miss Dixon had predicted An Hoa would be "overrun" on Dec 1-which was Monday.  All Marines with "five" in their serial number would get wounded and all those with a "7" would get killed, the rumors said.

   It didn't happen.

   The Marines of the 5th Regt. here didn't take the whole thing seriously of course, but Miss Dixon's prediction was something to talk about.

   "I've got two "5's" in my number and I am really concerned" said one Leatherneck with a straight face, "but I was in California when it was supposed to sink and it didn't.  It rained a lot though."

   An Hoa, all the same, is in the eye of a storm - the action swirling around the combat base but rarely touching it.

   The commander of the 5th Marines, Col. Noble L. Beck, grinned at the mention of Miss Dixon then said, "Well, the enemy has the capability of hitting us but they'll be sorry.  We've refurbished our defense because we're a lucrative target."

   In one "soft spot" in the defenses of this wishbone-shaped base, Beck ordered the construction of "an illuminated football field suitable for night football.

   Saffers, he said, "are good, but I defy them to come across that field."

   Then he added seriously, "we do not play football out there."

   Intelligence sources do point to the possibility of an enemy attack an An Hoa.  Prisoners taken said their units - a North Vietnamese regiment, two sapper battalions, and a rocket artillery battalion-have been ordered to attack in "Zone B" - which includes An Hoa-in the near future.

   "But," said these sources, "we think they are so far off balance now, they'll be lucky if they get anywhere."

   Beck said he doubted any enemy offensive will be "as omnipotent as the NVA would like to think.  They are hunting for chow, they are hunting for replacements.  They're badly beaten both physically and mentally.

   The intelligence sources said the enemy soldiers are down to two meals a day- and half a can or can of rice daily, with no meat, fish or fowl.

   He also said that the enemy has "very little or very inadequate" medica treatment, and they even go so far as burying alive the severely wounded or leaving them where they know the Marines will find them.

   "If  they could concentrate on combat activity," the sources said, "they would be better off.  As it its, we've been catching their units piecemeal while trying to gather rice.

   An Hoa is on the edge of an 11-by-13 kilometer chunk of somewhat flat country called "Arizona Territory."

   Arizona has been the scene of most of the action around here for a month because it is one of the enemy's main rice supply areas.  So Arizona is where most of the enemy has been killed.

   In a nine-day sweep in Arizona the first week of November, a Marine battalion killed 167 enemy-all of whom, said intelligence sources, were on rice-hunt missions.

   The Marines are quite proud of the accomplishment of the 1st Bn. which in a 35-day operation killed 150 enemy-with no Marines killed and not one case of an immersion foot or malaria.

   "That battalion," said Beck, "came out of there more combat ready then when they went in."

   By the end of November the 5th Marines had killed 572 enemy-about two-thirds of them NVA-and captured 243 prisoners,including Hoi Chanhs and detainees.  The number of enemy killed was half of what the entire 1st Marine Div. accounted for that month.

   "The enemy now considers rice collection missions damn near suicidal.," said the intelligence sources.

   "They don't have the strength to sustain any kind of attack.  They can some out and shoot their wad one day and not rally accomplish anything."

   So An Hoa, with a persistent but hungry enemy around it, is still here, and the Marines in continuous small unit contact, keeps killing them.

   The fighting in Arizona Territory can be something of a spectacle  to those Marines living here.  During some noon time air strikes Monday a few Marines climbed on top of bunkers and hootches to watch jets rip into Arizona and also catch the first sunshine in two weeks.

   So the Marines joke about Miss Dixon's prediction-but everybody walking outside, through An Hoa's sticky  red mud, still wears flak jackets and "hard hats."

   "Anyway," said one Marine," "my serial number doesn't have a five or a seven int it.  I'm safe."

07Dec69-VC Tax Collectors Seek Rice, Find Only Bullets


   LZ HAWK HILL, Vietnam (Special) - Most people talk about taxes being too high, but a squad of Americal Div. infantrymen decided to do something about it.

   D. Co. - part of the 196th Inf. Bde's 2nd Bn., 1st Inf. - received some interesting news.  The company's interpreter said that local Viet Cong working four miles west of Tam Ky had been moving into one of the villages and expropriating recently harvested rice.  A find of 3,000 pounds of rice in enemy caches further convinced the men of D Co. that the VC were extorting rice from the villagers.

   "We expected them to move into the village that night," said Pfc Oscar Truitt, Atlantic City, N.J.  The soldiers set up an ambush on a brushy knoll overlooking the main route into the village and waited for the tax collectors to appear.

   A lone VC carrying an AK47 rifle strolled into view and passed right b.  "We didn't want to blow the ambush," said St. Sgt Steven Shaeffer, Kelley, Iowa,  "just for one man."

   Then came the main force.

   "There were 25 of them," said S., Sgt. Shaeffer.  "We could see them real well, because the moon was up."

   The enemy was 25 meters away when the crack of an M14 triggered the ambush.  Machinegun and rifle fire brought down four VC Six more were wounded.

   "About three-fourths were armed, and the rest were prepared to carry away the rice," said Shaeffer.  But the soldiers of Delta Company made the VC tax collectors go away.

07Dec69-How Could a Massacre Happen?

  Allegations that American GIs massacred South Vietnamese civilians during a raid on a village complex last year have stunned the United STates.  How could it happen? is the most frequently asked question.  In the following analysis, John T. Wheeler, who reported the war in Vietnam for the Associated Press for several years, gives an insight into the condition of a strange war in which anything can happen.

                          By JOHN T. WHEELER

                       Associated Press Writer

   To try to understand the alleged massacre by American GIs of civilians at My Lai it is necessary also to understand the atmosphere of a war which has led many U.S. fighting men to feel they are as much at war against Vietnam as for it.

   While the communiques speak of battles involving companies and battalions-the clash of professional soldiers doing their grim job - each GI carries with him the certain knowledge that in any village there may be men, women, and even children who are also the enemy, waiting for the time and place to attack him.

   Brutality, and indifference to human life, are commonplace in Vietnam.   Even the disfigurement of dead GIs is common.

   In Vietnam the killing of civilians was a practice established by the Viet Cong as a major part of the war long before the first U.S. ground troops were committed in March 1965.

   By official count, more than 20,000 civilians had been murdered by the time the enemy executions aimed at so thoroughly terrifying the countryside that none would resist.  The total now is more than 3,000 killed by the enemy in Hue when they held part of that city for 2 1/2 weeks.  At Hue, the victims were predominantly civilians of all ages.  Many were killed simply by tying their hands behind their backs, shoving them into a trench and burying them alive.

   It was into this conflict that the American troops were plunged.  They had been told to kill the Viet Cong who were bad and woo the peasant who only aided the enemy because he had no choice.  Given a chance, the official line went, Vietnam wanted to free and democratic just like America.

   But the GIs found a war of sundered families, and divided allegiances to any regime, either Viet Cong or Saigon.

   The infantry came to know that the farmer who might be a friend by day, could become a guerilla by night who killed just as surely and just as ruthlessly as..........

  2 Lawyers Named


   WASHINGTON (AP) - Two New York lawyers were assigned Friday to an Army probe of investigative aspects of the alleged My Lai massacre while the only man charged in the case underwent Pentagon questioning.

    First Lt. William L. Calley Jr., accused of murdering 109 Vietnamese civilians, arrived tight-lipped at the Pentagon where the Army hearing is being held.

   The Army panel is seeking to learn whether field officers tried to cover up any mass killings in their initial investigation shortly after the March 1968 My Lai operation.

   The New York attorneys, Robert MacCrate and Jerome K. Walsh Jr., were named to add a nonmilitary viewpoint to the work of a group headed by Lt. Gen. William R. Peers.

   A spokesman said Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor wanted the outside counsel to insure "objectivity and impartiality" to the Peers investigation, separate from the over-all criminal probe of My Lai.

   Calley was flown in from Ft. Benning, Ga., where he awaits court-martial early next year.

   Accompanied by his military lawyer, Maj. Kenneth A Raby, the young lieutenant was hustled into the Pentagon and down to the Army's secret operations center shortly after noon.

   Newsmen tried to ask Calley questions but he looked straight ahead and said nothing.

   Calley was leader of a platoon which went into My Lai as part of a company commanded by Capt. Ernest Medina.

   Medina told reporters Thursday he neither ordered a massacre nor saw nor heard of one.

   A brigade investigation after the My Lai operation concluded that only a few inadvertent civilian deaths occurred and that............

08Dec69-No Excuse for Slaying Innocent Civilian: Westy

    Compiled from AP and UPI

   FORT CAMPBELL, Ky -An unlawful order from a superior "does not excuse or justify one of our soldiers in killing an innocent" civilian, said Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the U.S. Army chief of staff.

   At a news conference here Friday, Westmoreland added:

   "It is an offense for a soldier to fail to carry out a lawful order.  To shoot an unarmed civilian is not following a lawful order."

   The general, who formerly commanded U.S. troops in Vietnam, urged Americans not to rush into judgement of soldiers accused in connection with the alleged massacre of civilians at My Lai in South Vietnam.

   "I can assure you the Army is not attempting and will not attempt to hide anything," Westmoreland stated.

   "Before we make known facts, we must get facts.  We will continue to pursue our investigation, and any trials that may result, with diligence, thoroughness and full respect for the due-process rights of any accused.

   Westmoreland said a special investigating team will be sent to Song My soon.

   "A team from the Pentagon will be visiting Vietnam in order to accumulate all the information available concerning the massacre," the former commander of forces in Vietnam said.

   Westmoreland said the investigation would include interrogation of all witnesses to the alleged murders of 109 Vietnamese civilians in the village.

08Dec69-Coverup Charge Quiz Starts

   WASHINGTON (UPI) - Army investigators secretly interrogated two officers at the Pentagon Saturday in their attempt to determine, whether the original field inquiry into the alleged My Lai massacre was a whitewash.

   In a session that began at 9 a.m. EST, the special board heard testimony from Capt Eugene M. Kotouc, who was intelligence officer for the task force that carried out the sweep of Song My village March 16, 1968, the day of the reported mass slaying of South Vietnamese civilians.

   The board also summoned Lt. Col. David C. Gavin, who was an adviser to the Son Thinh district government at the time.

   Of the 26 soldiers or former servicemen under investigation, only one, Lt. William L. Calley Jr., a platoon leader during  the My Lai sweep, has been formally charged and ordered court-martialed in the case.

   In Saigon, meanwhile, a U.S. spokesman said American field commanders are "re-emphasizing" directives to their troops about treatment of civilians in the war.  He denied any new orders had been issued as a result of the My Lai incident.

   "There are standing directives regarding handling of civilian personnel" which all arriving servicemen are informed of, the spokesman said.  "These are being re-emphasized to people in the field."

08Dec69-'Massacre' Letter Missed Its Mark

   WASHINGTON (AP) - The writer of the letter that led to multiple investigations of the alleged massacre of civilians at My Lai says it brought no response from 16 of 23 Capitol Hill offices to which he mailed it.

   Sixteen of the 23 offices deny receiving it.  But Ronald Ridenhour says he sent the communication by registered mail to three of these 16 and has signed receipts showing the letter was received in each office.

   He identified these three addresses as Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., Eugene J. McCarthy, D-Minn., and J.W. Fulbright, D-Ark.

   Ridenhour said in an interview that because of the expense he registered only three of the letters sent to members of Congress.  He said he selected these three senators because all have been opponents  of the war.

   The three-page letter from the 23-year-old college student and Vietnam veteran was dated March 29, 1969, and gave his account of what he called "dark and bloody" events which he said had occurred a year earlier at a place the GIs knew as Pinkville.

   Spokesmen for Kennedy and McCarthy say their offices have no record of the letters.  An aide to Fulbright said "such a letter could have been received" and passed on to the Foreign Relations Committee.

   The offices of seven House and Senate members said they  learned of the incident from Ridenhour the first week in April and sent the information on to the Pentagon or other officials for investigation-seven months before the incident was to make headlines around the world.

   "If the guy hadn't been from Arizona, we might not have paid any attention to it, "said the office of Republican Barry Goldwater, "Initially, we thought the guy just may have been disgruntled, but the letter was intelligently written and the charges so extraordinary and serious, we referred it to the Pentagon.

   Some congressional offices average well over a thousand letters a week, and mimeographed letters received little attention.  Ridenhour's letter was mimeographed and addressed simply to "The Congress of the United STates."  But each envelope was addressed to the specific House or Senate office.

   Two of the first to act were Reps. Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz., and L. Mendel Rivers, D-S.C., chairman of the House ARmed Services Committee.

Udall wrote Rivers and Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird on April 4, enclosing copies of the Ridenhour letter received that day.  Rivers who also got a letter from Ridenhour, asked the Pentagon for an investigation on April 7.

   Sen. Edward W. Brooke, R-Mass., also received the letter and referred it to the Army for investigation.  And Rep. John Rhodes, R-Ariz., who represents Phoenix where Ridenhour's parents live, asked for an investigation.

08Dec69-Green Christmas for Waifs

   Chu Lai, Vietnam (UPI) - The Binh Son Orphanage, a Roman Catholic institution for Vietnamese war orphans, will get a $400 Christmas present from the men of the 5th Bn. of the Americal's 46th Inf.

   The 47,200 Vietnamese piasters will bring to nearly 200,000 piasters the donation by men of the battalion to the orphanage 10 miles southeast of Chu Lai and 325 miles northeast of Saigon.

   "The children are poor and have the added disadvantage of having no parents so anything I can do to help them, I will "Sgt. William T. O'Brian, St. Paul, Minn., said.

   To show their appreciation to the men of the battalion, classes were suspended at the orphanage one day this week and the children staged a show of native Vietnamese folk dances for the soldiers.

   Sister Giselle, one of the nuns at the orphanage, said "We are very glad to see a service group working with tremendous success in helping the poor, forgotten and needy of this war-torn country."

09Dec69-Findings On My Lai Don't Jibe

   SAIGON (UPI) - A Vietnamese representative conducting an official investigation into the alleged My Lai massacre said Sunday he was not convinced the Americans were responsible.

   Nguyen Van An, a deputy in the lower house of representatives, asserted he had heard many conflicting statements from villagers claiming to be survivors of the alleged massacre.

   "There are not enough facts," the deputy said, "for us to say who was the author of the alleged massacre.  I heard many conflicting stories.  It is difficult to say who is responsible.

   An headed a five-man fact-finding team from the lower house which spent three days last week at Song My village where the investigation is taking place.  U.S. infantrymen are accused of murdering from 109 to 567 civilians at My Lai on March 16, 1968.

   A Vietnamese senator, Tran Van Don, undertook his own investigation but said after visiting the village last week that he thought the number of civilians killed had been exaggerated.

   An is part of the pro-government bloc in the lower house.

09Dec69-.......Twenty mortar shells hit the Marine's Marble Mountain air facility near Da Nang,...........

??Dec69-House Quiz Ends 3rd Day Probe Finds No 'Massacre' Proof

    Photo Caption - Rep L. Mendel Rivers (right) and Rep. Leslie Arends look over a map of the My Lai region of Vietnam with CWO Hugh Thompson (B/123rd Avn Bn OH-23 pilot) helicopter pilot who testified before the probers (AP).

   WASHINGTON (AP) - In three days of hearings, Rep. L. Mendel Rivers, D-S.C., said Wednesday, a House investigating subcommittee has heard nothing to convince it that U.S. servicemen engaged in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai.

   Rivers, who heads both the House Armed Services Committee and the investigating subcommittee, in effect echoed a Tuesday statement that the group hasn't "gotten to the point" of saying there was a massacre.

   The chairman said that Hugh Thompson Jr., the helicopter who has been reported to have radioed headquarters that civilians were being killed, told the subcommittee Wednesday that he had seen dead bodies but that he did not see soldiers shooting civilians.

   "He didn't give us any information," Rivers said, "that would lead us to believe anybody committed a massacre at My Lai."

   Asked about press reports that Thompson had reported unnecessary killings to headquarters, Rivers replied: "He didn't report that to us this morning."

   Thompson, the day's only witness at the closed hearing, left the committee room without talking to newsmen.

   Capt. Ernest L. Medina, who was commanding officer of the Army company involved in the 1968 incident said he does not know whether any of the men under his command perpetrated a massacre.

   Medina talked with newsmen outside the hearing room, where he has been waiting to testify for two days.

   "If the allegations in the instance are true," he said, "it will reflect on the Army and on the uniform I am proud to be wearing."

   He said last week that he did not see any slaughter at My Lai, none was reported to him and "I did not order any massacre at My Lai."

   In a related development, a New York lawyer working with Pentagon officials studying the incident said he doesn't believe the Army is now engaged in a cover-up.

   "I do not see evidence at any place at this time of a whitewash," Robert MacCrate told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

   MacCrate made it clear, however, that he was discussing the effort of the Army at this time to find out whether lower echelon officers in Vietnam tried to hush up the incident, and not the original My Lai investigation.

   That 1968 investigation concluded that no massacre had occurred and that no American soldiers needed to be disciplined.  The report however, reached only the division level in Vietnam and, according to the Pentagon, never got to headquarters in Saigon or the Pentagon.

15Dec69-Near My Lai 52 NVA Die in Battle With Americal Troops

   SAIGON--Americal Div. troops killed 52 Communist soldiers Saturday at a North Vietnamese base camp just two miles south of My Lai hamlet where other Americal troops are alleged to have massacred South Vietnamese civilians in March of 1968.

   Three Americans were wounded in the five-hour battle Saturday, Stars and Stripes Vietnam bureau chief Pat Luminello reported from Chu Lai.  The fight was touched off when an air cavalry light observation spotted an NVA soldier burning documents.  The chopper killed the Communist then landed to recover the papers.  

   The tiny chopper was hit with 10 rounds of small arms fire on the ground, but managed to get away and call in artillery fire.  

   A ground team from the Air Cav. unit was then inserted and spotted an estimated company of North Vietnamese in groups of three to five in a tree line near the flat coastal area.

   A second cavalry unit operating with armored personnel carriers nearby saw fighting and entered the battle.  The commander of the unit, Capt. David L. Miller, said, "as I started approaching the area I cam across the enemy clad in green shirts and black pants.  We caught them by surprise.  We came in behind them."

   First Lt. Ralph S. LaFever said, "we searched the area later and found out it was an NVA base camp.  We found small hootches and a bunker complex."  Spokesmen said 10 enemy weapons were also captured.

   Meanwhile ...............

15Dec69-Defense Charges Bias  Calley May Seek Civilian Jury Trial

   SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Defense Attorney George Latimer indicated Friday that a civilian jury trial may be sought for Army Lt. William L. Calley jr., who is charged with slaying more than 100 in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai.

   "He should be able to, and there may be some arguments made in this case that he's entitled to a jury trial and not to be tried by the military," Latimer said in a speech.  "But that's something that hasn't been reached and what will happen I don't know."

   "This man cannot have a fair trial in the military now," Latimer added.

   Lattimer said President Nixon, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird and ARmy Secretary Stanley Resor all have made statements prejudicial to the case and he noted that under the military justice system Nixon and Resor would have to personally review a death sentence for Calley.

   Lattimer noted that Calley is to be tried by a board of Army officers and indicated such a board might be swayed against Calley "when the President of the United States says the act is abhorrent, we've go to defend the honor of our country and we've got to show these people we can't do these things."

17Dec69-Gen. Koster Called In My Lai Probe

   WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army summoned Maj. Gen. Samuel W. Koster for questioning Monday about the original investigation into the alleged My Lai massacre.  The investigation was conducted when Koster commanded the Americal Division in Vietnam.

   Koster, now superintendent of the military academy at West Point, headed the division in 1968 when one of its companies conducted the now-controversial sweep through the Vietnamese hamlet.

   The operation was subsequently investigated by field officers checking out reports that large numbers of civilian casualties had occurred, but the officers stated they had found no massacre.

   This original report went to the Americal Division headquarters but no higher.

    Koster was called to appear before a special Army inquiry trying to find out among other things why the 1968 report was not forwarded from his division level to higher authority.

   Others to appear before the panel Monday as it resumed its meeting behind closed doors in the Pentagon were Staff Sgt. L. G. Bacon, a squad leader in one of the companies which participated in the My Lai operation, and Capt. Stephen J. Gamble, who commanded an artillery battery which supported the operation.

   The Pentagon also said Gen William C. Westmoreland, Army chief of staff, will meet with Rep. F. Edward Hebert, D-La. to discuss a separate congressional inquiry of the alleged massacre.

   A Pentagon spokesman said Westmoreland was conferring with Herbert to find out what the congressional panel wants and how it plans to proceed with its investigation.

17Dec69-34 Communists Killed GIs Rout Reds in Dragon Valley Clash

   S&S Vietnam Bureau

   SAIGON - Americal Div. infantry and armor bolstered by helicopter gunships killed 34 Reds Sunday in a series of clashes through the hills 30 miles south of Da Nang, a U.S. Army spokesman said.

   Five Americans were wounded according to a spokesman for the U.S. high command.

   Ten Viet Cong were killed after running head-on into Americal infantrymen and armored cavalrymen crossing "Dragon Valley" 12 miles west of Tam Ky.  After opening up on the GIs with recoilless rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, the Communists were quickly routed when the ground troops called in "Blue Ghost" gunships and artillery strikes.

   Later, armored cavalrymen in the same area killed another 10 reds in scattered actions and infantrymen moved unopposed into a 150-bed enemy hospital.


17Dec69-NVA Beaten in Quang Nam - CO


    S&S Staff Correspondent

   DA NANG, Vietnam - The commander of the 1st Marine Div. for the past year says the North Vietnamese have been "roundly defeated" in Quang Nam Province around Da Nang and that he expects only "some sort of spasms" by the enemy in the next few weeks.

    Maj. Gen Ormond R. Simpson made the comments shortly before surrendering command of the 33,000-man division to Maj. Gen. Edwin B. Wheeler.