HistoryMilitary Life

A History of the My Lai Massacre

The My Lai Massacre was the murdering of over five-hundred unarmed, Vietnamese civilians by the 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) during the Vietnam War. This event took place on March 16, 1968 and is known as one the most immoral actions ever committed by the United States Military.

Read on to learn more about this atrocity, the lives that we’re lost and the punishment to those responsible.


My Lai is small city in the Quang Ngai province of Vietnam — a region that was strongly associated with the communist National Liberation Front during the Vietnam War. An American platoon was sent to the region in search of Viet Cong guerrillas in the city of Son My but passed through the city of My Lai on the way.

The Massacre

When American Soldiers arrived in My Lai, they found hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians — including women, young children and elderly people — that they brutally murdered and raped.

NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot
My Lai villagers during the massacre
Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai Massacre — sourced by commons.wikimedia.org

Michael Bernhardt, a Private First Class during the Vietnam War, was a witness to the massacre and described what he saw in the following passage: “I walked up and saw these guys doing strange things… setting fire to the hootches and huts and waiting for people to come out and then shooting them up… going into the hootches and shooting them up … gathering people in groups and shooting them… As I walked in you could see piles of people all through the village… They were gathered up into large groups. I saw them shoot an M79 into a group of people who were still alive. But it was mostly done with a machine gun. They were shooting women and children just like anybody else. We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons. We had no casualties. It was just like any other Vietnamese village – old papa-sans, women and kids. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember seeing one military-age male in the entire place, dead or alive.”

William L. Calley

William L. Calley — previously and ironically nicknamed “sweetheart” for his poor leadership skills — was one of the leaders during the My Lai Massacre and was the only man to be found guilty of a crime. When asked about his actions, Calley said “There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai… I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.”

Final Remarks

The heinousness that became known as the My Lai Massacre was covered up and hidden from the public for over a year before it was exposed and became known to the world.

At US Patriot Tactical, we know America’s military and we know this isn’t what it stands for. We look at this event with a heavy heart and honor the lives of the My Lai civilians that were wrongfully murdered and mistreated during the My Lai Massacre.


NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot

Related Articles

Back to top button