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Hugh Thompson, Jr. - Great American Soldier

Early morning, March 16, 1968. US Army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr. from Stone Mountain, Georgia, a former Boy Scout and the son of a WWII veteran, was flying recon support for a US Army infantry assault on a hamlet known as My Lai in South Vietnam. Encountering no enemy fire, Thompson's crew captured two possible Vietcong, flew them back to base and refueled. Returning to My Lai, Thompson and his men, crew chief Glenn Andreotta from St. Louis and door-gunner Larry Colburn from Washington state wereflying back and forth, reconning in front and in the rear, and it didn't take very long until "we started noticing the large number of bodies everywhere." Hovering closer over an irrigation ditch, they watched Capt. Ernest Medina kick a woman lying on the ground, then shoot her. Seeing what looked to be many more women and children lined up dead in the ditch, Thompson radioed his accompanying gunships, knowing his transmission would be monitored: "It looks to me like there's an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain't right about this. There's bodies everywhere. There's a ditch full of bodies that we saw. There's something wrong here."

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