Glen noted that some American troops “for mere pleasure, fire indiscriminately into Vietnamese homes and, without provocation or justification, shoot at the people themselves,” and that “severe beatings and torture at knife point are usual means of questioning captives.” He ended by asking General Abrams to implement the codes of the Geneva Conventions. Abrams passed Glen’s letter on to Major Colin Powell (future Secretary of State), who never interviewed Glen and dismissed the allegations as overly broad and without documentation.
The American massacre of civilians at My Lai on March 16, 1968, was part of the U.S. counteroffensive following Tet. The area in which the My Lai village was located was labeled “Pinkville” and a U.S. unit known as Charlie company – led by Captain Ernest Medina, with 2nd Lt. William Calley commanding the First Platoon – treated it as a free-fire zone, killing some 500 unarmed men, women, children, and infants. A number of women were raped as well. Not all soldiers participated in the murders; one broke down and cried; another shot animals instead. Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot surveying the scene from above, spotted the bodies of men, women and children strewn over the landscape. Realizing that a massacre was taking place, he landed his chopper and rescued ten civilians while ordering his crew chief to shoot any American soldiers who opened fire on the civilians. On the same day, another U.S. unit, Bravo company, murdered some 90 civilians in the village of My Khe, two kilometers to the east. These massacres were not acknowledged by military authorities at the time. The task force commander overseeing operations wrote in his after-action report that the day’s maneuvers were “well planned, well-executed, and successful.”
At UNLV, Troup became the captain of the swim team and was the 2016 Mountain West champion in 100-meter freestyle. The demands of being a competitive athlete and a student are well-documented, but for Troup, the structure it brought to her life was welcome.
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Whether or not Captain Herrick knew about the South Vietnamese commando raids, the administration knew very well that the North Vietnamese attack on the Maddox was provoked by these raids. At a National Security Council meeting in which the events of August 2 were reviewed, CIA director John McCone explained that the North Vietnamese “are reacting defensively to our attacks on the off-shore islands. They are responding out of pride and on the basis of defense considerations.” That understanding was never shared with the public. The U.S. had thrown the first punch and North Vietnam had punched back, without effect; but the public was led to believe that North Vietnam had attacked the strongest nation on earth without provocation.