1LT Tran Ngoc Tan's Letter to Province Chief.
April 11, 1968

Comments: In his follow-up letter, Lt. Tan states flatly that the massacre occurred. Much of his information had been supplied by members of the VCI (the NLF shadow government). What is also interesting to note in this letter is the mention of a significant number of guerillas and self-defence troops listed as wounded. See also Tan's earlier letter of March 28.

For further reading on this issue, see Lt. Gen. W. R. Peers. The My Lai Inquiry. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979; Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim. Four Hours in My Lai. New York: Viking, 1992.

- John Tegtmeier

Son Tinh, 11 April 1968
Number 190/CT/ST
FROM: District Chief, Son Tinh
TO: Lieutenant Colonel Province Chief, Quang Ngai
SUBJECT: Allied Operation at Son My assembled and killed civilians

On 16 March 1968 an American Army unit conducted a mopping-up operation at Tu Cung and Co Luy hamlets of Son My Village, Son Tinh District. At about 10 o'clock on the above day, the American unit encountered a VC mine and recieved fire from Tu Cung hamlet. One American soldier was killed and a number of others were wounded.

In response, the operational forces attacked the village, assembled the people and shot and killed more than 400 people at Tu Cong hamlet, and 90 more in the Co Luy hamlet of Son My Village. While the VC were withdrawing from the hamlet, 48 VC and more than 52 guerillas and self defense soldiers were wounded by helicopter gun ships.

Subsector comments:
Tu Cung and Co Luy are two areas of Son My Village that have long been held by the VC. The district forces lack the capability of entering the area. Therefore, allied units frequently conduct mop-up operations and bombing attacks freely in the area. But the basic position of the report of the Son My village committee is that although the VC cannot be held blameless for their actions in the 16 March 1968 operation, the Americans in anger killed too many civilians. Only one American was killed by the VC, however the allies killed near 500 civilians in retaliation.

Really an atrocious attitude if it cannot be called an act of insane violence. Request than you intervene on the behalf of the people.

Respectfully,
1st Lt. Tran Ngoc Tan
District Chief

Copies to:
2nd ARVN Div HQ
MACV Quang Ngai Sector

Source: The Peers Report. reprinted in Lt. Gen. W. R. Peers. The My Lai Inquiry. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979. p279.

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