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.
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
Tinh, 11 April 1968
FROM: District Chief, Son Tinh
TO: Lieutenant Colonel Province Chief, Quang Ngai
SUBJECT: Allied Operation at Son My assembled and killed civilians
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.
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.
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.
an atrocious attitude if it cannot be called an act of insane
violence. Request than you intervene on the behalf of the people.
1st Lt. Tran Ngoc Tan
2nd ARVN Div HQ
MACV Quang Ngai Sector