On This Day in 1969, Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh Breaks the My Lai Massacre Story

Fresh evidence that came to light last week was presented on the nation’s television screens by those who had actually been at Song My [My Lai] during the massacre.  Reporters struck a particularly rich vein in the person of Paul David Meadlo, 22, a farm boy from Indiana who participated in the attack and who lost a foot in a booby trap the next day.  Meadlo said that he had helped to round up about 45 people in the center of the village.  “Lieutenant Calley,” he recalled, “came over and said, ‘You know what to do with them, don’t you?’  And I said ‘Yes.’  So I took it for granted that he just wanted us to watch them.  And he left and came back about 10 or 15 minutes later and said, ‘How come you ain’t killed them yet?’”  Whereupon, Meadlo continued, he and Calley shot the civillians with their M-16 rifles.  Later, he said, “we had about seven or eight people that we was gonna put into the hootch [hut], and we dropped a hand grenade in there with them.”  Still later, he, Calley and others shot another group of villagers and shoved their bodies into a ravine.  Altogether, Meadlo confessed to killing 35-40 civilians, and he put the total figure of civilians slain at “about 370.”

Newsweek  December 8, 1969



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