Visiting the My Lai Village in Quang Ngai

We knnow it isn’t going to be an enjoyable day when you visit My Lai village where was the site of the notorious incident known as the My Lai Massacre (Son My Massacre); when American soldiers killed over five-hundred civilians. But we feel it is necessary to recommend you about this place ! There’s so much to love and appreciate about modern Vietnamese culture, so much color and flavor, that younger travelers often don’t take time to appreciate what happened here during what is known in southeast Asia as The American War.


During the Vietnam War, US Army regularly bombed and bombarded Quang Ngai Province, believing it was the stronghold of the Viet Cong (VC). In March 1968, Charlie Company of the United States received information that the VC guerrilla forces took control of Son My village in Quang Ngai province. In the morning of March 16, Charlie Company, led by Lieutenant William L. Calley, entered My Lai 4 Village (one of four villages in Son My Village) with the task of finding and destroying the Viet Cong guerrillas. However, they found only unarmed civilians, most of them are women, children, and elderly people.

Before the attack, American soldiers were told by the military commanders that anyone they encountered in My Lai was considered a VC or helped the VC, and was ordered to burn down the village. But they were raped and tortured villagers before killing them, including children and infants, pregnant women, women who have just born baby, old people. The massacre is thought to have ended when a US Air Force pilot, Hugh Thompson, landed among American soldiers and villagers and threatened to shoot if US Troops continued the attack.


The My Lai massacre was concealed by the senior US military officers until March of next year, when  Ron Ridenhour knew about the incident through his teammates and wrote a letter to several government officials, urging an investigation. The letter was largely ignored until reporter Seymour Hersh interviewed Calley and the story broke. The My Lai event was immediately put on the cover of major newspapers and became an international scandal. In March 1970, an official US military investigation commission charged 14 officers, including Calley and his commander, Captain Ernest Medina, for crimes involving My Lai. Among them, only Calley was convicted. Arrested for murdering 22 people, Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment. After the appeal, his sentence was reduced to 20 years, and finally 10 years. Many argue that Calley was just a scapegoat. He was granted amnesty in 1974 after just three years in prison.

*** My Lai Massacre information

Time: 16/3/1968

Location: My Lai 4 Hamlet, Son My Commune, Son Tinh District, Quang Ngai Province. 

The number of people were massacred: 504 civilians

*** You might be interested in: 

Easyriders Tour from Hoi An or Danang to My Lai Village

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