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Though their first three months in Vietnam passed without any direct contact with North Vietnamese-backed forces, by mid-March the company had suffered 28 casualties involving mines or booby-traps.
Army as the Viet Cong. Henderson, the 11th Brigade commander, urged his officers to "go in there aggressively, close with the enemy and wipe them out for good". Those present later gave differing accounts of Medina's response.
Some, including platoon leaders, testified that the orders, as they understood them, were to kill all guerrilla and North Vietnamese combatants and "suspects" including women and children, as well as all animalsto burn the village, and pollute the wells. If a man was running, shoot him, sometimes even if a woman with a rifle was running, shoot her.
The other two companies from TF Barker were ordered to secure the area and provide support if needed. The area was designated a free fire zonewhere American forces were allowed to deploy artillery and air strikes in populated areas.
Lacross   and Captain Medina's command post remained outside. On approach, both platoons fired at people they saw in the rice fields and in the brush.
Harry Stanley, a machine gunner from Charlie Company, said during the U. Army Criminal Investigation Division inquiry that the killings started without warning.
He first observed a member of 1st Platoon strike a Vietnamese man with a bayonet. Then, the same trooper pushed another villager into a well and threw a grenade in the well. Next, he saw fifteen or twenty people, mainly women and children, kneeling around a temple with burning incense.
They were praying and crying. They were all killed by shots in the head. All detainees were pushed into the ditch and then killed after repeated orders issued by Lieutenant Calley, who was also shooting. He recollected that women were allegedly saying "No VC" and were trying to shield their children.
Then, the children who were old enough to walk got up and Calley began to shoot the children". Livestock was shot as well.
I walked up and saw these guys doing strange things Setting fire to the hootches and huts and waiting for people to come out and then shooting them As I walked in you could see piles of people all through the village They were gathered up into large groups.
I saw them shoot an M79 [grenade launcher] into a group of people who were still alive.Incident. Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division, arrived in South Vietnam in December Though their first three months in Vietnam passed without any direct contact with North Vietnamese-backed forces, by mid-March the company had suffered 28 casualties involving mines or booby-traps.
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