Fixing blame, determining guilt, and punishing the perpetrators of the My Lai massacre proved to be far more complex than anyone first anticipated. Nearly five hundred Vietnamese civilians had been slaughtered on March 16, 1968, in front of dozens of eyewitnesses, but when all of the investigations were over, the indictments rendered, and the trials held, only Lieutenant William Calley was found guilty of war crimes. Calley was convicted of the premeditated murder of twenty-two civilians and sentenced to life in prison at hard labor. Colonel Oran K. Henderson, commander of the 11th Infantry Brigade, and thirteen other officers and enlisted men had been charged with war crimes, but each of them was acquitted or had his charges dropped. The only other punishments meted out were to military brass for the cover-up. Major General Samuel Koster was reduced in rank to brigadier general, and his assistant, Brigadier General George Young, had an official censure placed in his personnel file.
KeywordsHard Labor Administrative Review Pretrial Investigation Garage Door Enemy Soldier
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