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A Military Journalist Describes My Lai "Action" in Army Press Release

Sergeant Jay Roberts was a reporter with the Public Information Department of the 11th Brigade. He accompanied Charlie Company during the assault on My Lai and witnessed the killings, but after the incident on March 18, 1968, he wrote a press release that completely sanitized the operation, transforming the massacre into a "battle."

Chu Lai, Vietnam (Americal 10)— For the third time in recent weeks, the Americal Division's 11th Brigade infantrymen from Task Force Barker raided a Viet Cong stronghold known as "Pinkville" six miles northeast of Quang Ngai, killing 128 enemy in a running battle.

The action occurred in the coastal town of My Lai where, three weeks earlier, another company of the brigade's Task Force Barker fought its way out of a VC ambush, leaving 80 enemy dead.

The action began as units of the task force conducted a combat assault into a known Viet Cong stronghold. "Shark" gunships of the 174th Aviation Company escorted the troops into the area and killed four enemy during the assault. Other choppers from the 123d Aviation Battalion killed two enemy.

"The combat assault went like clockwork," commented LTC Frank Barker, New Haven, Conn., the task force commander. "We had two entire companies on the ground in less than an hour."

A company led by CPT Ernest Medina, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, killed 14 VC minutes after landing. They recovered two Ml rifles, a carbine, a short-wave radio and enemy documents.

Source | [William Peers], Report of the Department of the Army Review, of the Preliminary Investigations in to the My Lai Incident, vol. 4, exhibits M-2, M-3, ([Washington, D.C.]: The Department, 1970), 9-11; from James S. Olson and Randy Roberts, My Lai: A Brief History with Documents, (Boston: Bedford, 1998), 27.
Creator | Jay A. Roberts
Item Type | Government Document
Cite This document | Jay A. Roberts, “A Military Journalist Describes My Lai "Action" in Army Press Release,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 21, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/805.

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