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Full-text: April 23 1971

Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War

(April 23 1971, 2:00-3:35 p.m.)


Scott Camil15392    Walter Mondale15402
Vinny Giardina15393    Forrest Berry Lindley, Jr.15402
Melville L. Stephens15394    Sam Miller15402
Basil T. Paquet15397    David A. Lamenzo15403
Joe Nielsen15397    Jon Bjornson15404
Dale Granata15401    Ken Provan15404
Everett Carson15401 


117 Cong. Rec. 15392-15405 SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12


Congressional Record



May ??, 1971, TO May ??, 1971

(PAGES ????? TO ?????)



U.S. eagle, Congressional RecordCongressional Record




* * *



Monday, May 17, 1971

* * * {15392}


Ad Hoc Hearings of Vietnam Veterans Against the War


Hon. George McGovern

of South Dakota

In the Senate of the United States

Monday, May 17, 1971

Mr. McGovern.  Mr. President, among all of the testimony in favor of an end to the war in Vietnam, I am sure that many Americans will agree that the most eloquent came from the Vietnam veterans who were in Washington from April 19 to April 23.

Because much of their story had not been made available to the Senate and to the American people, I organized ad hoc hearings for them on April 23 and invited all Members of the Senate, whatever their views on the war, to participate. ¶

Those of us who were able to attend those hearings learned about specific events that we had not known earlier and saw, at first hand, the effect of the war on young Americans who participate in it. ¶

Their language may have been rough, but their message was clear.

To those who will read the record of that hearing, I draw your attention to these points:

  The testimony of one man who has admitted that he participated or witnessed what we can all recognize as war crimes or atrocities;

  The fact that a veteran who supports the administration was heard at greater length than any of the other witnesses and that men, who had come to Washington because of their passionate disagreement with his point of view, heard him out;

  The testimony of a medic, showing how brutalized we have become in our evaluation of human life because of the Vietnam war;

  The testimony of a veteran who conducted a careful survey of men returning from Vietnam which demonstrates that the Vietnam Veterans Against the War probably represent the majority view of those who have served in combat. The testimony of this man and others also shows clearly the great inadequacy of the veterans benefits we are providing to those who return from war, burdened with guilt and denied the homecoming of heroes;

  The testimony of one man who was in combat in Laos in early 1969, a time when, because such a penetration of that country was a blatant violation of international law, our Government lied to the American people and covered up this penetration into Laos;

  The eloquent statements by Senator Mondale who told the veterans:

You are our best hope that we won’t relive this tragedy again.

  The words of one man:

I am here not for either Communism or Americanism, but for peace.

  And the words of another who characterized the war as:

The incompetent telling the unwilling to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful.

  The testimony by one veteran who is intimately familiar with U-2 photography including the use of infrared de- {15392c2} vices which indicated that the Defense Department must have known that the POW camp it raided in North Vietnam was completely deserted and that the raid must thus have been:

Carried out solely for propaganda purposes against the American public.

  Finally, the statement filed after the close of the hearings by a veteran who had witnessed the taking of hostages by our Vietnamese ally and the killing of as many as five of those hostages for each mortar round which fell into his camp. This horrifying practice is exactly what the Nazi forces did in occupied territory in Europe during World War II. Yet now such people are our allies.

I have asked the distinguished Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Stennis), who serves as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to hold formal hearings on the charges of such actions and the many others brought out in the “winter soldier” investigation, and I sincerely hope he will schedule such hearings at an early date.

The purpose of such hearings would not be to find a scapegoat for our involvement in Indochina, but to show the kind of practices that have come so much to characterize the conduct of our Armed Forces because of the futile nature of the conflict there.

These tragedies, these atrocities, these injustices have become so commonplace that we have become immune to them. ¶

We have tried to administer an anesthetic to our consciences. ¶

Yet these men who came to Washington will not allow us to lull ourselves into the sense of well-being that the supposed winding down of the war is intended to bring. ¶

Despite what the administration tells us, it is not enough simply to lower the casualty rate among American forces in Vietnam. ¶

So long as the United States continues to kill civilians on the presumption that all “gooks” are guilty, so long as we aid a corrupt and dictatorial government to mete out such terror, we can never believe that we have ended the war or even just our involvement in it.

What these veterans have taught us is that if we do not completely disengage from Indochina, we will not win the war or even “win the peace” which the administration says is its goal, but we may well lose our soul.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the complete record of the ad hoc hearings, conducted on April 23, be inserted in the Extensions of Remarks.

There being no objection, the record of hearings was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

Hearing for
Vietnam Veterans Against the War

The hearing in the above matter met at 2:00 o’clock p.m. April 23, 1971 in Room G-103, New Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., Senator George McGovern, presiding.


Senator McGovern.  Would the hearing room please be in order?

The purpose of these ad hoc hearings this afternoon is to provide an opportunity for some of the veterans of Vietnam War, who have been in the city this past week, to be heard by various members of the Senate.

Congressman Charles Vanik of Ohio is here from the House of Representatives as {15392c3} the sponsor of the discharge petition in the House to bring out the Vietnam Disengagement Act, so that it can be acted upon on the floor of the House of Representatives. There will be other members of the House and Senate joining us as the hearing progresses.

Some members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War have been heard by various committees of the Congress, but many of them have not had that opportunity. I felt this would be a useful way to spend an hour and a half this afternoon, listening to some of these men who have looked at the face of war firsthand, who have decided that this country must pursue a different course if we expect to recover our sense of decency and the posture in the world that I think we all covet for our country.

So we have invited any veteran participating in the activities this week, who wishes to be heard this afternoon, to come here and offer his testimony.

Let me just add that I think that these men who have been in the Capital all this week have reflected great glory and courage on themselves and on the country.

(Prolonged applause.)

Senator McGovern.  I think what they have manifested here is the very highest form of patriotism, which is the willingness to place love of one’s country above any personal inconvenience, and to manifest whatever courage is necessary to stand by the best ideals of this nation, and to call our country to a higher standard. That is, as I understand it, is the commitment these young men bring to this effort this week. And it is on that basis that Congressman Vanik and I, and others, are proud to be here to listen to what they have to say.

{Scott Camil}

Our first witness is from the State of Florida, a veteran by the name of Scott Camil. He was involved in the so-called “winter soldier” investigation and hearings that many of you may have read about some weeks ago. I am proud to call him as our first witness today.

I am going to ask the veterans if they will go to the rostrum over here, where they can be better seen and heard while giving their testimony.

Mr. Camil is here.

We are ready to hear you, sir.

Sergeant Camil.  My name Scott Camil.

As a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps I served four years in the Marine Corps.

I have two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Good Conduct Medal.

I am going to discuss the testimony that I gave as a winter soldier, also how a person is able to do the things I did. ¶

Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055, 9947-9954 (Panel: “1st Marine Division”) (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition).  CJHjr

My testimony is things that I either did or participated in, or I witnessed.

On Operation Stone in 1966 we were on a search and destroy operation, and two men, two Vietnamese, after they were sought and killed by the Marines on the operation, had their heads cut off, and we put them on top of stakes and stuck them in the middle of the field. We were called up over the radio later on by the Colonel, and he said the Vice President was in the area, and we had to get rid of the heads.

On another occasion we had a new Lieutenant, and he did not particularly care for what was going on over there. My radio operator went out and shot a Vietnamese, cut off his head, cut off his sex:organs, put them in his mouth, and put it in a sand bag and brought it back to the Lieutenant. And the Lieutenant got sick, and we all made fun of him. This was to change him around. And it did change him around.

We tortured our prisoners. There was one place, at a place called The Island, where there were two Vietcong staked out on the ground. One was cut open while he was alive, his insides were pulled out, and the other {15393} one was told that if he did not tell us what we wanted to know the same thing would happen to him.

Then he spoke, and none of us knew what he was saying, because we did not speak Vietnamese. Then he was shot.

We call in — I was a forward observer. One of my jobs was to call in artillery. We would go out, and if we had nothing to do — we would have artillery FOs from other batteries, also — we would sit on a hill and pull in artillery on friendly villages, for a contest. The person who used the least amount of corrections to hit a certain part of the village and destroy it would win, and when we went to the rear the person who lost would have to buy the other person beer. There were civilians; these were friendly villages, that was just done as a game.

When we were sweeping through on search and destroy missions, many times we were given orders that we were in too much of a rush, “Do not take prisoners.”

There is something called a Through-Way Pass, and these are dropped from helicopters, and one side is written in Vietnamese, and the other side it is in English. Basically, it says, if you turn yourself in with this pass you will be treated kindly. This is a Through-Way Pass. It says: “Safe conduct pass, to be honored by all Vietnamese government agencies and Allied Forces.” When they would come out with these passes we would shoot them.

We were told at briefings, “Why should we let them shoot at us? When we would corner them they would shoot at us, and why should we give them these passes, after they had been killing our men.”

Raping of women was a very common thing. When women were searched — since there were no women Marines with us they were searched by the men. They would be stripped naked, and kind of a game was made out of it. Like, men would put their fingers up their vaginas, supposedly searching for articles. And they would say, “I think maybe my penis is a little longer, and I will try with that and see if there is anything there.”

The general attitude was, we are over here helping these people. “The least they could do was lay a little leg on us.”

People would say, “Let’s go out and get (?),” and they would go out and rape them, then shoot them.

We had what we called the free fire zones. This meant to us, one, we could call in artillery rounds on anything out there. It also meant anything live was to be killed. We killed women, children, men, animals, and the animals were killed so they could be used for food, the bodies were dumped in the water so the water couldn’t be used. Crops were burned so they couldn’t be used for food. Houses were burned so they wouldn’t have any shelter from the elements.

We were told, “You can’t have your guerrilla warfare without the support of the people. The people in the area are not supporting us.” So we killed them. Most of the time, I would say at least 70 percent of the people that my unit killed were women and children, and were unarmed.

The important thing when I was over there, for our unit, was body count. Before we would go on an operation they would say, “You have to have ten of their guys for every one of our men that died.” That was made by killing women and children. One time 19 of us went out, we got into a mine field, only two of us got out of it. The next day in the Stars and Stripes, they said we had 43 killed. We never saw any enemy at all, it was a mine field.

A lot of people in the field did not have boots, their boots would have been torn off. When you came back into Danang the Vietnamese were selling us back boots, helmets, brand new gear that we needed, that we didn’t have, that the Vietnamese were selling to our own soldiers. {15393c2}

I volunteered to go to Vietnam. I stayed 20 months. I went over because I thought I was fighting for democracy, freedom of the South Vietnamese people, and that they wanted us over there to help them.

We would go through a village, if one man stepped on a mine or a boobytrap we would say “We don’t know what it was that did it, so we will get everybody, burn down the village and kill everybody.” This was to set an example for the other villages; when we went through then they could tell us where the mines were and we wouldn’t lose men.

Sometimes we would go through a village, they would tell us where the mines were, we would dig up the mines, no one hurt, we would live; then the VC would come in and kill everybody for helping us.

The South Vietnamese, whom we are supposed to be helping, it is like a candle being burned at both ends; they don’t have a chance. Why, they are being completely wiped out. When I killed women and children I did not consider them women and children — they were just “gooks.” They weren’t like — it was like a big hunting trip, the more people you kill the more medals you get, and that makes everybody real happy.

So I killed women and children. And we were told that women have children that grow up to be communists, and if we killed them they don’t have any more children, if we killed the children we could wipe out the communists, and our children wouldn’t have to fight their children. I never distinguished between women or children or men; they were all just “gooks.” When I shot them I did not feel like I was shooting a person, it was just like a big hunting trip.

People would cut off ears, like putting notches in your rifle, bring back the ears to prove you had killed so many men. Oftentimes we made deals, and people in the rear would say, “Okay, I will give you two beers for every ear you bring in.”

When we would go on an operation the company that had the most kills would get a free beer party from the battalion, the platoon that had the most kills had a free beer party from the company, the squad that had the most kills would not have to stand guard when they got back in. This made the whole thing so that the more important things was to get kills.

When I came back from Vietnam I was still for the war, I thought it was a good thing. I could not see any difference between me shooting women and children, because I thought it was in the best interest of my nation, and dropping a bomb on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. I believed it was for the best interest of the nation. That is why I did it.

Does anybody have any question?

Senator McGovern.  Sergeant, the kind of incidents that you described here, where entire villages were wiped out, what is the difference between the situation you are describing in those cases, and what took place at Mylai?

Sergeant Camil.  Basically the villages we wiped out, there would be only between 20 and 50 people there, usually. Mylai had more people. We never lined people up in ditches, we just shot them.

I don’t know what Calley did. I don’t know why he did it. I can not condone killing, I can not say I shouldn’t be blamed for what I did. But I do understand how a person can do something like that and think he is doing the right thing.

Senator McGovern.  We have been told all along that this is a war to win the hearts and minds of people, that is, that we are there for a purpose, in trying to win over the rank and file of the Vietnamese people, supposedly to support the government in Saigon. To what extent did it bother American Forces, who were engaged in the kind of activities you described here, when comparing that with {15393c3} our goal of trying to win the confidence of the civilians of South Vietnam?

What is the impact on a village or an area, after an American Army has gone through and burned it down and destroyed the people? What impact does that have on this whole business of “winning hearts and minds”?

Sergeant Camil.  When I was over there, this “winning hearts and minds,” I didn’t know too much about that. I thought I was over there to kill the communists.

I do know that when we came through villages people would get on their hands and knees and bow and say, “No, Joe, No, Joe,” because they knew what we were going to do.

I was just under the impression that “gooks” are “gooks,” and I did not even see any difference between the Vietnamese people, the VC, or even the ARVNs. I hated the ARVNs just as much. (Laughter from the audience.)

Senator McGovern.  What is your assessment of the ARVN force?

Sergeant Camil.  If you are in a battle and you are winning they are really good. If you are in a battle and you are not winning you cannot find any of them. (Laughter and applause from the audience.)

Senator McGovern.  Thank you very much. (Prolonged applause.)

Mr. Vanik.  I would like to say this, that my generation had another kind of war, it was cruel and inhumane and destructive. But I do not believe World War II in any of its parts or places or in any locations provoked a violence such as you have described today.

Thank you.

Senator McGovern.  Thank you, Sergeant, for your testimony. (Applause.)

{Vinny Giardina}

Senator McGovern.  Our next witness is a soldier from New York, Mr. Vinny Giardina.

While he is testifying I am going to ask Congressman Vanik to preside so I can answer the roll call bell that just rang. I will be right back. If the Congressman would take over, we will be glad to hear you, sir.

Mr. Giardina.  My name is Vinny Giardina.

Mr. Vanik.  Would you state your name, your service number and the last duty station that you had, and the period of your service?

Mr. Giardina.  My name is Giardina. Service number 131-34-7718. I was in the 108 Artillery, H-26 Company, in the Dong Hoa, 8 miles from the DMZ.

While I was in Vietnam the American people were under the impression that we did not bomb North Vietnam or Laos. Every paper in this country that I read said that we would not go in. The first day I got there I sat on the roof of a hootch in Vietnam and saw eight 52’s bomb North Vietnam and Laos. I was laughed at by others who were there for being led to believe that we did not go into North Vietnam. Every day we fired across the DMZ. There was firing from the other side, we crossed the DMZ into North Vietnam whenever we felt like it.

The American — should I say, the United States Military — led us all to believe that these people were “gooks,” less than human, and that they had very little value as people. I was led to believe, from South Vietnamese people, that “gooks” meant “foreign.” And we were the foreigners there.

The South Vietnamese people don’t want us there. They really don’t care who — who rules their country. All they have now is a dictatorship.

And I guess that is about all I have to add. (Applause.)

{Melville L. Stephens}

Mr. Vanik.  Thank you very much. Congressman Talcott of California is here and has a witness whom he would like to introduce.

Mr. Talcott, Congressman Bert Talcott of the State of Califomia. (Applause.)

Mr. Talcott.  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. {15394}

Ladies and gentleman, I am here to simply introduce Lt. Melville L. Stephens, one of your group. He lives in Hanford, California.

I think it is essential that everyone have a right to be heard. I do not approve or disapprove of what he is going to say. I do not know exactly what he is going to say, therefore I really disclaim it. But I think it is important that everybody have an opportunity to be heard. So I join with what is going on here.

He lives in Hanford, California, in my district, he is 26 years of age. He graduated from the University of Southern California as a major in economics. He has been admitted to Cornell Law School for this fall.

He was a lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1967 to 1970, assistant navigator on the U.S.S. Providence, commander of River Assault Division 132, and engaged as a river civilian warfare instructor at Mare Island in California.

He has the Silver Star medal, three bronze star medals with valor device, Navy commendation medal with a valor device, the Purple Heart, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with the Palm.

I served in World War II, Mr. Chairman. I was a prisoner of war for 14 months. So I care a little about what is going on and what our country stands for.

I think this young man has the right to be heard. I think, none here has more time in Vietnam, none here has spent more time with the Vietnamese people, and none here is more highly decorated. So it is with great pleasure that I introduce Lt. Melville Stephens from Hanford, California. (Applause)

Lieutenant Stephens.  Thank you very much, sir. Thank you, Mr. Talcott, for the introduction.

What I am about to say is probably not going to be very popular in this room. As many of you know, I have been on the Mall the entire week. I have listened, I have watched, I was there principally to learn, I had only relatively recently returned from Vietnam, about a year ago, and I really have not had a chance to learn the mood of the American people.

I spent nearly three years in Vietnam, in one capacity or another. I think that I can speak with reality and a sense of the people themselves of Vietnam. I think I was very fortunate to work both with American units and with Vietnamese units, and with Vietnamese people, some of whom I got to know very closely and whom I considered very dear.

As I say, my convictions are very strong. They are based on three years experience and what I consider a need to speak on this occasion.

All wars are terrible. War is hell, that has been said a thousand times. The Vietnam War is no different, no better, or no worse, than any war. And there is certainly a need for an end to it as soon as possible.

There are arguments which call for unconditional and immediate withdrawal. In a State Department meeting, Mr. John Kerry mentioned that General Shuop had said that it could be done in 10 days. I would hate to question a Marine Corps General — but that is just not so. The physical logistic problem could take no less than six months, I imagine. The political and economic problems are almost insoluble.

I think the arguments for an unconditional withdrawal are based on two precepts: The first is all these arguments is about the atrocities. And the fact is, war, any war, is the most terrible personal experience a person can go through. I speak from a great deal of experience in combat. I am proud to have been there with other Americans, and I am proud to have been there with Vietnamese counterparts.

I think that a lot of the questions we ask are the questions which should have been asked ten years ago. I think they are valid {15394c2} questions. I think their answers are unquestionable. But I really think that those questions are no longer relevant. We have seen there a great deal of troops and a great deal of support, for over six years. There is a tremendous amount of the Vietnamese people whose commitment to the Government of Vietnam is based on our commitment to that government, and the fact that they chose that side is because we were committed to it. And we have a commitment to those people also. (Calls of “We didn’t choose it.”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  Many of the criticisms expressed so eloquently by Mr. John Kerry and all of you here are very valid. Speaking from experience, there is a great deal of corruption in the South Vietnamese Government. There is a crying need for reform.

The dope traffic in Vietnam has been brought up, and certainly is one of the things which we assembled here, the Congress, the President, and the American people, must put every conceivable pressure on the South Vietnamese Government to end, to end that traffic. Where the heroin coming into Vietnam comes from is not known. There has been a lot of talk about people in the Saigon Government who are involved. I think there is no question that it is to the advantage of the enemy to break the morale of the American troops with this type of technique. I do not speak with facts on this. But I do feel a conviction.

I criticize the way the war has been fought in the past, particularly our initial involvement. Certainly no one here, no one in the Congress, Mr. Nixon in the White House, the American people, would have what has happened in the six years preceding if they had a choice today.

I think, however, there has been significant changes. I think a reasonable estimate of the Vietnamese population is 16 million. My personal sense is that eight to nine million of these people are committed or semi-committed to the Government of Vietnam, five to six million more remain as neutral as is possible in a war, perhaps two million are committed by family ties or political association with the Communist. So of the thirteen or fifteen million who are either committed to the government or neutral, I think a conservative estimate would be that fifty percent of these people chose not to commit themselves to the Communists because I was there, because these veterans who are here were there, and because the American people were supporting the government in Vietnam. (Call of “Oh, — — .” Applause.)

Lieutenant Stephens.  As I say, I think I speak from a great deal of experience, and I am certainly not without portfolio, like you are not without portfolio. But I have a sense of — (Call of “You weren’t a grunt either.”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  I have a sense of the Vietnamese people. That is why I am here.

Senator McGovern.  Lt., I wonder, with all due respect, if you could confine your remarks to your own personal experiences. (Applause.)

Lieutenant Stephens.  I would be happy to. (Call of “He didn’t have any. He was on a big ship in the sea.”)

(Call of “Shut up.”)

(Calls of “Was he in a village?”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  About eight months of my three and a half years in Vietnam were on a ship. I spent the rest of my time in country in Vietnam.

I think there has been a tendency in the past for people to make heroes of the North Vietnam Government, of the Viet Cong, of the people that I consider the enemy.

I will speak of my direct involvement, here, and what I can recall very vividly.

In the spring of 1969, in a village out of Can Tho, in South Vietnam, when I was {15394c3} riding along I came across a school bus. A terrorist had thrown a grenade in this school bus that was filled with children. Two of the children were killed, three of them were wounded so seriously that I have no question but that they probably died later, and several certainly were wounded to the extent that they were maimed for life.

I would like to read a couple paragraphs from an article, into the record, sir, and introduce the two articles, for complete coverage. They are very short.

The first comes from an article by a Mr. Stuart Harris, in Time Magazine, which was published April 5, 1968:

“On a lovely sunny afternoon in the green valley of Nam Hoa, about ten miles southwest of Hue, I was with Warrant Officer Ostara, an Australian adviser with the South Viet Nam army, standing on the sloping sides of a recently dug hole. In the bottom were rush mats over sheets of plastics. Ostara drew back and I saw two bodies, dead Vietnamese, with their arms tied behind their backs just above the elbows. They had been shot through the back of the head, the bullet coming out through the mouth. The faces would have been difficult to recognize, but the day before 27 women from the village walked out three miles carrying mattocks to dig for their missing husbands and sons, having heard about this patch of disturbed earth near the roadside. Ostara told me that the enemy had come through on their way to Hue. They had taken 27 men. Some were leaders and some were younger, strong enough to be porters or even ancillary soldiers.

“Men were simply condemned by drumhead courts and executed as enemies of the people.”

* * *

“There were about 40,000 Roman Catholic Vietnamese in Hue. What happened to them? About three-quarters of the Roman Catholics in Hue live in Phu Cam, on the southern outskirts of the city. They resisted strongly when the enemy came in, and some were executed. Four Viet Nam priests were taken away and three foreign priests were killed. Two French priests were actually given permission by the Viet Cong to return to Phu Cam and help the sisters — then they were shot on the way back. Another French priest was executed, perhaps because he was chaplain to the Americans.

“Summing up all this evidence about the behavior of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army in Hue, one thing is abundantly clear and ought to surprise no one. They put into practice, with their usual efficiency, the traditional Communist policy of punishing by execution selected leaders who support their enemies. At Hue, as elsewhere, they were unable on the whole to capture and execute the more important officials, because these men were careful to protect themselves in heavily fortified compounds, defended by soldiers and police. In Hue, as elsewhere, the more defenseless ‘little people’ were the victims — the village and hamlet chiefs, the teachers and the policemen.

“Already most of these positions have been filled again, and I find it impossible to write adequately about the courage of men who succeed the executed.”

Senator McGovern.  Lt., I am afraid—

Lieutenant Stephens.  From the Reader’s Digest — (laughter).

Senator McGovern.  If we could please have order in the room.

We do have a time limitation. There are some ten additional men who have to be heard.

Lieutenant Stephens.  I understand all other speakers are speaking from one particular point of view. I would like just five minutes to sum up, if I may.

Senator McGovern.  If you could put the articles in the record we would be glad to see {15395} they are made a part of it but try to bring your remarks to a conclusion.

Lieutenant Stephens.  I read this because it was much better written than I could have written.

Senator McGovern.  You aren’t an experienced writer as he is.

Lieutenant Stephens.  I was there. My experience is direct.

Senator McGovern.  May we have order in the room, so the Lieutenant can be heard?


[From Readers Digest, Nov. 1968]


The village chief and his wife were distraught. One of their children, a seven-year-old boy, had been missing for four days. They were terrified, they explained to Marine Lt. Gen. Lewis W. Walt, because they believed he had been captured by the Vietcong.

Suddenly, the boy came out of the jungle and ran across the rice paddies toward the village. He was crying. His mother ran to him and swept him up in her arms. Both of his hands had been cut off, and there was a sign around his neck, a message to his father: if he or any one else in the village dared go to the polls during the upcoming elections, something worse would happen to the rest of his children.

The V.C. delivered a similar warning to the residents of a hamlet not far from Danang. All were herded before the home of their chief. While they and the chief’s pregnant wife and four children were forced to look on, the chief’s tongue was cut out. Then his genital organs were sliced off and sewn inside his bloody mouth. As he died, the V.C. went to work on his wife, slashing open her womb. Then, the nine-year-old son: a bamboo lance was rammed through one ear and out the other. Two more of the chief’s children were murdered the same way. The V.C. did not harm the five-year-old daughter — not physically: they simply left her crying, holding her dead mother’s hand.

General Walt tells of his arrival at a district headquarters the day after it had been overrun by V.C. and North Vietnamese army troops. Those South Vietnamese soldiers not killed in the battle had been tied up and shot through their mouths or the backs of their heads. Then their wives and children, including a number of two- and three-year-olds, had been brought into the street, disrobed, tortured and finally executed: their throats were cut; they were shot, beheaded, disemboweled. The mutilated bodies were draped on fences and hung with signs telling the rest of the community that if they continued to support the Saigon government and allied forces, they could look forward to the same fate.

These atrocities are not isolated cases; they are typical. For this is the enemy’s way of warfare, clearly expressed in his combat policy in Vietnam. While the naive and anti-American throughout the world, cued by communist propaganda; have trumpeted against American “immorality” in the Vietnam war — aerial bombing, the use of napalm, casualties caused by American combat action — daily and nightly for years, the communists have systematically authored history’s grisliest catalogue of barbarism. By the end of 1967, they had committed at least 100,000 acts of terror against the South Vietnamese people. The record is an endless litany of tortures, mutilations and murders that would have been instructive even to such as Adolf Hitler.

Perhaps because until recently the terrorism has been waged mainly in remote places, this aspect of the war has received scant attention from the press. Hence the enemy has largely succeeded in casting himself in the role of noble revolutionary. It is long past time for Americans, who are sick and tired of being vilified for trying to help {15395c2} South Vietnam stay free, to take a hard look at the nature of this enemy.


The terror had its real beginning when Red dictator Ho Chi Minh consolidated his power in the North. More than a year before his 1954 victory over the French, he launched a savage campaign against his own people. In virtually every North Vietnamese village, strong-arm squads assembled the populace to witness the “confessions” of landowners. As time went on, businessmen, intellectuals, school teachers, civic leaders — all who represented a potential source of future opposition — were also rounded up and forced to “confess” to “errors of thought.” There followed public “trials,” conviction and, in many cases, execution. People were shot, beheaded, beaten to death; some were tied up, thrown into open graves and covered with stones until they were crushed to death, Ho has renewed his terror in North Vietnam periodically. Between 50,000 and 100,000 are believed to have died in these blood-baths — in a coldly calculated effort to discipline the party and the masses. To be sure, few who escape Ho’s terror now seem likely to tempt his wrath. During the 1950s, however, he had to quell some sizeable uprisings in North Vietnam — most notably one that occurred in early November 1956, in the An province, which included Ho’s birthplace village of Nam Dan. So heavily had he taxed the region that the inhabitants finally banded together and refused to meet his price. Ho sent troops to collect, and then sent in an army division, shooting. About 6000 unarmed villagers were killed. The survivors scattered, some escaping to the South. The slaughter went largely unnoticed by a world then preoccupied with the Soviet Union’s rape of Hungary.

With North Vietnam tightly in hand, the central committee of the North Vietnamese communist party met in Hanoi on March 13, 1959, and decided it was time to move against South Vietnam. Soon, large numbers of Ho’s guerrillas were infiltrating to join cadres that had remained there after the French defeat in 1954. Their mission: to eliminate South Vietnam’s leadership, including elected officials, “natural” leaders, anyone and everyone to whom people might turn for advice. Also to be liquidated were any South Vietnamese who had relatives in their country’s armed forces, civil, services or police; any who failed to pay communist taxes promptly; any with five or more years of education.

A captured V.C. guerrilla explained how his eight-man team moved against a particular target village: “The first time we entered the village, we arrested and executed on the spot four men who had been pointed out to us by the party’s district headquarters as our most dangerous opponents. One, who had fought in the war against the French was now a known supporter of the South Vietnamese government. Another had been seen fraternizing with government troops. These two were shot. The others, the village’s principal landowners, were beheaded.”

General Walt tells of the “revolutionary purity” of Vietcong who came home to two other villages. In one case, a 15-year-old girl who had given Walt’s Marines information on V.C. activities was taken into the jungle and tortured for hours, then beheaded. As a warning to other villagers, her head was placed on a pole in front of her home. Her murderers were her brother and two of his V.C. comrades. In the other case, when a V.C. learned that his wife and two young children had cooperated with Marines, who had befriended them, he himself cut out their tongues.

Genocide. In such fashion did the storm of terror break over South Vietnam. In 1960, some 1500 South Vietnamese civilians were killed and 700 abducted. By early 1965, the {15395c3} communists’ Radio Hanoi and Radio Liberation were able to boast that the V.C. had destroyed 7559 South Vietnamese hamlets. By the end of last year, 15,138 South Vietnamese civilians had been killed, 45,929 kidnaped. Few of the kidnaped are ever seen again.

Ho’s assault on South Vietnam’s leadership class has, in fact, been a form of genocide — and all too efficient. Thus, if South Vietnam survives in freedom, it will take the country a generation to fully replace this vital element of its society. But the grand design of terror involves other objectives, too. It hopes to force the attacked government into excessively repressive anti-terrorist actions, which tend to earn the government the contempt and hatred of the people. It also seeks valuable propaganda in the form of well-publicized counter-atrocities certain to occur at the individual level — for South Vietnamese soldiers whose families have suffered at communists’ hands are not likely to deal gently with captured V.C. and North Vietnamese troops.

Dr. A. W. Wylie, an Australian physician serving in a Mekong Delta hospital, points out that a hamlet or village need not cooperate with the Saigon government or allied forces to mark itself for butchery; it need only be neutral, a political condition not acceptable to the communists. After a place has been worked over, its people of responsibility are always identifiable by the particularly hideous nature of their wounds. He cites some cases he has seen:

When the V.C. finished with one pregnant woman, both of her legs were dangling by ribbons of flesh and had to be amputated. Her husband, a hamlet chief, had just been strangled before her eyes, and she also had seen her three-year-old child machine-gunned to death. Four hours after her legs were amputated, she aborted the child she was carrying. But perhaps the worst thing that happened to her that day was that she survived.

A village policeman was held in place while a V.C. gunman shot off his nose and fired bullets through his cheekbones so close to his eyes that they were reduced to bloody shreds. He later died from uncontrollable hemorrhages.

A 20-year-old schoolteacher had knelt in a corner trying to protect herself with her arms while a V.C. flailed at her with a machete. She had been unsuccessful; the back of her head was cut so deeply that the brain was exposed. She died from brain damage and loss of blood.

Flamethrowers at Work. Last December 5, communists perpetrated what must rank among history’s most monstrous blasphemies at Dak Son, a central highlands village of some 2000. Montagnards — a tribe of gentle but fiercely independent mountain people. They had moved away from their old village in V.C.-controlled territory, ignored several V.C. orders to return and refused to furnish male recruits to the V.C.

Two V.C. battalions struck in the earliest hours, when the village was asleep. Quickly killing the sentries, the communists swarmed among the rows of tidy, thatch-roofed homes, putting the torch to them. The first knowledge that many of the villagers had of the attack was when V.C. troops turned flamethrowers on them in their beds. Some families awoke in time to escape into nearby jungle. Some men stood and fought, giving their wives and children time to crawl into trenches dug beneath their homes as protection against mortar and rifle fire. But when every building was ablaze, the communists took their flamethrowers to the mouth of each trench and poured in a long, searing hell of fire — and, for good measure, tossed grenades into many. Methodical and thorough, they stayed at it until daybreak, then left in the direction of the Cambodian border. {15396}


This article accurately depicts the true nature of the enemy in South Vietnam. I saw the little boy with his hands cut off. I have seen heads impaled on stakes, and disemboweled bodies.

I learned early in my two years of duty in South Vietnam, fighting and working alongside the South Vietnamese forces, that the communist terrorism described in this article is no mere accident of war but a program of systematic butchery. ¶

This deliberate and brutal assault against the grassroots citizenry is one reason why we who have responded to South Vietnam’s call for assistance believe devoutly that our efforts to save this nation are worthwhile, necessary and important. ¶

Lt. Gen. Lewis W. Walt,
U.S. Marine Corps
(Commander, I Corps Area,
South Vietnam, 1966-1967.)


Morning revealed a scene of unbelievable horror. The village now was only a smoldering, corpse-littered patch on the lush green countryside. The bodies of 252 people, mostly mothers and children, lay blistered, charred, burned to the bone. Survivors, many of them horribly burned, wandered aimlessly about or stayed close to the incinerated bodies of loved ones, crying. Some 500 were missing; scores were later found in the jungle, dead of burns and other wounds; many have not been found.

The massacre at Dak Son was a warning to other Montagnard Settlements to cooperate. But many of the tribesmen now fight with the allies.

If the communists’ “persuasion” techniques spawn deep and enduring hatred, Ho could not care less; the first necessity is the utter, subjugation, of the people. Ho was disturbed by the rapid expansion of South Vietnam’s educational system: between 1954 and 1959, the number of schools had tripled and the number of students had quadrupled. An educated populace, especially one educated to democratic ideals, does not fit into the communist scheme. Hence, the country’s school system was one of Ho’s first targets. So efficiently did he move against it that the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession soon sent a commission, chaired by India’s Shri S. Natarajan, to investigate.

Typical of the commission’s findings is what happened in the jungle province of An Xuyen. During the 1954-55 academic year, 3096 children attended 32 schools in the province; by the end of the 1960-61 school year, 27,953 were attending 189 schools. Then the communists moved in. Parents were advised not to send their children to school.

Teachers were warned to stop providing civic education, and to stop teaching children to honor their country, flag and president. Teachers who failed to comply were shot or beheaded or had their throats cut, and the reasons for the executions were pinned or nailed to their bodies.

The Natarajan commission reported how the V.C. stopped one school bus and told the children not to attend school anymore. When the children continued for another week, the communists stopped the bus again, selected a six-year-old passenger and cut off her fingers. The other children were told “This is what will happen to you if you continue to go to that school.” The school closed.

In one year, in An Xuyen province alone, Ho’s agents closed 150 schools, killed or kidnapped more than five dozen teachers, and cut school enrollment by nearly 20,000. By the end of the 1961-62 school year, 636 South Vietnamese schools were closed, and enrollment had decreased by nearly 80,000.

But, in the face of this attack, South Vietnam’s education system has staged a strong comeback. Schools destroyed by the communists have been rebuilt, destroyed, and rebuilt again. Many teachers have given up their own homes and move each night into a different student’s home so the communists {15396c2} can’t find them, or commute from nearby cities, where they leave their families.

Against such determination, the size of Ho’s failure can be measured: in 1954, there were approximately 400,000 pupils in school in North and South Vietnam together; today South Vietnam alone has some two million in school. About 35,000 — four times as many as in 1962 — now attend five South Vietnamese universities, while 42,000 more attend night college.

A South Vietnamese government official explains: “A war shatters many traditional values. But the idea of education has an absolute hold on our people’s imagination.”


The pitch of communist terrorism keeps rising. After the Tet carnage at Hue early this year, 19 mass graves yielded more than 1000 bodies, mostly civilians — old men and women, young girls, schoolboys, priests, nuns, doctors (including three Germans who had been medical-school faculty members at Hue University). About half had been buried alive, and many were found bound together with barbed wire, with dirt or cloth stuffed into their mouths and throats, and their eyes wide open. The communists came to Hue with a long list of names for liquidation — people who worked for the South Vietnamese or for the U.S. government, or who had relatives who did. But as their military situation grew increasingly desperate, they began grabbing people at random, out of their homes and off the streets, condemned them at drumhead courts as “reactionaries” or for “opposing the revolution” and killed them.

“The Tet offensive represented a drastic change in tactics,” says General Walt. “This is a war to take over the South Vietnamese people. Ho launched the Tet offensive because he knew he was losing the people. But his troops didn’t know it; they were told that they didn’t need any withdrawal plans because the people would rise and fight with them to drive out the Americans. What happened was just the opposite. Many fought against them like tigers.” Some of the Tet offensive’s explosion of atrocities probably can be attributed to sheer vengeful frustration on the part of Ho’s terror squads — which Ho may well have foreseen, and counted on.

The full record of communist barbarism in Vietnam would fill volumes. If South Vietnam falls to the communists, millions more are certain to die, large numbers of them at the hands of Ho’s imaginative tortures. That is a primary reason why, at election times, more than 80 percent of eligible South Vietnamese defy every communist threat and go to the polls, and why, after mortar attacks, voting lines always form anew. It is why the South Vietnamese pray that their allies will stick the fight through with them. It is why the vast majority of American troops in Vietnam are convinced that the war is worth fighting. It is why those who prance about even in our own country — waving Vietcong flags and decrying our “unjust” and “immoral” war should be paid the contempt they deserve.

Finally, it is why the communists should be driven once and for all from South Vietnam — and why, if possible, the monsters who presently rule North Vietnam should be brought before the bar of justice.


Resumption of Hearing

Lieutenant Stephens.  Yes, sir, I will make it as brief as I can. I do appreciate the opportunity to be heard.

The North Vietnamese Government has publicly boasted, publicly, open to the record, anybody can find it, that they executed three thousand people in Hue in 25 days.

Make no mistake — (Laughter) they are not friends of the people of South Vietnam. (Calls of “Are we?”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  I am saying, I have many South Vietnamese friends, very close {15396c3} people, with whom I have dealt very closely in the past.

(Calls of “Why don’t you go back?”)

(Calls of “Let him talk.”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  These are not Generals, Admirals, officials, they are people I dealt with in the Navy — sailors, young officers, farmers with whom I dealt when I worked in the Delta, and in whom I sense a real commitment, on my part and on their part; I have a very personal sense of commitment to them, because I fear for their security and safety. I think it is a very real fear, and that the facts portray that these people are in real danger if abandoned and left to the mercy of the Communists.

(Calls of “Or the American Army.”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  I share with everyone in this room their passion for peace — make no mistake — peace and an end to killing; but not just for Americans. If we have peace — and we will — it must be a peace which guarantees that the South Vietnamese people will stop fighting, as well as the Americans, that the loss of life will end for both sides.

I have a very brief resolution, which is one paragraph, which I will read:


“As a veteran of the conflict in Vietnam with special concern for and interest in the American soldier and the people of the country of South Vietnam, I urge the Congress, the President, and the American people and the world to take immediate and extraordinary action to achieve the following goals:

“1.  Peace in Southeast Asia .... {ellipsis in the original} we need a peace which will guarantee an end to the fighting, not just for Americans, but for the Vietnamese people as well. We need a peace that will last, and which therefore must be properly supervised, not by Americans, but by an international peace keeping force which will also be able to administer an extensive program of refugee rehabilitation and rebuilding of the country. We need a peace now, which will guarantee and end to war not just for a few years, not just for a full generation of peace, but an end to war for as long as we, our children, and their children can remember the tragedy of this one.

“2.  A program of immediate and universal land reform and rent reduction throughout Indo-China.

“3.  An end to the exploitation and destruction of American soldiers by the hard drug merchant of Vietnam, and

“4.  A program of G.I. bill benefits which will raise the Vietnam veteran from his second rate position to full and equal membership in the fraternity of all American veterans.”


Lieutenant Stephens.  Make no mistake that I doubt the sincerity for the motivation of these fellow Vietnam veterans here today. I have been with you all week. I feel your conviction, and your motivations. You are certainly committed to what you believe in. I respect you for that. And I appreciate your listening to me, because I am committed to my beliefs. (Applause.)

Your goals are an end to the war in Vietnam. (Calls of “Now.”)

(“Have you voted?”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  I have never voted. I have been in Vietnam since I was old enough to vote, and I have never had a chance to participate.

We are getting out of Vietnam. Casualties on all sides have been dramatically reduced. (Calls of “Except for the civilians.”)

Lieutenant Stephens.  Casualties of all kinds have been reduced.

Senator McGovern.  Lieutenant, we have been glad to hear you. We were glad to hear your statement. But there are ten more to be heard. {15397}

Lieutenant Stephens.  I have two more paragraphs. (Boo’s from the audience.)

Lieutenant Stephens.  Thank you very much for listening to me. (Applause.)

Senator McGovern.  Lieutenant, if you will submit the rest of your material it will be made a part of the record.

Lieutenant Stephens.  Thank you very much.

(The material referred to is as follows:)


“Make no mistake that I doubt the sincerity or the motivation of these fellow Vietnam veterans here today. I am only disappointed that they question the sincerity of the President. Their goals are in reality identical — to end the American involvement in Southeast Asia. We are getting out of Vietnam. Casualties on all sides have been dramatically reduced. American casualties to a level that is less than 20 percent of the level 2 years ago.”

Some of us tend to over simplify the problems of peace. It is really the most complicated issue. Both sides must cooperate. I believe that the issues of ending the war are not those of a Nation saving face, but of our responsibilities of individuals and as a country to our commitment to the people of South Vietnam. Not the high ranking officials, not the generals, but the average citizens who are friends of so many of us.

Never have Americans as individuals or as a nation shirked this sense of responsibility.


{Basil T. Paquet}

Senator McGovern.  And I want to say, while many of us here disagree with the Lieutenant’s analysis of the war, I think he has a right to be heard, and to get a respectful hearing for the things he has said.

The next witness is Mr. Basil Paquet. I would like to call him at this time.

Mr. Paquet is from Connecticut.

Mr. Paquet.  My name is Basil T. Paquet. My number is US 51599582. I was a Spec 4, Medic Detachment, 24th Evac Hospital.

I will try to make my statement as brief as possible.

I would like to speak directly to the violations of the Geneva Convention I saw personally while working at the 24th Evac Hospital.

I think the cases I cite will not be as strong as some of the testimony of the men who worked in the field. However, I think it is important to keep in mind that the type of things I list happened in a rear area; in supposedly one of the most civilized situations you will find in war, in other words, in a medical facility. When these violations occur in this type of facility you can well imagine what the rest of these these men say occurs in the field is true.

The first violation I would like to talk about is that of the Military Intelligence. I will cite a specific instance which occurred about a month after Tet, if I recall correctly, which I hope I do I would like to say, this type of incident occurred throughout my stay in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.

A wounded Viet pong prisoner was brought in with massive chest wounds and massive hemorrhages. We started to give him blood. He was accompanied by Military Intelligence. We started to give him blood, pump it in. He was probably within 5 to 10 minutes of dying.

They were still questioning him. It was apparent they had been questioning him for some time. And he hadn’t given any information. They continued throughout their questioning to withhold medical care unless he gave — unless he divulged information.

The man was streaming blood all over the place, he was barely conscious. They continued to press on him, press on him, that he would receive no medical care unless he divulged information.

As I say, this happened again and again.

The next incident I would like to relate happened during the Tet offensive of 1968. As many of the brothers here know, there were massive casualties on both sides, early {15397c2} in the morning, just after the offensive started — during the night, let me mention, no casualties could be brought in, because of the heavy fighting. So early in the morning there was a massive influx of casualties.

When it soon became apparent there were so many casualties there would be great difficulty in treating all of them, immediately it was set up whereby Vietnamese were sent this way (gesturing), and the Americans sent this way. We treated the Americans with the best medical care we could. We moved the Vietnamese down to first one quonset hut, filled that up, sometimes three to five to a bed, bleeding bodies on bleeding bodies. Then, when we filled this quonset hut, we grudgingly opened up another, filled that up, piled in bleeding body on bleeding body.

Those more seriously wounded civilians were not treated before the last GI with any minor wound or even a corn was treated. It wasn’t until later in the week that they were finally able to move some of those people, who even then had not been treated.

Most of the treating was done by Spec 4’s and 5’s including most debridement, so forth, doctors, who volunteered to stay after zero hour in the operating room, many of those — I don’t condemn all medical personnel — went down there and tried to treat these wounded people.

I would like to draw one brief analogy. I would like you to imagine this sort of situation occurring during a war like World War II. You can imagine massive casualties in London, wounded civilians and military personnel brought into any American medical faculty. I would like to imagine the separation of the British people, allies, from American allies, and left waiting from a quonset hut for a week before they were treated.

I would like to cite a specific incident of an order given to me. And I think many of us here will recognize our own guilt and sense of complicity with these crimes. A small child has her arm shot off, and received frag wounds about the leg and vagina. She was perhaps a little over a year old. I treated her. Her arm was completely cut off, as far as here (indicating). We controlled the bleeding. I had her on the bed.

Just after this, massive casualties started coming in. Finally all the bed space was taken.

The child was still upon a bed. I was ordered by an Army nurse, take the child off the bed and put her on the floor and put a GI on the bed. The GI had superficial wounds.

I refused to do it, and was threatened with action unless I placed the GI on the bed. The explanation was, no GI is going to lay on the floor as long as there is a bed. I said, “There is a bed, and it is being occupied.” But obviously that wasn’t much of an argument.

This could be excused as a policy, as actions which arise during emergency situations. But I would like to say that the treatment of the Vietnamese civilians that I saw during the whole year I was there — eleven months I was there — led to this type of treatment when you reach the crisis stage. The everyday leads to those specific instances. It is an atrocity-producing situation. That has been said many times already.

I would like to say, all the actions I just cited could be said to be occurring on an officer level. When you get this situation where you see your officers in a position — and again, let me say, these are medical personnel, supposedly the very best the Army has to offer as far as education and sensitivity — when you get this sort of treatment, this attitude towards the people, and you get to the specific enlisted man, he follows up on this.

Let me cite one last instance. I came in, again shortly after Tet, say one of the medical personnel who worked with me, someone I did not think was a bad guy, used to drink {15397c3} beer with him, he was in one corner of the room, what we call the “expected corner.” I am not sure if many people know what we mean by “expected corner.” Those neurosurgical casualties who are not expected to make it, in other words, their brain is gone, but their body still functions, they flail around and kick but you know they are gone, they are placed in the corner and we wait for them to die — a rather ugly time.

One of the Vietnamese was placed in the “expected corner.” When I came in there was this medic making spitballs, dropping them down the fellow’s trach tube. The man was having some delay in dying, not because of the brain, because of the general activity of the body which keeps on going after the brain is gone — your lungs keep going, and your heart keeps going. And when these spitballs went down, and the body went into huge paroxysms, blood, froth, spume, would be thrown up across that beautiful shaped quonset hut in a nice big tall arc, across the top.

It seemed to me one of the ugliest things I ever saw. I went down and threatened him with action. He laughed at me — and I must say, I know why he did; because nothing would have been done if I had reported it.

That is not to say I shoudn’t have. I am ashamed of the fact I never did. But I think you can see why; our attitude was, if we ever reported some of these incidents, nothing would ever be done.

But all of us are guilty because we did not press it to the farthest point we could. And we are here today to try to press it to the farthest point we can.

Thank you very much. (Prolonged applause).

{Joe Nielsen}

Senator McGovern.  Thank you very much, Mr. Paquet, for your testimony.

Our next witness is Mr. Joe Nielsen, of New York.

Is Mr. Nielsen here?

Mr. Nielsen.  My name is Joe Nielsen, 05251866.

In college I was a fraternity president, and captain of the football team of William and Mary College. I was going to become an IBM salesman. I was a ROTC lieutenant.

I volunteered for Nam because I believed in it. I went overseas and I came home with a wound and a couple of medals, and a condition in which a year and a half later I hold a job as a shower attendant, see a psychiatrist three times a week.

I am like a lot of GI’s who came back — I just cannot cope with what we saw there.

The Vets on the whole are a very conservative group — up until Vietnam. As you all know, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, they have all been a very conservative group. What we see right here is the amazing thing. We are having Vets who have gone through it come back and say “No.”

Most of the Vets, the people fighting the wars, are not college graduates, they are the sons of the silent majority. And the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion are saying the people here are not representative of the Vietnam Veterans. And the people here obviously feel very strongly. And the old veterans are quoting figures.

I took a survey in San Francisco of Veterans who have just come back. I would like to read a few things, because this is the main thing they are holding against this type of action that we have taken — that they are not representative, we are a small group. I will only read a few — it is a statistically valid survey, taken by myself. I will read a few of the answers, a few of the questions. I won’t go through it all.

Much of it is not — as I said, the GI’s are — they are not all as liberal or as — they don’t feel as strongly as we do, a lot of them.

How would you say your year in Vietnam has affected you as a person?”

Seventy percent said both good and bad {15398} effects. However, the comments which we got, such as “It taught me to kill and I enjoyed it. Especially those dinks,” show that a lot of them felt pretty bad about the effects it had on them.

“What are your feelings toward those males your own age who have not served in the Armed Forces and will not serve in the future?”

Only — this is surprising — only 11 percent said they felt very resentful. In other words, as one GI said, “More power to anyone who honestly gets out of it.” (Applause)

The Navy captain was saying he felt a lot of the Vietnamese people felt strongly about the war eight million approximately.

According to the Vietnam veterans whom I talked to — “the South Vietnamese people seem to be more interested in one of the following.”

Winning the war 5 percent.

Providing food money and shelter, and staying alive 83 percent.

The people want to be left alone. It is not their war. (Applause)

One GI summed it up, and said, “The men can’t fight and the women can’t” — do their thing.

Their flag tells the story. “What ain’t red is yellow.”

The terms “dinks,” “gooks” and “slopes” were constantly used in describing the Vietnamese.

“Should the ARVN be doing a greater percentage of the ground fighting?

89 percent said yes.

“Will the ARVN be able to take over all ground fighting at the end of December?” one year from the time the survey was taken.

Nixon wants all ground fighting out by this summer. 59 percent said they would not be able to take over the ground fighting in December, Nixon wants them to do it this summer.

Comments were: “They’re more concerned with avoiding the enemy than with destroying him,” and “The ARVNS obviously are cowards.”

“Do you approve or disapprove of the Moratorium Peace Protest of October 15th and November 15th, 1970 and of other peace demonstrations?”

These are the fellows who were there—

Senator McGovern.  Lt. Nielsen, could you tell us how this survey was taken? I am curious to know about how many people you surveyed, the format.

Mr. Nielsen.  The format was — I tried to go through the Army. They would not allow it of course, since — This is the first survey of its type, and the Army obviously doesn’t want these types of figures to come out. I went to them, they would not allow me to use the Oakland Base where they were out-processing the pepole. And I couldn’t use the buses where the planes came in and the GI’s were picked up by buses. So, after a big hassle, I had to wait for them at the San Francisco Airport, at which I spent three weeks or a month individually talking to GI’s. No officers nor anyone over an E-5 was questioned. It was completely voluntary.

The survey was checked by a statistical engineering company. Mason and Company, in San Francisco.

Mr. Vanik.  What was the total number of people to whom you talked?

Mr. Nielsen.  I questioned 280, and eliminated some because of various reasons and came up with 244.

It says: Give your name, age. My name is Joe Nielsen, 27, lieutenant; dates in Nam, September ‘67 to September ‘68 — no, ‘68 to ‘69. And my home town is Bayside, New York.

On the peace thing, 50 percent approved of the peace demonstrations. Now, this is really going to blow some people’s minds, especially the older people, who categorize, like {15398c2} Agnew does, the Vietnam Veterans. He would rather have one platoon of fellows fighting from Vietnam — I don’t know — than hundred thousand of the long-haired demonstrators.

What he doesn’t know, it is not that simple. Many of the people over there, the only difference between the Vietnam Veterans and the people in Washington is that they are in the Army and have short hair. (Applause).

“Did you see any racial discrimination in Vietnam among the troops?” 52 percent said yes.

“While in Vietnam did you smoke marijuana?” It was not as high as one might think: 48 percent said no, they didn’t. (Laughter)

One guy said “My job was to stay high 14 hours a day.”

Another said “It seems a farce to throw draftees in jail for smoking grass, with all the other things happening in Nam.”

Here is one that will get to a lot of guys!

According to what you have actually seen and participated in, the alleged massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American infantry at My Lai was:

One isolated incident that occurred, 26 percent; one of a few incidents that occurred, 23 percent; one of many incidents that occurred, 15 percent. In other words we said, “Don’t tell us war stories or rumors Tell us what you have seen or participated in.”

Another 15 percent surprised me, since I was not involved in anything like that, it surprised me. But some of the comments I would like to read then I will go:

“I would and could kill women and children, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”

“I learned to kill and enjoy it. Especially those people.”

Killing Vietnamese people is “like killing animals after awhile.”

“After you are there for awhile, you hate them all.”

“I have no pity on any Vietnamese. They all get what they deserve.”

“They are just gooks.”

Fourteen and a half percent thought the men who were involved in the alleged My Lai Incident should be given a court-martial.

The rest think they should be set free, various other things.

I would like to give you a quote from a GI when I asked if he had anything to say. He said he would like to characterize the war as: “The incompetent telling the unwilling to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful.” (Prolonged applause)




Author of the Survey

Mr. Joseph Neilson is a graduate of William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he obtained an ROTC commission upon graduation in June, 1967. While in college, Mr. Neilson was President of his fraternity, Sigma Nu, and an All Southern Conference Football choice. He entered the army as an Artillery Lieutenant on 26 September, 1967 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Mr. Neilson volunteered for Vietnam duty because of his agreement with the United States war policy and arrived in Vietnam in September, 1968. After a year in Vietnam, he returned to the United States with a wound, a Bronze Star, and a total disillusionment with America’s role in the war. Mr. Neilson believes that the GI’s true opinions of the war are not being told to the public but that manufactured opinions are being used by politicians such as Vice-President Agnew and President Nixon as a major reason to continue the war. Mr. Neilson decided that a survey of Vietnam Veterans would best destroy these myths. {15398c3}

The Survey

The survey was checked for statistical validity in San Francisco by James Klein, a marketing engineer, then working for Mason and Company. The reason why a survey of GIs has not been taken in the past is that the army has not allowed it. Mr Neilson first attempted to take the survey at the Oakland Army Outprocessing Center. The army would not allow this nor would they consent to Mr. Neilson riding with the GIs from the plane arriving from Vietnam to the Oakland Outprocessing Center. Finally, Mr. Neilson had to settle for interviewing GIs at a rate of one or two at a time at the San Francisco commercial airport as the GIs waited for flights home. Two hundred and forty-four (244) GIs were then interviewed over a course of three weeks.

The people in the United States have heard the views of just about everyone on the subject of Vietnam. Books, articles, newspapers, interviews, speeches, editorials, and surveys have made it the most publicized war in history. Yet we have not heard the opinions of those whom the war effort affects the most, the young men. No, not the young men as defined by the news media, but the other silent young who actually fight the war.

And, why haven’t we heard from these men before — in a large poll or survey? Very simply because the U.S. Army, in their perverted view of the Bill of Bights, are fearful that a group of American GIs freely expressing their constitutionally insured right of free speech will somehow break down the delicate fabric of public confidence and optimism concerning the Vietnam war. I believe their rationalized thinking is best expressed by a Colonel at the Oakland Army base who served one year in Vietnam safe in the confines of a division base camp. “Remember that the kids are young, somewhat immature, and their view of the war is limited to their narrow experiences.” I suppose he would like us to blindly believe the official army view that we never suffer defeats, the enemy’s casualties are always 5 to 10 times ours, less than 1% of the GIs smoke pot, and victory is right around the corner if only we use more force and be patient.

After receiving absolutely no cooperation from the Army, I interviewed 244 enlisted Vietnam Veterans, under the rank of Staff Sergeant E-6, as they awaited transportation home from the San Francisco airport. The reason why no officers of enlisted men above the rank of E-5 were interviewed was because I wanted to have a true picture of “our boys.”

As to be expected, those interviewed were young, mostly in the 20-22 age group. A very large majority never voted to elect the officials who sent them to Vietnam. They were the sons of the silent majority of the sons of the underprivileged. Less than 10% were college graduates but more than 10% were high school dropouts. In writing comments to questions asked, many GIs had trouble spelling relatively simple words. Usually each sentence had 3 or 4 grammatical errors. Some times a group of words made no sense. The Spanish speaking GI had the most difficulty: a few asked to have the questions read aloud because they could not understand the English.

It seems that in Vietnam “You won’t find college graduates in Infantry foxholes,” said one college graduate with the water-logged 9th Division. “At least 80% of those fellows I graduated with never served in the Armed Forces. And those that did, like me, were held in base camp jobs typing and doing paper work.” It would be very interesting to find out what the education level is of the young men who died in Vietnam (89% of those killed in Vietnam were under 26 years of age) and what their fathers’ incomes are. The figures are “unavailable” according to the army. I believe they would show quite con- {15399} clusively who is fighting our democratic Vietnam war.


The GIs were given a question and usually 3 or 4 answers to choose from. If they disliked all the given answers, they were allowed to skip the question or write their own comment. GIs who answered the questions were also encouraged to write comments.

Q.  Now that you are back in the United States what will you do? (If ETS is within a few months, please answer as if you’re out of the army.)

(A)  Return to old job (16%).

(B)  Apply for a new job (12%).

(C)  Return to school (59%).

(D)  Other, please state (13%).

A disappointing 59 % said they intended to return to school, and many indicated it would be a trade school or night school How many of these men will actually follow through is open to question, but the government could mount a more effective campaign to push these veterans back into the classroom for the education they sorely need in today’s world

Q.  How would you say your year in Vietnam has affected you as a person?

(A)  Had a good effect on me (19%).

(B)  Had both good and bad effects on me (70%).

(C)  Had a bad effect on me (6%).

(D)  Other, please state (5%).

Briefly explain answer.

Some comments (“more confident — more mature — learned to accept responsibility”) emphasized the good, but other comments, such as “It taught me to kill and I enjoyed it. Especially those dinks” written by a door gunner with the 1st Cav., and a Spec. 4 with the 168th Engineers wrote, “I have seen how rotten America really is,” which showed the scars of war

Q.  Would you like your brother (assume you have one) to go through a Vietnam tour?

(A)  Yes, definitely (5%).

(B)  Yes, with reservations (15%).

(C)  No, I would not (75%).

(D)  Other, please state (5%).

A full 75% would not like their brothers to go through a Vietnam tour and 15% said yes with reservations The reservation was usually that the brother would not be in the infantry Only 5% said yes definitely. A “grunt” with the 101st Airborne best expressed the overwhelming general statement of sentiment, “I went through it, but I pray to God my brother never goes.” It seems that although most believe Vietnam produced a few positive results, the year spent learning was hell and too large a price to pay. A Spec. 4 who worked with the 18th Recon in the Americal Division wrote, “It wrecked one year of my life,” and another Spec. 4 with the 1st Cav. wrote, “I’d never go through it again.”

Q.  What are your feelings toward those males your own age who have not served in the Armed Forces and will not serve in the future?

(A)  Very resentful, everyone who is normally fit should serve (11%).

(B)  Resentful, but only to those who lied or cheated to beat the draft (86%).

(C)  I did the correct thing and don’t care what others did (11%).

(D)  All those who escaped the draft are lucky, and I do not resent them (39%).

(E)  Other, please state (3%).

One might expect the GIs who served in the Armed Forces 2 or 3 years, with one year in Vietnam, to be resentful of those who do not serve. But, only 11% felt very resentful toward all who did not serve. A Spec. 4 with the 9th Infantry Division summed up the feeling, “More power to anyone who honestly gets out of it.” Combining (B) and (D) {15399c2} we get 75% of the GIs stating that they don’t feel resentful to those who don’t serve as long as they didn’t lie or cheat to get out of the service.

Q.  The South Vietnamese people seem to be most interested in which of the following:

(A)  Winning the war (5%).

(B)  Following Village laws and customs (5%).

(C)  Supporting the Saigon Government (5%).

(D)  Providing food, money, and shelter for themselves and family (54%).

(E)  Fighting the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese (5%).

(F)  Staying alive (29%).

(G)  Other, please state (1%).

The GIs believe that the Vietnamese attitude toward the war borders on “total indifference,” and the men seem quite resentful. “The people want to be left alone” ... Spec. 4, 101st Airborne. “They worry about nothing but themselves,” ... Spec. 4 with the 1st Cav. ... The men were even more resentful toward the Vietnamese attitude toward the GI’s money. Time and time again the men commented that the Vietnamese were interested in “taking your money” ... Spec. 4 John M Bayette; “Soaking GIs for as much as possible” ... Spec. 5 1st Avn. Bde.; “Making money from GIs and living off the war” ... Spec. 4 1st Engineer Bde., 1st Division; “Making money off the GIs” ... Pfc 9th Infantry.

Combining (A), (C), and (E) we get only 11% who feel the Vietnamese are motivated in the war while 83% from (D) and (F) believe that the Vietnamese are most interested in “staying alive” and in “food, money, and shelter.” The GI is resentful that he risks his life while those whose freedom he fights for seem to be primarily motivated in taking his money. One GI summed up the resentment “The men can’t fight and the women can’t — . Their flag tells the story: “what ain’t red is yellow.” The term “dinks,” “gooks,” and “slopes” were constantly used in describing the Vietnamese.

Q.  What was the attitude of the South Vietnamese people with which you were in contact toward winning the war?

(A)  Very determined to win the war (10%).

(B)  Moderately determined to win the war (24%).

(C)  Not concerned with the war (45%).

(D)  Not determined to win (8%).

(E)  Other, please state (8%).

Again the comments were overwhelmingly resentful toward the Vietnamese war effort. A Spec. 5 with the 1st Infantry Division wrote, “They don’t care whose side they’re on as long as it’s the winning side.” A Spec. 5 Crew Chief stated, “They want to win but want someone else to win it.” And, another GI wrote, “The only time they are concerned is when they are directly involved either physically or financially.” A Spec. 4 with the 1st Infantry Division wrote, “The Vietnamese people don’t care about anything except a peaceful life.” And, again, as in the previous question, the GIs made comments concerning the Vietnamese thirst for the GI dollar. A Spec. 5 with USARV HQ said, “They only want to make a buck and keep themselves alive.”

Q.  How is the American Pacification program (winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people) working?

(A)  Working very well (17%).

(B)  Working moderately well (46%).

(C)  Working poorly (20%).

(D)  Not working at all (7%).

(E)  Other, please state (10%).

Many GIs seem to feel progress is being made but a Spec. 4 with the 9th Inf. Div. said, “It’s slow since the population is hard to control and moves a lot.” A Spec. 5 with the MACV said, “It’s more like buying their hearts and minds.” Most veterans readily admit that most pacified areas will fall back {15399c3} to enemy control once the Americans leave completely

Q.  Should the ARVN be doing a greater percentage of the ground fighting?

(A)  Should be doing a much larger percentage of the ground fighting (71%).

(B)  Should be doing a slightly larger percentage of the ground fighting (18%).

(C)  Should be doing about the same amount of ground fighting (6%).

(D)  Should be doing less ground fighting (2%).

(E)  Other, please state (3%).

The GIs obviously believe the ARVN should be doing more fighting A Spec. 4 with the 4th Infantry said, “They should be doing all the fighting. It’s their country, isn’t it?”

Q.  Will the ARVN be able to take over all the ground fighting at the end of December 1971 (one year from now)?

(A)  Yes, definitely (8%).

(B)  Yes, but with occasional ground (infantry) help (23%).

(C)  No, but should be able to soon after December, 1971 (21%).

(D)  No, definitely not (38%).

(E)  Other, please state (10%).

With the administration setting a deadline of this summer as the time the ARVN won’t be able to do it 59% state “No” definitely (C and D), and 23% state “Yes” (B) but with occasional American ground Infantry help. Only 8% say definitely “Yes.” The GIs’ scorn for the ARVN is quite open. “They’re more concerned with avoiding the enemy than destroying him,” a Pfc with the 9th Inf. wrote. A Spec. 4 with the 4th Infantry said, “The ARVNs are obviously cowards.” Most GIs did feel that the ARVNs were getting better, however.

Q.  Do you approve or disapprove of the way in which President Nixon is handling the war?

(A)  Definitely approve (24%).

(B)  Moderately approve (26%).

(C)  Moderately disapprove (17%).

(D)  Definitely disapprove (13%).

(E)  Undecided (10%).

Briefly explain answer.

The men generally approve of Nixon’s handling of the war so far “His policy is the only way out” and “He’s making the best of a bad situation” were two pro-Nixon quotes. The men who disagree with Nioxn’s policies usually want a faster rate of withdrawal.

Q.  Concerning the troop pullout rate, should President Nixon ...

(A)  Pull all troops out immediately (16%).

(B)  Pull troops out faster (27%).

(C)  Pull troops out at the same rate (33%).

(D)  Pull troops out slower (12%).

(E)  Other, please state (12%).

Some men seem to feel that Nixon should pull the troops out faster (43% from A and B) while others (12% from D) are for a slower withdrawal The men who choose (D) usually a have such comments as “Bomb Hanoi” and “Stop treating them with kid gloves.” A very interesting aspect is that many GIs simply do not believe that Nixon is pulling out as many troops as he says he is. “He puts back as many as he pulls out” and “There is a plane of replacements for every one that leaves” are typical comments.

Q.  Which of the following closest fits your description of how the Vietnamization of the war is progressing?

(A)  Very successful (10%).

(B)  Moderately successful (55%).

(C)  At a standstill (18%).

(D)  Not successful (14%).

(E)  Other, please state (3%).

Again the GIs show optimism about moderate progress, but, as in the pacification program, show a pessimism about what will happen when the Americans leave. “There is progress, but it’s slow and I’m not optimistic about what will happen when we’ll pull out,” wrote a Pfc.

Q.  Do you approve or disapprove of the Moratorium Peace Protest, of October 15th {15400} and November 15th, 1970 and of other peace demonstrations?

(A)  Definitely approve (27%).

(B)  Moderately approve (22%).

(C)  Do not approve (35%).

(D)  Do not approve and protesters should be jailed (8%).

(E)  Other, please state (8%).

In a surprising move, 49% (A and B) approved of the peace demonstrations while 43% (C and D) disapproved. A Spec. 5 radio operator wrote, “I was in Nam but my wife was marching in San Francisco. We’ll make the next one together.” Another Spec. 4 said, “It’s the greatest thing to happen in years.” However, the other side of the coin was commented on by a Sgt E-5 with the 1st Cav., “Protesters and protests hurt morale and give VC/NVA a psychological advantage.” It seems strange that those men fighting the war would approve of a peace demonstration but not as strange as it seems when you remember that 80% of the grunts are from draftees who were forced to fight or go to jail. Those in Vietnam do not want to be there but have little choice.

Vice President Agnew in his glorification of the Vietnam GI as opposed to the “Peacenik Protester” seems to think that they are made of different material. Not only is this not true but it seems that the only difference between some GIs in Nam and demonstrators is that one has avoided the army.

Q.  How would you rate your officers concerning their overall job efficiency?

Lieutenants and captainsPercent
(A)  Excellent 17
(B)  Good 36
(C)  Fair 22
(D)  Poor 19
(E)  Other, please state 6
Majors, colonels and generals
(A)  Excellent 12
(B)  Good 32
(C)  Fair 30
(D)  Poor 20
(E)  Other, please state 6

One Spec. 4 wrote, “The higher they go, the stupider they seem to get.”

Q.  What is your estimate of the M-16 rifle for use in Vietnam?

(A)  Excellent (60%).

(B)  Good (28%).

(C)  Fair (2%).

(D)  Poor (1%).

(E)  Other, please state (9%).

The GIs were almost unanimous in their agreement that the M-16 is an “excellent” or “good” weapon. All comments were favorable. A Spec. 4 with the 4th Inf. commented, No one walks away from it,” and a poetic grunt wrote, “Keep it clean, it’s a bad machine.”

Q.  Are the body counts of Viet Cong and NVA reported from your unit correct?

(A)  Very accurate (23%).

(B)  Moderately accurate (21%).

(C)  Not accurate at all (24%).

(D)  Misrepresented (10%).

(E)  Other, please state (22%).

It seems that many GIs feel that the body counts, which the army uses as succees indicators are inaccurate and inflated.

Q.  Did you see any radical discrimination in Vietnam?

(A)  Yes, definitely (26%).

(B)  Yes, but only once or twice (26%).

(C)  No racial discrimination seen (46%).

(D)  Other, please state.

If A or B chosen, briefly explain.

The army still has problems in the area of racial problems. 52% (A and B) said they did see racial discrimination. A Spec. 6 with the 101st Airborne Div. wrote, “Only a few lifers from the south still believe white is better than black” and a Pfc with the 4th Division said, “It’s part of our social system.” The Blacks interviewed were split 50-50 as to if there were any incidences of racial discrimination. Robert Tallery, a Black Marine, {15400c2} said, “The U.S. Gov’t should handle its own problems before trying to solve the problems of other countries.”

A surprising backlash occurred with some whites stating that the blacks were discriminating against the whites. A Spec. 4 with the 4th Inf. commented, “The black man shows considerable prejudice toward the whites.”

Q.  How would you rate the morale of the United States troops?

(A)  Excellent (16%).

(B)  Good (40%).

(C)  Fair (24%).

(D)  Poor (17%).

(E)  other, please state (3%).

Apparently morale is not as good as the Government says nor as bad as some make it out to be. A Spec. 4 with the 1st Log Command, said “The reason morale is good at all is because we know we go home at the end of one year We count each day.”

Q.  What happened to your body weight in Vietnam?

(A)  No change (30%).

(B)  Gained weight (18%).

(C)  Lost 1 to 15 pounds (33%).

(D)  Lost 16 to 30 pounds (14%).

(E)  Lost 31 pounds or more (5%).

With the climate and the food most, especially those in combat units, tend to lose weight.

Q.  While in Vietnam did you smoke marijuana (pot)?

(A)  No (48%).

(B)  Yes, 1 to 5 times (18%).

(C)  Yes, 6 to 20 times (9%).

(D)  Yes, 21 times or more (22%).

(E)  Comments, please state (3%).

With the pressure of a war half-way around the world resting on their shoulders the availability of pot in Vietnam and a permissive social attitude in the United States, 49% of those interviewed smoked pot while in Vietnam. Yet, a survey in the U.S. of young people the same age and backgrounds taken for a one year period would surely show the same or higher results. A Spec. 4 wrote, “See a good buddy die or listen to him scream and they ask you why you smoke pot.” “If it wasn’t for grass, I probably would have gone insane,” said another. A Spec. 4 with the 9th Inf. said, “My job was to stay high 24 hours a day.” “It seems a farce to throw draftees in jail for smoking grass with all the other things happening in Vietnam,” said another Spec. 4.

One must remember, however, that 48% reported that they had not smoked.

Q.  According to what you have actually seen and participated in, the alleged massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American Infantry at My Lai was:

(A)  one isolated incident that occurred (26%).

(B)  One of a few similar incidents that occurred (23%).

(C)  One of many similar incidents that occurred (12%).

(D)  Other, briefly explain (39 %).

Briefly explain answer.

The question was phrased in an attempt to eliminate rumors and hearsay. The 39% (D) had no personal knowledge of the incident, did not reply, or had specific comments. A shocking 12% stated that it was one of a few similar incidents and at least 3% of the comments in (D) could be fitted into the (C) category. This would total 15% for (C). 23% believed it was one of a few similar incidents. Some quotes were as shocking as the Life magazine photos. “I would and did kill women and kids, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here.” A Spec. 4 said with an intense smile, “I learned to kill and enjoy it. Especially those people.” It became obvious that the more combat experience a man had the more easily he acknowledged that such incidents are possible “especially because of our low regard for the Vietnamese which makes killing them like killing ani- {15400c3} mals,” said one “grunt.” A Pfc. with the 1st Cav. commented, “After you are there for a while, you hate them all.” Another soldier wrote, “I have no pity on any Vietnamese. They all get what they deserve.” This dehumanization seems to be a primary reason why a My Lai could occur. “They’re just gooks,” a Spec. 4 put in.

Q.  Should the men involved in the alleged My Lai massacre be:

(A)  Given a court martial (14-1/2%).

(B)  Given a reprimand (14-1/2%).

(C)  Set free (49%).

(D)  Other, please state (22%).

Of the 14-1/2% who stated that the men should be given a court martial, many qualified that by saying “only the officers should be court martialed. The others were just following orders.” It seems the vast majority of GIs feel that the men involved in the massacre should be set free or given a reprimand but not court martialed. As a trooper wrote, “Condemn war, not those forced to fight it.”

Q.  Did the United States make a mistake when it became involved in the Vietnam War?

(A)  Made a serious mistake (38%).

(B)  Made a slight mistake (9%).

(C)  Made no mistake but fought the war incorrectly (40%).

(D)  Made no mistake (10%).

(E)  other, please state.

Briefly explain answer.

Many GIs believe that Vietnam was fought incorrectly and that “they had to play politics and as a result a lot of good men are dead.” Many men answering with (C) or (D believe that if we were going to fight the war we should “Bomb hell out of North Vietnam and declare war.” Those answering with (A) and (B) made such comments as “Killing and death are always serious mistakes;” “It wasn’t any of our business,” and “No 3rd power has the right to interfere in a civil conflict.

When I asked one grunt if he had anything else to say about the war, he volunteered a beautiful description, of the war: ¶

“This war can be summed up as the incompetent telling the unwilling to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful.”


Senator McGovern.  Lt. Nielson, I wonder if we could ask just one question of you before you leave.

I have been very much concerned, and know other members of the Congress have been, about the treatment and consideration given to Veterans coming back from this war. I wonder if you would just very briefly address yourself to the kind of reception the veterans are getting, specifically with reference to employment, education, and health care, these three problems.

Mr. Nielsen.  Well, specifically what I can say is that the thing that concerns me is my condition. I went to an Army doctor twice. The first two times I was there I was involved in arguments with the doctor. He wasn’t — he is an old man, served with Patton (laughter). All the doctors in the Veterans Hospital, they are very old, and they cannot make it on the outside. Some are good, I suppose, but I just didn’t happen to run into any.

I still have a crotch condition, the fungus stuff, you know, from Vietnam. I just could not take it any more, so I had to go to the outside, where I have to pay.

I am getting $25.00 a month, but that doesn’t help me very much.

Senator McGovern.  What about the job situation?

Mr. Nielsen.  That doesn’t concern me. My shower attendant’s job suffices me. I don’t want another job right now.

Senator McGovern.  How about the educational benefits? Not just yourself.

Mr. Nielsen.  I suppose they are there but I guess they are $175 a month fulltime, Senator. {15401}

Senator McGovern.  And you have to pay the tuition, books, everything else?

Mr. Nielsen.  Pay the tuition, and you have to live off that. And it is impossible to do. Many veterans want — since the veterans are an undereducated group, many veterans want to go back to school. However, with the type of money, unless they live at home with mom and dad — after going to Vietnam — they wouldn’t be able to do it.

I think that in the case of the education they should be allowed a little more money, not a lot more.

I think the veterans job-wise — I received letters, but I never looked into it.

The big thing, I would say, is that as far as the medical facilities in the Veterans Hospital — I was in a Veterans Hospital, I was operated on, I had both eyes covered. I was left alone. I came out of it alone, the anesthesia. They left a tube in my arm in which water was still going in. It was a mistake, supposed to have been taken out. So all during the night while I was alone, and there were sides on my bed, because I couldn’t see, bandages on my eyes, I had to get out of bed, keeping this tube in, I thought it was supposed to be in, get out of bed blind, search for the urine pitcher, urinate, get back in the bed.

At the end of the night I flipped out; I couldn’t see, I didn’t know what was happened, I flipped out.

That is the type of treatment I found.

I found the doctors — the doctors — they just are more interested in your political views on what is happening in Vietnam.

Mr. Vanik.  Notwithstanding your personal preferences, your employability has certainly changed between the time you went in and the time you came out.

Mr. Nielsen.  I am a different person. I started in one way, I am a different person now.

Mr. Vanik.  You are a different person.

Thank you.

Senator McGovern.  Congressman Vanik referred to one of the differences between this war and World War II. I think another very distinct difference is that we came back from World War II, those of us who were involved, feeling we were heroes and that we would be well received by the country, and in general we were. And the benefits were somewhat generous.

I take it from your testimony and other things that I have read that not only does the veteran coming back from this war lack the sense of satisfaction of a grateful country, but also the benefits are pretty stingy. Is that a fair picture?

Mr. Nielsen.  The benefits are stingy. But I think I could take the benefits if I was involved in World War II as opposed to the Vietnam War, which I now believe is immoral, and I am guilty by what I did over there, some of the events I was involved in.

If it happened again — There is no way I could go over there. (Prolonged applause).

{Dale Granata}

Senator McGovern.  Thank you very much, Lt. Nielson.

Our next witness is Dale Granata, a Navy veteran.

Mr. Granata.  Thank you. I will be as brief as I can. My name is Dale Granata, Quartermaster 3rd class, U.S. Naval Reserve, 9987320.

I spent eight months, about, I spent one year in (?) which is what you call a Vietnam cruise. I spent 8 months, about, off Vietnam.

This is a letter that I have sent to both my Senators, Senator Javits and Senator Buckley, and Congressman Otis Pike, informing them of what I feel are crimes my crew and I were involved in against humanity.

“I have reason to believe that I and the crew of the Richard Anderson are guilty of great crimes against humanity. {15401c2}

In early April 1966 off the coast of South Vietnam near Hue the Anderson moved to within four thousand nautical yards of a fishing village, sometime in the early morning. As the fishermen left the village in their boats for their daily harvest of the sea the Anderson opened up on the village. We were told that the village was a Viet Cong village and that it must be destroyed. These were our orders. The Anderson fired so many 4-gun salvos that many of the pipes and tissues came apart beneath them.”

It was an old ship, built in 1945.

“Spotter planes reported people in the open fleeing, running across fields, so the Anderson switched from high explosive projectiles to the frag projectiles, variable-time fragmentary shells which are extremely effective for killing people. They fragment and chop people up. After we had chopped up people, we “walked our guns” up zero meters, repeat, repeat fire for effect, up 5 meters repeat, repeat fire for effect.

“It seems to me incongruous VC would be fleeing across fields. At one time were firing across people. Then we had to lower our guns to zero elevation, cock them up this way.”

But the whole thing, the reason I wrote this, is because of the Calley trial. All of a sudden it came to me that what I felt all along was a justifiable act was no more justifiable, because Lt. Calley — this is not in the letter, I am going to be extemporaneous now — but Lt. Calley is guilty because he could see who he killed, but I am not guilty because I couldn’t see them. There seems to be some sort of a half-pregnant rule there.

I will go on with my letter.

“About six hours and 278 rounds later the village was completely destroyed. When I say ‘completely’ I mean completely. We put about 30 VT frag and 30 Willy Peters” — a white phosphorous, an incendiary shell, does a very good job on anything that is not blown up — “and everything else was high explosive.

“I believe the village had no warning that they were coming.”

I put in parenthesis “How could they? The VC would leave.”

“There were secondary explosions (evidence of stored ammo).”

A secondary explosion means there must be ammo.

“And I guess these explosions justified the massacre of the people of that village and the destroying of that village itself. And I repeat again, I was told that everybody in there was a VC. When will this all stop?

“Sincerely yours, ¶

Dale Granata.”

I have so far received this response from Senator James L. Buckley:

“Dear Mr. Granata.

Your letter arrived and I am making appropriate inquiries in your behalf. As soon as I have appropriate information you will hear from me further with a more detailed response.

Assuring you of my continued interest in this matter, I am sincerely yours,

James L. Buckley.” ¶


I sincerely hope that James L. Buckley and Senator Javits and Congressmen Otis Pike look into this matter. And if they find that the Navy — the reason I am so familiar with this is that I was Quartermaster during most of the incident, and a Quartermaster in the Navy keeps the log. You have to write down in the log how many shells you fire, you have to take note of that. That is the reason I am so familiar with it.

I sincerely hope my senators and Congressman Pike, if they can substantiate what I have written to them, bring this before the public as one more example of the way we conduct the war in Vietnam.

Thank you.

(Call of “Right on.” Prolonged applause.)

{Everett Carson}

Senator McGovern.  I wish we had more time to question each one of these witnesses. But we do have a number of other witnesses waiting to be heard. We will have to move on. {15401c3}

The next witness is Mr. Everett Carson, a platoon commander with the 9th Marine Regiment.

Mr. Carson.

Mr. Carson.  There probably are others here who participated in Operation Dewey Canyon 1.

We gave a statement yesterday morning to Congressman McCloskey regarding our activities in Laos. That was on the record. I would like to put some of that on the record.

I served with the Golf Company, 6th Battalion, 9th Marines, in October 1968 to the 22nd of February 1969.

We went out on about the 22nd of February, 1969, on an operation called Dawson River, which was later changed to Operation Dewey Canyon 1. My particular platoon entered Laos, not in hot pursuit, on I believe the 24th or 25th of February 1969.

Before my platoon from Golf Company had entered, Hotel Company 29 had gone down, and on the evening, I believe, of the 24th of February had sprung a reinforced platoon-sized ambush on Route 922, which is about 1500 or 2000 meters inside the Laotian border. Following Hotel had come Echo Company of the 29th, and they had likewise been running ambushes, been running patrols down along Route 922.

Fox Company was a little bit closer to the border, and going in a parallel direction with Hotel and Echo, about 1000 meters to their east, closer to the Vietnam-Lao border, but still inside Laos.

And Golf Company, which had been split because of enemy attack on the LZ after the first squad of my platoon had been lifted into Laos, was split and did not get back together until later in the operation.

But I think — well, when I got back — I had enlisted in the Marines, and my feelings on the war were pretty touch and go. When I got back, knowing I had been in Laos, and began reading the paper accounts of Dewey Canyon, and everything was taking place in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, I began to wonder.

And at Colby College in Maine on May 5 last year Senator Margaret Chase Smith and I had an exchange. As you probably know, she is the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. We had an exchange, and she didn’t know American forces had entered Laos in February 1969.

Thus, I simply would like to bring these facts to the attention of people.

There is one Medal of Honor citation to Corporal Daniel Morgan from Hotel Company which reads “Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.” In fact, he was killed down along 922, inside Laos.

Extensive operations for programs 14 days took place by the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, also the 1st Battalion, with whom I had no personal contact, but I have heard people from it talk about being inside Laos further to the south.

Senator McGovern.  Were you aware at the time that Congress had specifically prohibited the use of American ground forces in Laos?

Mr. Carson.  No, sir, I was not.

Senator McGovern.  Do you recall any discussion of that kind? Were you told to keep this operation quiet?

Mr. Carson.  We were told not to talk with newsmen about the fact we had entered Laos.

Senator McGovern.  You were actually in there in a ground combat role as early as February 1969?

Mr. Carson.  Yes, sir, we were.

Senator McGovern.  How many troops do you think were involved in that operation?

Mr. Carson.  As far as — we were way under strength by this point, in Dewey Canyon, because we had been engaging in substantial enemy forces. But with the exception of a very small portion of Golf Company we were in — excuse me — a very small portion of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, they were all in {15402} there, which would have been about six hundred or seven hundred men, probably. I believe the entire 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, was in Laos; perhaps 1200 or 1600 men.

I would like to reiterate that this was not a hot pursuit mission. In fact it was held to what we would call a cool LZ, inside Laos.

Senator McGovern.  Was it a rescue operation of very short duration, to take the pressure off forces? What do you think was the nature of it?

Mr. Carson.  The nature of it was to run interdiction missions and ambush missions along Route 922, which was one of the major supply routes into the Ashau Valley.

Mr. Vanik.  How far inside Laos?

Mr. Carson.  We were between 1000 meters and 6000 or 8000 meters, I would say.

I believe Hotel Company set up night defensive perimeters on the other side of Route 922 as far inside as 4000 to 6000 meters.

It is not terribly far. But the fact remains, Route 922 was inside Laos, and we all knew it.

Senator McGovern.  But you became aware after you came back to the United States that that operation was in violation of the action of the Congress in preventing American ground forces from going into Laos?

Mr. Carson.  I did later on become aware of that fact, yes, sir. I brought it to Senator Smith’s attention in Maine. I don’t know whether or not she followed up on it. But I mentioned it again when we met with Senator Smith two days ago.

Senator McGovern.  Do you have anything else to add Mr. Carson?

Senator Mondale of Minnesota.

Senator Mondale.  Hello, how are you? (Applause.)

Senator Mondale.  I understand the one thing you don’t need is one more speech. I had the best one to be given today, but instead of giving it I will leave it for the record, and thank you very much for coming.

I will give you a one sentence speech:

Let’s get out of Vietnam. (Prolonged applause.)


“Statement by
Senator Walter Mondale

“I can’t add much to the eloquent and moving testimony of John Kerry yesterday at the Foreign Relations. Committee.

“He said it all.

“This war is an incredible tragedy — for America and for Indochina.

“We’ve got to end it. We’ve got to bring our men home.

“Some — like Senator McGovern — saw the folly and outrage of the war long before it was understood by the country.

We’re permanently indebted to their courage and wisdom.

“Others — and that certainly includes myself — stood by either in illusion or silent doubt.

“We were never more wrong.

“But I think this country is coming to its senses — and you’ve helped us.

“Your conduct this week — your dedication and restraint in the face of an unfeeling Administration — has reminded us all that decency and idealism and compassion can survive even the horrors of this war.

“You’re living testimony to that.

“For all its disgrace and torment, this war has also given us you — a generation of young Americans who really care.

“And you are our best hope that we won’t relive this tragedy again.

John Kerry said yesterday that your commanders — the men who made this war in the Johnson Administration and the Nixon Administration — had either run out or ignored you.

“I want you to know that there are a lot of us here in the Senate who are not going to run out.

“We’re going to ask the questions John Kerry posed yesterday: {15402c2}

“‘How do you ask a man to be the last to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?’

“I ask this Administration: How will they answer John Kerry and the millions he represents?

“We’re going to work until this war is done.

“We’re going to do our best to help you get the jobs and education and health care you deserve until that’s done.

“And when we’ve repaid your sacrifice, we’re going to join you in trying to put this country truly together — so that our children will be free of the agonies you have known.”


Senator McGovern.  Thank you very much, Senator Mondale. You are even better when you are brief. (Laughter.)

Senator Mondale.  I learned that by watching you, George.

{Forrest Berry Lindley, Jr.}

Senator McGovern.  Our next witness is Mr. Forrest Lindley, Jr.

Is he here?

Mr. Lindley.  Yes, sir.

Senator McGovern.  Thank you very much, Mr. Carson, for your testimony.

Mr. Lindley.  I, too, have had a similar experience.

My name is Forrest Berry Lindley, Jr. I reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Serial Number 302405148. I am a captain in the United States Army.

My experience has been somewhat quite similar to Lt. Talcott’s. I joined the Army immediately after high school, 10 days before I was supposed to go to college. I volunteered for OCS. After OCS I volunteered for Airborne School, Special Warfare School, French Language School.

When I arrived in Vietnam I volunteered for the Vietnamese Airborne Advisory Team. I served with the Vietnamese Airborne for a year. I then extended voluntarily 6 months, and served with the 6th Special Forces Group in Vietnam.

I had a fire base, fire base Annie.

During the seige of Bu Krang in November 1969, which I was forced to abandon.

The reason I went to Vietnam and the reason I volunteered all the way was because I truly wanted to help the Vietnamese for something they believed in and I believed in.

After a year there I spoke Vietnamese, and I lived with them. Most of the time I was the only American with them. We would sit around at night out in the field, we would talk about ourselves, in Vietnamese, our families our aspirations.

I agree wholeheartedly with Lt. Stephens when he says most of these people do not support the Communists. They do not want to be Communists. What they want is peace, to be left alone, to end the war.

They don’t support the North Vietnamese the Saigon Government regime, either, because that forces them into war. They just want to end the war.

My experience is with them not wanting to fight, in many cases, to lose their lives, for something they did not believe in.

One time, the North Vietnamese mortar crew opened up on another village. You could see the mortar crew, and the flashes of the mortars. My troops refused to open fire on them because they were not shooting at them and they did not want to be shot at again by them, and die.

My experiences in war, personal experiences, of the atrocities, I cannot condone what the Communists have done, I cannot condone what we have done. But it hasn’t been Communism or Americanism that has caused these atrocities. It has been war.

I am here not for either Communism or Americanism, but for peace. (Applause.)

These things have come to me hard. I have read all the statistics and seen all the rationalizations and justification. I am here {15402c3} because of what I feel from my own experiences.

Christmas morning in 1968 we received a call that there were some wounded Vietnamese children. We went out there, and there were three children who had had their arms torn off by an M-79 grenade, a rifle grenade. This was our grenade. It was fired and did not explode. They picked it up, they were playing with it, and it blew up. This is not an intentional atrocity, but three children were maimed and one killed because of this.

I was contained in a province one night. We were rocketed by a 122 rocket. It hit a village next to us. We went over there to see what could be done for the village. It appeared for awhile no one had been hurt. I was very thankful.

Then I heard someone say “Choi, man arc,” which means “God, a child.” There in the ruins of what was once a hut was a body completely burned except for where his hide was still burning — what must have been a child about three years old.

I have gone into fire fights, done battle in combat, seen the man next to me, who wasn’t an American, just a Vietnamese, his head ripped open.

I have seen the face of a MDA soldier who had had his chest blown apart in war, when I put him aboard a Med Evac helicopter and took him to safety where he knew he would be out of war.

I have talked to Communist prisoners who don’t know what the word means, “Communism,” but do know what the American presence has done to their country. That is why they are fighting, because we are there destroying their country.

And all I ask is not for more war, which Vietnam-Saigon will bring, but an opportunity for peace to come to Vietnam, which is what the majority of the Vietnamese people truly want.

Thank you.

(Prolonged applause.)

Senator McGovern.  Thank you, Captain Lindley.

I don’t think any questions are necessary.

Mr. Lindley.  Thank you, sir.

{Sam Miller}

Senator McGovern.  We would like now to hear from Mr. Samuel Miller of Massachusetts.

Is Mr. Miller here?

Mr. Miller.  My name is Sam Miller; Ex-Sergeant of the Air force, AFSN 124532.

After I got out of Schilling Air Force Base for technical school I went to Vietnam, I was there seventeen months, working on reconnaissance aircraft. I got orders for the Philippine Islands. I was there only approximately a week, assigned to the 8th PCS. This was done so that the United States could have bombers working in Vietnam, but in theory not due to the fact that they weren’t assigned, they were on TDY and were not fully counted.

I volunteered for Vietnam PCS, and spent a year there. Through my dealings, or through my Air Force career, I would like to make a couple comments on some of the things that occurred.

I have seen Vietnamese citizens working as slowly as possible, to absolutely nil, all day, building scaffolds, erecting buildings, what have you. And at the end of the week, or by the end of the day, depending on when an American would inspect their work, find it was in point of fact wrong, and had to be done over.

I remember one day it took one Vietnamese five hours to cut a cylindrical hole through a piece of plywood, approximately 3 feet in diameter. Realizing the absurdity of this, assuming I was there helping these people, made me angry to the point I wanted to go over there and hit the guy and make him work. But I believe now that these people {15403} deliberately mess up projects in Vietnam so as to slow the American effectiveness there.

I would like to make a point concerning the black market. There were many times at Phan Rang in which we could not get high-drag bombtails for 750 bombs when there was absolutely no beer on base, no soda on base, or something totally lacking. Yet, I would go to Hongkong or Phan Rang and find high-drag bombtails in citizens yards, with flowers growing out of them. Many times they had pulled the ring off the bomb tail so it would blossom out and make a better looking object.

You could find any type of beer or cigarette, not just in cartons but complete cases. You could find anything you desired for any purpose which means all these things went to the person with the highest money. The black market there is unbelievable.

One point I would like to make a comment on is a raid which took place a very short time ago. Three or four weeks prior to the actual raid the United States may have been in point of fact conscientiously trying to relieve American POWs, but I truly believe that at the time the action took place there was no shadow of a doubt that nobody was home.

I have seen photographs taken from U2’s at a height of 52,000 feet. You wouldn’t believe the results. They will take a whole section of photographs of one particular area overlay the photographs, make one print, and I have seen this print blown up three times. And in this particular case in the photographs in the first blown-up picture you could see the television aerials, air conditioners, chimneys on roofs. You could see every street, plants in the yard and so forth, in detail.

With this type of photograph taken obviously at a lesser height you have even more detail. People are trained to look at this type of photograph and decipher them — photo interpreters.

There is no mystery here. These people look at the photographs in a logical manner and can tell approximately how many people would have been in that camp. They could have told that they were eating well or not, by the garbage piled up. They estimate there were 80 people there, about, and if the garbage is building up very slowly they are not eating well. If you can determine paths, trackways, vehicle tracks, are starting to overgrow, it is obvious they are not being used. They can even tell if the people are having problems with their bowel movements by how well the latrines are filling up. This is a fact.

There is also infrared attached to aircraft, and with this infrared highly sophisticated electronic gear within 24-to-48 hours you can see where a fire used to be and how many people were sitting around that fire, and you can tell very closely how many vehicles went down the road. Within five days it will tell the flow, whether it was heavy or not, not specifically, I don’t think, but definitely within a 24-hour period or 48 hour-period, you have great clarity.

So I am saying, with our reconnaissance aircraft the United States knew exactly the satus on that POW Camp. And if you say possibly the aircraft did fly over a week ago, two weeks ago, and they had analyzed these photographs and decided we were going to go, the aircraft were also equipped with a cassette mechanism, and there is a cartridge that holds 500 feet of film, or you can put in 250 feet of film, and 250 feet of positive, and take off, fly over a designated area, take the pictures, come back; by the time the aircraft is flying over our position the pictures are already developed and shot out of the bottom of the aircraft and parachuted to the ground.

So I am saying, within the last hour or two hours they would have known absolutely the status of that present POW Camp. I believe, consequently, it was carried out solely for propaganda purposes against the American public.

(Applause) {15403c2}

In a way, everything you say is opinion, because it is seen through your eyes and it is your assessment. So if I say President Kennedy or President Nixon were too thin, or I say Laird and Nixon are overweight, or they are ugly that is an opinion.

But I am saying Laird and Nixon are liars.

(Calls of “Right on.”)

(Prolonged applause.)

I am making this statement from my Air Force career, through my experience working on reconnaissance aircraft also while stationed at Phan Rang I was with the 8th PBS.

During 1968 either my squadron or the squads around my area were bombing in Laos and in Cambodia I know this for a fact. We were told not to write home about it, our parents shouldn’t know.

In 1967 and 1968 there was a place in Thailand where we supposedly had no bombers in Thailand yet the 8th PBS had a place called NKP, in Thailand, where these aircraft were landing to refuel if necessary, for them to return to Phan Rang. We were told this was a secret turnaround base. I would like to know how in hell a B57 could land and take off, and nobody notice it.

Again, somebody is giving a snow-job to the American public — nobody else.

After I got out of the Air Force and went up to Saranac Lake I wanted to go to school, since I had not been to school, I couldn’t afford it. In point of fact, that is one of the reasons I joined the Air Force.

I went to a bank, the Bank of Lake Placid — this is not name-dropping, just fact I went in and asked for a man, for a loan, and he denied it. I asked him for $100 to pay for tuition. That guy had the nerve to tell me I am too poor. I don’t need nobody to tell me I am too poor. If I had the money I wouldn’t have asked him for the money.


He went further, to make an analysis that, they don’t know how I was even making it at the time. I have a wife and two children, and again — I don’t need nobody to tell me that I had a rough time financing my own life ever since I joined the Air Force I don’t need nobody to tell me this.

The last point I would like to make, concerning job location, is that last summer I tried to get a job with the Conservation Department of New York State. I was told I had to be a signed-up registered Republican. This pissed me off instantly. I have nothing against the Republican Party, per se, but I am saying, I had never voted before in my life, and I really didn’t give a damn.

I was told to see one person in Franklin County I went to see him, he said I had to see a person in Essex County, he said to go see the guy in Franklin County.

They kept switching me back and forth Finally, I was not hired — “because I had been bad-mouthing about the war,” I think was one of the reasons, for the last year and a half. But also, I wasn’t a registered Republican.

Yet these people have the audacity to tell me I have to go somewhere else and fight for somebody else’s freedom—

(Prolonged applause.)

{David A. Lamenzo}

Senator McGovern.  Thank you.

Our next witness is Mr. Lamenzo.

Is he here?

Lieutenant Lamenzo?

Lieutenant Lamenzo.  My name is David A. Lamenzo, from New Britain, Connecticut, 30 years old, went in the Army in 1966, believing the war was good.

I was about to be drafted, I enlisted for OCS, completed OCS, commissioned Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve in March 1967. I attended Combat Airborne School, and also Ranger School, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, and went with that Division to Vietnam in December, 1967. {15403c3}

Senator McGovern.  Before you proceed, Lieutenant, I wanted to present Senator Phil Hart of Michigan.


I might add, Senator Hart has a Purple Heart on his button there, in case you want to know. He has bled for his country, too.

Lieutenant Lamenzo.  This afternoon many people brought up the fact of morale in regard to the peace movement in the United States. Myself, as a company commander, and platoon leader of the 101st Airborne, many times the soldiers and myself got involved in many deep and involved discussions about this. I can assure you, in the experience I had, effectively as a platoon leader, I never heard a soldier say “When I get home I am going to go after the hippy peaceniks.” Most of them sympathize and feel united with them.

Some of the veterans groups, and certain politicians especially say “Oh, the GIs, they hate the peaceniks.”

The first thing that happened when I got home people asked me how about the hippies that burn the Flag and protest the war I say “Right on.”


With regard to another subject of the war — death — many Americans have died. I have put 37 young Americans in rubber bags and sent them on the way home — a very bad thing to do, for the family to receive the body home again.

But the family is entitled to the truth as to why Spec. 4 Jones was killed and how he was killed.

I know of a case, I can’t mention the name of the individual involved, but it occurred August 6, 1968, when an artillery officer gave the enemy coordinate as his location, and his location as the enemy coordinate. They laid a marker on it — there was nothing wrong with his mathematics, they laid it right in the middle of the company, it killed this Spec. 4 and injured six other men.

I was Ex O at the time. The body came to our base camp, I instructed our company clerk and the battalion adjutant they will have to put down “Killed in non-hostile action.” It was agreed that was the best way to do it. I assumed the Commander of the Division and the Department of the Army, and all in between there, would tell the truth to the family, that “A man made a mistake, that is why your boy is coming home in a box.”

Lo and behold, about a week afterwards we got the casualty field report back — I don’t remember the title of the report — saying that it was not sent out, it was changed, it was forged — it was forged over my signature — that the man was killed by small arms fire by a group of Vietnamese in an area just north of Hue, in sight of our base camp.

I was sort of upset. I felt, well, the boy has gone home. We will let it go.

I didn’t look into it anymore. Later on, I would say in May, we got a letter from this boy’s brother-in-law saying that — apparently he was not allowed to view the remains when the casket was opened up. And in his letter he said he was in combat in Korea, saw people wounded, what their wounds were. He said, “The wound my brother-in-law had was not due to small arms fire. It looked more like shrapnel to me. Could you maybe look into it and see if there is a possible error?”

And he said, “Please let me know as soon as possible.

He had a suspicion something was wrong. Maybe, they got two letters in a row, written from the Army.

I got a letter, and the Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Commander, Ex O, were all upset. You know, now somebody puts the heat on they get upset.

I said “I will try to look into it and find answers.” {15404}

I did. I saw the reports myself — I was not able to make a copy, a call came from the company headquarters — that the Company Commander and six others were wounded, the Commander seriously, one American killed, due to a short artillery round. That is in black and white in the official records, when I checked it in May, 1968. By now it may have been changed, I don’t know.

I know the man who typed it in there. If anyone wants to go further we will get him down here, too.

I checked out the battalion records.

Of course, when there is a short line of artillery, maybe they were firing a number of rounds into a certain grid square, and some round goes short, long, right off anything, they blame anything they can find, to blame the short round on, assuming it is a short round, blame it on faulty ammunition.

In this case, here our great military industrial complex came through right on the money. Those rounds lit right in the impact area. So that excuse is ruled out.

So it certainly — I was debating, I was really on the fence, to spill the beans to this man’s family, or let it slide. At that time I judged — and I think now I judged in error — rather than cause the family more hardship and more grief — assuming what my family would do if I came home that way, I said “No,” I will let it slide.

I never answered the brother-in-law’s letter I told the Lieutenant Commander and the Adjutant I wasn’t going to answer it because of these reasons. They were really relieved that I wasn’t going to press this. They had no intention of it.

I now think it should have been brought out. I do refrain from mentioning the man’s name, until I have further decided as to whether the family should be notified further.

I think maybe some of you older people here should put yourselves in their position — your son has been dead almost three years now. Would you want to know more about it or not? This is the big question I have right now.

In regard to the casualties, terrorism by the Vietnamese, or North Vietnamese and Vietcong, especially around Hue.

I drove through the City of Hue in a convoy, the whole 2nd Brigade of one of the first Airborne Divisions, the day before Tet started. You could go through that city at the time, and we were not harassed at all. But it was full of the North Vietnamese. The Vietcong already held the city, but they let us through, for some reason.

About 4 o’clock the next morning Tet started, and during this time 3000 people were murdered — there is no question about it, murdered — by other people, and these people were civilians, mostly, and all citizens of Hue, or close, nearby.

Along about June, 168, we had a man who came to us, an Ex-VC, Lee Vin Twa — his name translated to “Elephant Ears” — he has very big ears. We were talking one day — and this was before they found the bodies, although there were a lot of people murdered we never found any — he said they were killed, he knew where they were buried. We said, “Who did it? North Vietnamese, or VC?”

He said, “They did it themselves.”

I am not condoning what they did, it was murder. But I bring out the point, many of the people in Hue — and this is a point our Government never told — rose up against these people, the Government Agents, the people who had this land, the people with the businesses, the people in the City of Hue rose up and killed additional people, — (applause) — and put them out in the grave.

(Calls of “It might happen here,” “Right on, Lamenzo.”)

Lieutenant Lamenzo.  All right. Hold it!

Now, it was pointed out by a speaker before me that these evil, evil, evil people, North Vietnamese, Communists, came in {15404c2} there and shot these people while they did no wrong thing, while we come one more step to immorality.

We are told the reason we should be in this war is because we are holding back communism.

The Vietcong, I look at them the same as I look at the Minutemen back in 1776 in this country.


So one thing leads to another.

The only excuse for an incident like Mylai and many others that you can hear from many people who were involved, many veterans, say it did not occur, or say it was an isolated incident the Vietnamese, they say, did away with 3000 men so we are not that bad.

You can’t justify one murder or group of murders by another. There is no way you can do it.

(Calls of “Right on.”)

I think — maybe one of the Senators or Congressmen can correct me on this but I believe the official figure is that there have been 25,000 people killed by terrorist agents of the Vietcong or North Vietnamese Army, to date.

Is that correct? I believe, reading that figure some place.

Senator McGovern.  What was the figure you cited?

Lieutenant Lamenzo.  25,000.

Senator McGovern.  Killed by Vietcong. That is the estimate I have seen, and perhaps as many as 300,000 killed by American action.

Lieutenant Lamenzo.  That is correct Maybe over one million wounded.

So we are going to justify this war, our Government is going to justify war. While they kill 3000, we will kill 300,000, and that is close enough.

I was an Officer, and still am, in the Army Reserve. I would say the Veterans who are here, if something happened that this country was under threat, it is probable we would go into the woods and become guerrillas to protect what this country stands for, what it was founded for. You won’t find the American Legion going out in the woods, it would be too hard.


That is all I have to say right now.

Are there any questions?

Senator McGovern.  Thank you very much, Lieutenant, it was an excellent statement.


Senator McGovern.  We are going to have to bring these hearings to a close this afternoon. ¶

There are still several men who have asked to be heard, and there may be others we don’t know about who would like to submit statements for the record. ¶

So I am going to ask that the hearing record be kept open for a reasonable period of time, and if the men, either here in this room or others who are in the group, would like to submit additional statements, we will be more than happy to see that are made a part of the hearing record of this afternoon.

I do want to thank the witnesses who have testified, for bringing the awfulness of this war home to us, I think in a way that cannot be done by anyone other than the persons who have participated in it, as these men have.

I am very hopeful that out of this testimony we will, as Senator Mondale indicated a while ago, come to a new resolve that will bring about an end to the war now, and that we will do better in assisting these Veterans in making the transition back to civilian life from the terrible experience out of which they have come, and that we will do what we can as a country to reduce the suffering and the destruction that we have been responsible for in Southeast Asia.

I want to just conclude on this note, which is a statement that was made by Lieutenant John Kerry, in his testimony yesterday, when {15404c3} he expressed what I think is the hope of increasing numbers of people in this country, that ¶

“Vietnam should become the place where America finally turned, and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.”

I think that is what these men have done here today And we are very grateful to each one of you


(Whereupon, at 3:35 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.)


Statement of
Jon Bjornson, Md,
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry,
Jefferson Medical College
U.S. Army Major, RA Commission

In Army from June 28, 1958, discharged September 15, 1965. Army Serial Number 088242. Tour of duty in Vietnam — May 6, 1964 through April 29, 1965.

My testimony covers three areas. The early policy of allowing the torture of prisoners, the use of MEDCAP not as a means of providing medical care but for political purposes only and the dangerous use of toxic gases.

1. In Camon in July 1964 a Lt. Col., MACV advisor, described in detail how ARVN tortured prisoners using electrical field generators. The Lt. Col. seemed proud of the torture of prisoners despite the fact that it violated International Rules of Warfare. This was 1964, reasonably early in the hostilities, which, in view of repeated descriptions of American torture of prisoners, indicates that torture of prisoners has been U.S. military policy in Vietnam over at least the past seven years.

2. MEDCAP teams go into villages and hamlets to provide medical care to “win the minds and hearts of the people.” The medical care provided was grossly and totally inadequate. For instance a week’s supply of anti-tubercular drugs might be provided when years of this type of treatment is necessary to adequately treat TB. A single day’s supply of antibiotics would be given for pneumonia, strep throats, etc. The use of inadequate medical care for political purposes remains outrageous and frightening.

3. On December 25, 1965 we loaded rocket pods of approximately 50 armed UHIB helicopters with a gas mixture of CS, CN and DM. In mixing this gas on a soccer field next to an ARVN and province hospital in the city of Tay Ninh, the rotor wash spread these gases all over the city of Tay Ninh. OS causes neurolysis if there is an exposed nerve — that is it destroys nervous tissue. DM is a severe nausuant which can cause death if someone with an abdominal wound is exposed. We have no business using these gases in the first place and definitely have no business saturating areas with it — these were areas of “suspected VC” inhabited by civilians.

My last point is that this war has put a whole generation into psychological chaos. This is especially true of draft eligible men. If he opposes the war, he has no realistic alternative. He can avoid going by becoming a CO. This usually requires legal help to fill out the form (cost ranging from $200 to $1000) and most of the jobs allowable pay less than $4000 per year. The draftee can lie to get a 1Y deferment usually psychiatrically, he can turn to drugs or he can go to a war he does not believe in. Lawyers can frequently help the wealthy find a route for deferment. This precludes the poor in most cases. An entire generation has become bitter and confused by this war and the draft.

Jon Bjornson previously testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055, 9977-9988 (Panel: “What Are We Doing to Ourselves?”) (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition).  CJHjr


Statement by
Ken Provan, Pfc,
U.S. Army (Retired)

I am Ken Provan of Brattleboro, Vermont. I am 22, the Vermont coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and a student at the University of Vermont. ¶

Like most of the other Veterans I was a short-haired conservative when I was drafted. ¶

I suppose our long hair is a form of rebellion against the {15405} society that sent us to Vietnam to commit genocide. ¶

I could have gotten out of the draft, but I believed what I had been told by my government and felt that since I believed in the Vietnam war it was my duty to fight in it. I had orders to go to OCS but saw to it my orders were pulled, because of a bad shoulder, the same thing that could have gotten me out of the draft. I had not turned against Vietnam or the Army, but I wanted to go back to college I would have had to stay in the Army another year to become an officer. ¶

In the first platoon I was in I could have made Spec. 5 in demolition, in the second I could have been a buck sergeant, but in the third I stayed a PFC, because by that time I had developed a habit of saying what I felt. A sergeant, who was my squad leader, gave me a direct order to stop talking, because I had told him, “The Army is run like a dictatorship. It has to be, to be run anywhere near efficiently.” (as an example).

I cannot say exactly when I turned against the war. It was a gradual process, because it was not easy to admit to myself that I no longer believed in “something” I was willing to go to Vietnam to fight for. ¶

Most of my thinking has been done since I returned, because there wasn’t time for it in Vietnam, or maybe I was still too brain-washed to think rationally. ¶

In the seventeen months since my return, I have come to realize the extent of the moral and physical havoc we are committing in the name of freedom. I, therefore, feel obligated to join my brothers in the battle for peace, despite the political pressures and the ridicule of so-called patriots. ¶

I feel we are the true patriots, for instead of taking the easy way out, we are attempting to remove the blinders that have been put on the American public in order for the people to see the true picture instead of one hazed over and palmed off as patriotism.

We heard, in a previous testimony, that there are only two million VC in South Vietnam. If that is true, I would like to know why so many villages have been declared free fire zones. That a great many villages have been designated thus in the past, that the villages were destroyed and part of all the people in these villages were killed, can be verified by almost any GI who has been in the field.

I was in the combat engineers in Vietnam from September 1968 to November 1969. In the capacity of combat demolition I have worked with infantry, mechanized infantry, cavalry, tankers, and Vietnamese. We were not given demolition status for then we would collect the extra pay we were supposed to get every month for handling explosives. ¶

My first four months were spent with D Company, 26 Engineer Americal Division. During December of 1968, my platoon and about a platoon of infantry were attached to a company of cavalry to construct a one or two company-size landing zone, known as LZ Fiddler’s Green. A company of ARVN’s was camped in the ruins of the adobe buildings the French had built at the edge of the ville next to the LZ, which was to be turned over to them.

For the first four or five days we took sniper fire every day and mortar fire every night. Hearing a loudspeaker coming from the ville, another GI and I went to investigate and found the Vietnamese captain had assembled the villagers and was addressing them. We stood in the back next to one of the Vietnamese lieutenants who translated the speech for us. ¶

The captain told them he didn’t like the incoming fire we were getting, and if it didn’t stop he would shoot one villager for every sniper round and five for every mortar round. ¶

The executions started the next day. He took them outside his camp just outside our wire, usually singly, but sometimes in two’s and three’s. He often kept {15405c2} pouring lead into them after all movement had stopped.

One of the guys in the squad, who shared the captain’s bloodthirsty convictions, had become good friends with him. He told me the captain had shot 58 people in about 11 days. After that, the executions stopped as far as I know although the incoming fire continued. ¶

He also told me that at one point the captain had lined up ten villagers, then walked up and down the line, paused, shot one, then paced again before shooting another in an effort to make them talk. ¶

One of his American advisors told me he had been offered promotion to major several times, but refused because he wanted to stay out in the field to kill.

He brought one woman inside our perimeter to question her after she had shouted at him. His lieutenant told me later she had said “ — — .” ¶

The captain emptied his pistol into her, then grabbed an M16 from one of the GIs standing around them, put it on automatic and sprayed the corpse again. To finish the job he took a 45 from a GI and pumped several more rounds into the body, then tried to hand the 45 to the GI who had become his friend and motioned him to shoot the body. He refused, obviously reluctant to participate before so many witnesses. ¶

All of this I was able to watch impassively, because the Army had taught me to kill, to be callous about “gooks,” to believe any “gook” killed was an enemy, I still had faith in my government, so the captain was a soldier doing his job, so what if he was a little carried away. His mother and sisters had been raped and his family slaughtered before his eyes when he was twelve. I never thought about the slaughter that would result if everyone took his revenge in this manner. ¶

Since killing meant nothing to me, I do not remember if it was two days or two weeks later that I went with the Cav. on a search and destroy to a village designated as a free fire zone. When the village came into view it was peppered with tank and machine-gun fire. A patrol went in to check it out.

Like every rural village, every hooch had a living bunker next to it as a testimony to the discriminate firing that has become a part of their lives. There were weeping and panic-stricken women and children and seven old men in that ville. ¶

One of the old men, who was obviously sick and appeared to be near death, had been lying in a three-sided hooch. As we approached he struggled to a sitting position and started a plea, which was cut short as a burst from a machine gun caught him in the chest. The women and children were rounded up and sent back to the tanks in groups of about twenty. What happened to them, I don’t know. ¶

We burned the village to the ground and slaughtered the chickens, pigs, and cows as we moved through it. ¶

Six of the old men were butchered that day, all of them over sixty, but reported as enemy casualties between twenty-five and forty-five. The seventh was an old man with crutches and one leg. He, too, would have been mowed down if I hadn’t stepped between him and a GI who was going to shoot him at point-blank range.

What appalls me when I think about it is that I didn’t interfere because I was repulsed. My training had been thorough and I could have easily shot him myself without feeling guilty, it was just that I couldn’t see any sense in killing an old man. ¶

Shortly after that I led a six man patrol, ostensibly to find a Christmas tree, because it was Christmas Eve but actually I wanted to find and kill some VC.

In February of 1969, I was transferred at my request, to the 5th Division, A Company, 7th Engineers near the DMZ. I went instead of another guy, because I wanted to be where the action was. ¶

The night before I arrived in my new company, a fragging attempt had {15405c3} been made on its first sergeant. One of the others transferred was the one who had made friends with the Vietnamese captain. He ended up being thrown into the Long Bihn Jail for threatening to frag the first sergeant who later replaced the original first sergeant.

From March until the end of my tour, I worked with most of the companies for demolition and minesweeping. This was all field time I volunteered for. I found the same attitude prevailing throughout the companies. Patrols going out on search and destroy missions would move out of sight of the rest of the company and sit for several hours before returning. Mad minutes and recon by fire were commonplace. One company claimed to have a ten thousand dollar reward on their captain’s head because they felt he was continually placing their lives in jeopardy. I met several GI’s with “gook” ears shrivelled in salt water hanging around their necks.

In late August I was with a battalion of ARVN’s that moved two villages from the northwest corner of Vietnam near Vandegrift, to a resettlement area near Cam Lo. One was a Vietnamese Village that had terraced a steep hillside and turned it into a rice paddy The other was a tribe of Bru Montagnards who hunted in the dense forests. The only time I saw them smile the whole week was when a GI went through the village wearing a Halloween mask. ¶

Both villages were loaded on trucks and the rest burned. The resettlement area was on a flat, sandy, barren area, away from the forests the Montagnards hunt in and definitely not rice paddy land. The ribs on the kids already in the area looked like washboards.

Nor is the term “gook” confined to the enemy. On the operation I just described, our APC bogged down in the mud so we left it under the guard of a squad of Vietnamese ARVN’s and continued our minesweep. We returned to find it ransacked and a puppy I had picked up from one of the villages was gone I knew they would eat it and having more feeling for the dog than our allies I put my M16 on full automatic, took it off safety and stormed around the positions the ARVN’s had taken up along the road. I don’t know how far I would have gone if I’d found the culprits, but I wouldn’t have just shaken my finger at them.

These are instances that stand out the most in my mind, and talking to other GI’s I know they are far from being isolated occurrences. ¶

I have tried to find justification for being over there, but everything I can think of I know how to refute, from helping the Vietnamese to the “Domino Theory” and “Red Peril.” ¶

I have lost faith in my government for allowing this genocide to continue. ¶

A majority is supposed to rule in a democracy. ¶

What has happened to our democracy when 73 percent of the American public want the US out of Vietnam by the end of the year, but are overruled?



Source: Congressional Record (cited below).

By CJHjr: Photocopied, scanned, converted to text (OCR: FineReader 6.0), formatted (xhtml/css), links, text {in braces}, text beside a green bar (   ), text in yellow boxes, bold-face, bold-italics, highlighting, added paragraphing (for ease of reading) marked with this trailing paragraph symbol: ¶ . The Congressional Record is formatted in three columns per page, and I’ve marked the beginning of each column {in green braces} (page number, column number).

SuWho? SuDoc CIS   DL

This document: Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Senator George McGovern, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, venue: U.S. Congress, Senate, Room G-103 New Senate Office Building), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 15392-15405 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 17 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Scott Camil, Vinny Giardina, Melville L. Stephens, Basil Paquet, Joe Nielsen, Dale Granata, Everett Carson, Forrest Lindley Jr., Samuel Miller, David A. Lamenzo, Jon Bjornson, Ken Provan.

See also:

House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Congressmen Jonathon Bingham and Paul Findley, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 13104-13118 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 3 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.10, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Larry Rottmann, Forest Lindley, Les Johnson, Arthur Egendorf, Kip A. Kypriandes, Phillip Lowley, Vinny Giardina, Michael Paul McCusker, William W. Lemmer, Alex Prim, Robert McLaughlin, Jack Smith, David B. Maize.

The first Phoenix hearings: Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970: Hearings on Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970, and Appendix, 7+750 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17, CIS: 71 S381-2, OCLC: 119418, LCCN: 76610214, DL, WorldCat}.

The second Phoenix hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings, U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, Hearings, July 15 {a.m., p.m.}, 16, 19, 21, and August 2 1971, 4+362 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.G 74/7:V 67/4, CIS: 72 H401-3, OCLC: 235387, LCCN: 71616178, DL, WorldCat}. Ensuing report: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}.

The third Phoenix hearings: Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence (U.S. Congress 93-1, Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearings, July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, 25, 1973, 3+186 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3, CIS: 73 S201-27, OCLC: 800312, LCCN: 73603022, DL, WorldCat}.

Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 71 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991, DL, WorldCat}.

National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes, Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 4238-4271 (U.S. Congress 92-1, March 1 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.4, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., Mike McCusker, Daniel K. Amigone, Greg Motoka, Kenneth Barton Osborn, Norman Kiger, Gail Graham, Steve Noetzel, Edward Murphy, Daniel Alfiero, Louis Paul Font, Robert Master, Peter Norman Martinsen, T. Griffiths Ellison, Ed Melton, Chuck Hamilton, Lee Meyrowitz, Gordon S. Livingston, Greg Turgeon, Richard Altenberger, Bob Connelly, Robert Lifton, Chaim Shatan, Donald Engel, Gary Thamer, Steven Hassett, Kenneth Campbell, Sam Rankin, Phillip Wingenbach, Tod Ensign, Larry Rottmann, Robert Osman. Citizen Soldier (New York City) is the present-day successor to the Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc., Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.8, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}; 117 Congressional Record E 2825-2936 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6-? 1971, Daily Edition (green bound)) {SuDoc: X/A.92/1:117/???-???, ISSN: 0363-7239, LCCN: 80646573, OCLC: 02437919, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.

American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971 (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Hearings, March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20, 1971, 9+583 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1, CIS: 71 H381-9, OCLC: 15634210, LCCN: 77612471, WorldCat}, witness: Larry Rottmann (volunteer coordinator, Vietnam Veterans Against the War), April 20 1971 hearing, pages 353-423 {3.2mb.pdf}, at pages 406-423. CIS: “Description of charged mistreatment of prisoners in South Vietnam by American forces; report of receiving Officers Candidate School instruction on the use of torture.”

Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia (U.S. Congress 92-1, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, April 20, 21, 22, 28, May 3, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26, 27, 1971, 7+726+12 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:AS 4/13, CIS: 71 S381-18, OCLC: 198272, LCCN: 79614140, DL, WorldCat}, witness: John Kerry (VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), Thursday April 22 1971, 11:05am-1:00pm, pages 179-210 {3.1mb.pdf}.

Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam {copy} (U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, presiding, April 26, 27, 28, 29, 1971, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building), transcript, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia (New York, Vintage Books, 1972, 13+355 pages) {LCCN: 79039897, ISBN: 0394717678, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Five West Point graduates (Fred Laughlin, x, Robert B. Johnson, Greg Hayward, Ron Bartek, Michael O'Mera), five former military intelligence special agents and PoW interrogators {to come: omitted from the linked source}, ten former Americal Division members (Gary Battles, Charles David Locke, Terry Mullen, Steve Padoris, Daniel S. Notley, John Beitzel, Guadalupe G. Villarreal, Daniel Barnes, Thomas Cole, William Toffling), overview of air war, pacification, and forced urbanization (John Sack, Kenneth Campbell, Randy Floyd, Elliot L Meyrowitz).

Bertrand Russell Tribunal, “International War Crimes Tribunal” (Stockholm Sweden, May 2-10 1967; Roskilde Denmark, November 20 – December 1 1967).

Tiger Force: “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Tiger Force, an elite fighting unit in Vietnam, left a trail of atrocities in that country that have been concealed from the public for three decades.” (The Blade, Toledo Ohio, October 22 2003, February 15, March 28, April 6, May 2, May 12 2004).

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr.


Posted Sept. 1 2004. Updated Feb. 4 2008.


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