On this day in history, the men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, of the 23rd Infantry Division of the United States Army, more commonly known as the Americal Division, entered the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Their superior officers told the soldiers to “search and destroy.” Between 300 and 400 unarmed civilians were massacred, including women, children, the elderly, and even infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and some of the bodies were mutilated.
Twenty-six soldiers were charged with criminal offenses, but only platoon leader Second Lieutenant William Calley Jr. was convicted. He was found guilty of killing 22 villagers, and originally given a life sentence, but he served only three and a half years under house arrest.