WO1 Hugh Thompson Jr. (1943-2006) testifies in the court martial against 2LT William Calley for war crimes, Fort Benning, Georgia. Nov 1970. Thompson was an OH-23 helicopter pilot who put his helicopter between Vietnamese civilians and US Army soldiers to prevent further slaughter at My Lai. Unfortunately, despite conviction, Calley got off extremely lightly, barely living a year behind bars. His conviction was overturned in 1974, and he lived the rest of his life a freeman.

Colonel Harry G. Summers Jr. declared that Calley and his associates should have been hanged, drawn, and quartered, with their remains placed “at the gates of Fort Benning, at the Infantry School, as a reminder to those who pass under it of what an infantry officer ought to be.”

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According to my almost always-correct calculations, if Vietnam built its own Vietnam War wall, using the names of every Vietnamese killed during the war, it would be ~350ft (~1.1km) tall and
~10,800ft (~3.2 km) long.

Wait let me try this again.

Ok I figure that the Vietnam Wall is ~250 feet long and ranges from 8 inches to 10ft in height because it’s a giant triangle. That’s an area of 86,110 ft. The wall has 58,276 names. So each name probably takes up about 1.5 sq feet of space.

The highest accepted death toll for Vietnamese from 1955-1975 is 3,812,000. If each Vietnamese name takes up an area of 1.5 ft, then Vietnam’s memorial would be 5,718,000 sq ft. Unfortunately we don’t know the perimeter of the hypothetical so let’s just make up a height. How about 12 ft. So the Vietnamese Wall would be 476,000 ft long or 90 miles



On this day, 10 October 1971 at 11 AM, the men of Bravo Company, 1/12, First Cavalry Division of the US Army by the Cambodian border declared a private unofficial ceasefire with the North Vietnamese. The move was following a mutiny shortly before where six men refused to go on a dangerous mission, and were now facing court martial. A petition was circulated in support of the mutineers and was signed by two thirds of the company. The petition was leaked to the French press via a journalist and the army dropped the court martials and shipped out Bravo Company to safety, replacing them with Delta Company. A few days later 20 men in Delta Company refused to head out, and the army pulled them out and the artillery company they were supporting, abandoning the position. This is a great account of this and another rebellion of troops during the Vietnam war: And episodes 10 and 11 of our podcast are about the GI resistance, find it here or your favourite podcast app by searching “working class history”:
Pictured: Bravo Company members signing the petition


I’ve looked up american fragging incidents in Vietnam (800 in one year), a prison riot at Long Binh, men leaving to go on patrol only to turn around after like, twenty metres or refusing to go all together. I even heard of a firebase mutiny where soldiers actually put their officers under siege in their command bunker. How did the US military break down so badly?


> Draft

> Heavy counter-culture movements in the country

> A country no one knew existed until the army came

> Terrible humid climate that made everyone miserable

> Extreme use of drugs and alcohol. 

> Pointless bloody battles fought in places that seemed random

> No clear goals, frontlines and even enemy formations 

Way too much stuff got in the way to make it one hell of a war. 


Failure to learn from he past.

The US was fighting a colonial resource war, the Vietnamese were fighting a war of national liberation.