incident on hill 192 where are they now

He had a wild mannerhe couldnt stand still, and his eyes looked every which way. Departing from the hamlet with their prize, the soldiers moved west toward the main trail they should have been on. Each day, Eriksson said, he felt as though he were at war with war, a troublemaker out to undermine some careful, desperate code of survival. He thought of her as his plane, full of singing soldiers, took off from Cam Ranh Bay and he held his last look at the unhappy land below. Greenacre was present throughout the talk, at Erikssons insistence. No one would ever know what had become of her, he exclaimed. Returning to the patrols briefing, Eriksson told me that Meserve was all business as he plunged into his talk. Q: Why did you want other members of the squad to think you were a rapist? His questions didnt take longmaybe twenty minutesand when they were over he wrote down on a piece of paper, Has no speech defects, steady manner. Offering an evaluation of his own, Eriksson added, He seemed like a nice guy. Her fever and coughing had increased overnight, he said, and that didnt do her cause any good. . It was her first food since shed been taken away from her hamletit had been still dark then, and here it was the middle of the afternoon. It was to take them, ultimately, to Hill 192a height, in the Bong Son valley, that overlooked a ravine laced with a cave complex, which was suspected of serving as a Vietcong hideout. It was as much a part of us as our legs and arms.. Arrested by military policemen at scattered points, the four soldiers passed through Vorsts area in the late afternoon and saw the Captain briefly. [11] In 1968, Joseph Garcia was acquitted on the appeal of his initial 15-year sentence and his dishonorable discharge was reversed after it was determined that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated, and his confession was ruled as inadmissible. As Mao stood listening, mute and uncomprehending, Meserve said that she had to be got out of the way; if they ran into action, he pointed out, she would be a hindrance, and even if they didnt, helicopter crews scouting the area might want to know who she was. Eriksson shook his head. In 1989 Brian De Palma directed the film Casualties of War, which was based on Lang's book. Or maybe its our winters that make Sven so different from those other menour Januaries, when its fifty below and the snowdrifts are so high you cant get from the house to the barn without pulling on a rope.. was shooting, and Meserve, braving a fusillade of bullets, crept forward and pulled the man out of the V.C.s line of fire. It was the same sentence he had been serving, but now, having been transformed into a new verdict, it was subject to another review, the effects of which soon worked to Rafes advantage, for in August, 1969, the commanding general at Fort Leavenworth shortened his term to twenty-two months. Other soldiers, he said, might just as easily have betrayed the weakness that the four men had betrayed on Hill 192, but it had fallen to Meserve and Clark and Rafe and Manuel in particular to act as they had. There, corpsmen deposited him on a bed alongside that of a battalion officer he knew and liked. He called me back in a few minutes, or a couple of minutes, and informed me that he could not catch the girl, that he had had to shoot her. Sure, there were always advance plans to do this or that, but they didnt often stand up in the field. And then there was Vorsts invitation to Eriksson to transfer out of the company. . When I got up to the girl, I saw that her head was partially blown away, he testified. A good nights rest might do wonders for Maos health, he pointed out, in which case he, for one, wouldnt mind revisiting her in the morning. No such dismay was expressed. Its obey the man over you, follow the chain of command, or into the stockade you go. Something that added to his feeling of frustration in those trying weeks was that he could not find it within himself to single out Vorst as the arch-villain, from whom all evil flowed. In 1969, the New Yorker published a report by Daniel Lang about the court martial of a group of men who had served in Vietnam. Released from jail in a few hours, he found himself no longer a lone, underground accuser but, instead, a cog in an elaborate law-enforcement machine, whose purpose was to gather evidence, question suspects, and generally determine whether a case existed. I knew the rendezvous spot, and if Mao and I could show up there at the right time, there was no question in my mind but that the fellows in the resupply squad would help us both. There had been times when Id thought that if I had been in Vietnam longer than just a month when the incident took place I might have felt differently about ithad the same attitude, that is, as most of the fellows. Eriksson told me that he felt weary at the mere prospect of reappearing as a witness a year after the Radcliff trials. From his point of view, as he had indicated at the beginning of our talk, the legal consideration of the crime was a field day of fencing and distortion, of quibbling and traps. That had to have some purpose. It was like claiming that just because a drunken driver hit your friend, you had a right to get in your car and aim it at some pedestrian. Sometimes you have your disagreements, and sometimes you dont voice them, you keep them to yourself.. agents, lawyers, and ballistics and firearms specialists. Eriksson never exchanged a word with her; neither spoke the others language. By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement. He hopes to open a small carpentry shop of his own in several years, but, ideally, he would like to be a farmera career that he doubts he will ever be able to afford. For Eriksson, the trials were totally unlike anything he had anticipated. Manuel showed no initiative in that regard, Eriksson told me, his attitude toward authority being simple and automatic: he heeded it devoutly. Actually, Eriksson told me, he had once asked Reilly for permission to discuss Maos murder with a chaplain, but the Lieutenant had discouraged the idea. Still in the process of waking, and not yet thinking clearly, he said, he had transformed her into a peasant woman on her way to do a days farming, such as he had seen many times in Vietnam; he had envisioned the passenger in a broad, peaked straw hat and black pajamas, carrying the traditional stick across her shoulders, with baskets at either end for holding crops. You traded the girls life for your well-being, he was told. On the way, Greenacre told Eriksson that the chaplain, Captain Gerald Kirk, came from Ogden, Utah; he was a Mormon, Eriksson learned, and so was Greenacre. Rafe, hospitalized at Qui Nhon, was already accounted for; Clark was to take a relatively rear-area post, at battalion headquarters; Meserve was to be shifted to another platoon. Out of the blue, without being asked, hed start defending what hed done maybe hours ago by saying that, after all, it was no worse than what Charlie was doing. Eriksson conceded, however, that the prospect of Meserves and Clarks freedom did disturb him. They said that door-gunner duty was too dangerousthat if I was going to be any use as a witness I had to stay alive., Eriksson recognized the abrupt transformation of his military life the morning after his meeting with Kirk. I had to give one small child mouth-to-mouth respiration and bring her back to life. There was little pattern to the verdicts, each of the juries indulging in its own vagaries. She had lain moldering there for three weeks and her body was badly decayed. Boyd had been a big help, he told me. The incident on Hill 192 is the name the United States Army called [1] the kidnapping, gang rape, and murder of Phan Thi Mao, a young Vietnamese woman [2] on November 19, 1966 [1] by an American squad during the Vietnam War. He was ten when his father suddenly died. It was certainly possible to do so, as I knew for myself from having read the court record of the trials he had brought about: seven bulky volumes in the offices of the Clerk of Courts, U.S. Army Judiciary, in Falls Church, Virginia, which included Erikssons testimony against the members of the patrol; their convictions and appeals; interminable correspondence between judges and opposing counsel; and depositions concerning the character of individual defendants. Meserve, however, counselled patience. [1] He remembers that he talked with one of them while they were both shaving, and that in shooting the breeze with another he led the conversation around to Greenacre when the man mentioned that Arizona was where he dreamed of spending his first post-war vacation. . To listen to them, and to the testimony that the guys in the patrol gave, Mao was probably living happily in her hamlet. As early as the opening day of Rafes trial, which was the first one held, he realized that it was idle to consider whether the G.I.s punishment would, or could, fit the crime. The girl was dressed and her hands had been freed. He had imagined that he would be able to ask how it was that he alone of the patrol had come to act as he had. In warat least, the war we were init was nothing unusual to hear shots that were unexplained, to find a body that might or might not have been shot in combat. Asked why, he answered, O.K., lets say you are on a patrol. Did Eriksson know that military judges and jurors were notoriously lenient in their sentencing? Eriksson was bound for Minnesota, for a month at home before his discharge in the spring, but when his plane put down at Seattle he found that he was ten dollars short for the final leg of his journey. She was dead, Im sure., Immediately after the murder, Eriksson told me, the men appeared to assume a self-protective air of disbelief at what had taken place. The first of them, he told me, was that Mao woke up less alluring than when she had gone to bed. The Sergeant seemed more attracted by the possibility of military action, to judge by the speed with which he had his charges break camp. But you could tell. The only thing these women had to do on their way to the stream was breathe pure mountain air.. It had all been a mistake, he saidhe and his men had been dozing when the sound of running feet aroused them, and instinctively they had assumed it was the enemy. Additional pictures were taken a week later, when Eriksson led a second pilgrimage to Hill 192. For a number of months, though, he found it less than exhilarating to pick up where he had left off. I had to know whether he could at least be trusted to keep quiet about what I was up to. As indirectly and offhandedly as he could, Eriksson sounded out various members of the work detail about Greenacrenone of whom, he remarked, he knew any better than he knew the Arizonan. In April, Eriksson received his honorable discharge from the Army, and in April, too, he heard of further judicial developments. In the end, the four juries sitting at Camp Radcliff found the defendants guilty of one crime or another. Based on the actual events of an incident on Hill 192 in November, 1966. It had nothing to do with a mans being responsible for his own behavior. At the start, he spoke laconically, but gradually his natural reticence thawed out, and there were timesgenerally after one of his silenceswhen he produced such a burst of talk that it seemed to cost him an effort to bring it to a halt. In mild contrast, Rafe was capable of questioning authority, Eriksson said, but he generally wound up by going along with whoever seemed to be the leaderjust to keep from making trouble..

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