The incident took place
fourteen years ago. It was on January 31st,
1967. At that time I was only a young boy of ten and was in the
fourth grade in the village grade school. It was a little before noon
the Americans had been going around destroying villages and just a
little before noon they approached Thuy Bo hamlet and destroyed the
hamlet. When I heard the Americans had arrived I was at that time a
young boy in the 4th grade and was going to classes and when I heard the
Americans had arrived, I was really afraid and ran back to the hamlet
with a number of my friends. When I got home and tried to put things
away, the Americans were already deploying their forces on the outside.
From above there were the airplanes (strafing and
bombing) and the artillery shells. On the ground there were the infantry
and their rifles. Before the Americans swept into the village, they had
the airplanes bomb us and lobbed in the artillery shells. When the
American infantry swept into the hamlet, they went into my house. In my
house that that time there were only women and children. The oldest
child was me, who was ten years old at the time. There was no child any
older. There were only women and children. When they entered the house,
they asked us whether we were VC.
We were only women and children and we did not know
what VC meant. This was because
we were only innocent women and children who were leading an ordinary
life. After that, I acted angry and tried to intimidate us. Then they
approached us, and before they could reach us frightening things
happened. For example, they shot off the ears of some people. When these
people climbed up to the beds they shot at this people, causing their
guts to burst out all over the place. In fact, the whole bodies were
shattered from the knees up.
They came and asked us about the VC, and we were only women and
children so we did not know what VC was. So they shot at us, they shot at all of us. After they
shot at us, they burnt down the house. And all the domestic animals in
the house were shot and killed. And another really brutal thing that
they did it was so brutal that no human being could have ever done it
was, after killing the women and children, they stomped with their feet
on the heads of babies who were not even a month old yet.
Another thing was that there were women who were still
recovering from their childbirths who were dragged out of the house and
roughed up. The really terrifying thing was that after they shot and
killed people, they scattered powder gasoline (? gun powder? flare?) on
these bodies and burnt them. Another thing was to throw the corpses into
the burning haystacks in order to destroy them. It was such as
terrifying scene that if you people believed in ghosts and demons you
should be really scared.
The dead people were lying all around, their guts were
strewn all over the place, their limbs severed, their brains scattered,
blood and brains reaching as high as your ankles in some places. Guts
and things flew as high as the ceiling. It was a terrifying scene. So
terrifying was this scene fourteen years ago that it is impossible to
really describe it. It was really not human. It was indescribably
brutal, this action of fourteen years ago. In my family at that time,
forty persons were killed. The total number of inhabitants in Thuy Bo
killed at the time was 105 persons.
This does not include the
wounded. And this does not include the people who were killed in their
burning homes. The very fact that I managed to survive at the time was
because I did everything I could think of to escape death. First of all,
I hid under the corpses. After that, I ran and hid in the bushes. Then
later on I ran back home, and hid in the remaining nooks. I had been
wounded and blood was coming out in a pool. Two hours later, the
Americans left. After they left, the villagers tried to help each other.
Those who were lightly wounded helped those who were severely wounded...