29
Mar
09

On This Day, March 29: US Troops Leave Vietnam

March 29, 1973

Last U.S. troops depart South Vietnam

Under the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords signed on January 27, 1973, the last U.S. troops depart South Vietnam, ending nearly 10 years of U.S. military presence in that country. The U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam headquarters was disestablished. Only a Defense Attache Office and a few Marine guards at the Saigon American Embassy remained, although roughly 8,500 U.S. civilians stayed on as technical advisers to the South Vietnamese.

Also on this day: As part of the Accords, Hanoi releases the last 67 of its acknowledged American prisoners of war, bringing the total number released to 591.

“Last U.S. troops depart South Vietnam.” 2009. The History Channel website. 29 Mar 2009, 01:33 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1758.

On This Day

1461 – Edward IV secured his claim to the English thrown by defeating Henry VI’s Lancastrians at the battle of Towdon.

1638 – First permanent European settlement in Delaware was established.

1847 – U.S. troops under General Winfield Scott took possession of the Mexican stronghold at Vera Cruz.

1848 – Niagara Falls stopped flowing for one day due to an ice jam.

1867 – The British Parliament passed the North America Act to create the Dominion of Canada.

1941 – The British sank five Italian warships off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean.

1943 – In the U.S. rationing of meat, butter and cheese began during World War II.

1951 – In the United States, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. They were executed in June 19, 1953.

1961 – The 23rd amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment allowed residents of Washington, DC, to vote for president.

1966 – Leonid Brezhnev became the First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. He denounced the American policy in Vietnam and called it one of aggression.

1967 – France launched its first nuclear submarine.

1971 – A jury in Los Angeles recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. The death sentences were later commuted to live in prison.

1974 – Mariner 10, the U.S. space probe became the first spacecraft to reach the planet Mercury. It had been launched on November 3, 1973.

1974 – Eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted on charges stemming from the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. All the guardsmen were later acquitted.

1979 – The Committee on Assassinations Report issued by U.S. House of Representatives stated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy.

1993 – The South Korean government agreed to pay financial support to women who had been forced to have sex with Japanese troops during World War II.

March 29, 1971

Calley found guilty of My Lai murders

Lt. William L. Calley is found guilty of premeditated murder at My Lai by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets in Quang Ngai Province on March 16, 1968.

The unit had been conducting a search-and-destroy mission to locate the 48th Viet Cong (VC) Local Force Battalion. The unit entered Son My village but found only women, children, and old men. Frustrated by unanswered losses due to snipers and mines, the soldiers took out their anger on the villagers, indiscriminately shooting people as they ran from their huts. The soldiers rounded up the survivors and led them to a nearby ditch where they were shot.

Calley was charged with six specifications of premeditated murder. During the trial, Chief Army prosecutor Capt. Aubrey Daniel charged that Calley ordered Sgt. Daniel Mitchell to “finish off the rest” of the villagers. The prosecution stressed that all the killings were committed despite the fact that Calley’s platoon had met no resistance and that he and his men had not been fired on.

The My Lai massacre had initially been covered up but came to light one year later. An Army board of inquiry, headed by Lt. Gen. William Peers, investigated the massacre and produced a list of 30 people who knew of the atrocity, but only 14 were charged with crimes. All eventually had their charges dismissed or were acquitted by courts-martial except Calley, whose platoon allegedly killed 200 innocents.

Calley was found guilty of personally murdering 22 civilians and sentenced to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals and further reduced later to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army. Proclaimed by much of the public as a “scapegoat,” Calley was paroled in 1974 after having served about a third of his 10-year sentence.

“Calley found guilty of My Lai murders.” 2009. The History Channel website. 29 Mar 2009, 01:39 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1757.

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