Special to the Cape Charles Mirror by Paul Plante
TALK RADIO 1300 on June 13 2016 at 1:11 pm – With respect to mass murder as a part of our foreign policy and this “spirit of ruthless brutality” which I too believe has now entered into the very fiber of our national life as @11:14 am talks about above here, for a time, I was an infantryman who served as a Nighthawk in Viet Nam in 1969.
As a Nighthawk, I went out each night on a helicopter armed with an M-14 rifle with a Starlight scope mounted on it so that I could see in the dark with the helicopter as my firing platform.
One night we were ordered to go to these certain grid coordinates and when we got to there, it was a small “ville” that was being barraged with CS-gas mortar rounds to drive the people out of their houses and into the open where they were clearly illuminated by parachute flares.
I can see them down there to this day.
Women and children.
I can still hear the “voice” coming into my head over the helicopter’s radio from the Battalion Operations Center back in the big base camp that was in “control” of what the mission was going to be that night.
“KILL THEM ALL!”
That was “THE MISSION,” to gun down each and every one of those people, an order that was given to a machine gunner next to me and myself – start firing, gun them down, kill them all.
Nits breed lice.
The aircraft commander, a Lieutenant, countermanded that order.
My memory of that event is that he drew his pistol on me and the gunner, and he told us not to fire, or by God, he would.
And in the meantime, the “voice” continued, “KILL THEM ALL.”
Now, that “voice” was my chain of command, not the Lieutenant.
However, on board a helicopter, the aircraft commander outranks everyone on board, and besides he was there with a pistol drawn and aimed.
WHOP! WHOP! WHOP! WHOP!
Like in slow motion, the rotor blade spun around.
The people on the ground were still running and milling around, trying to escape the gas.
The flares continued to hang there by their parachutes to turn night into day.
And there we all were on the helicopter, EN TABLEAU for what seemed like forever.
By not pulling the trigger, I was disobeying a direct order from my battalion command staff.
If I pulled the trigger, I was disobeying a direct order from the AC.
The AC prevailed.
No shots were fired.
No women or children in that “ville” were killed by us that night, despite the orders from our chain of command, which originated in the oval office of the Washington White House, as all military orders do, to kill them all.
But the Lieutenant was not just leaving things there.
It wasn’t enough to him that we did not fire our weapons.
That did not end anything.
It began something instead, a revolt.
A revolt by that officer of the U.S. Army.
Shortly after that, he was vectored into the path of our own outgoing artillery, and he was shot down out of the sky in flames.
That crew, all of whom I knew, burned all the way down.
For those who don’t know, helicopters burn real hot.
In my estimation, which I will take to my grave, those people were murdered because of that revolt by that Lieutenant.
I know they were vectored into the path of that artillery because I was monitoring the radio that night they died.
That Lieutenant was going to make a federal case out of that mission that night, and so he was eliminated.
And three other people on that helicopter that night went to their fiery deaths with him.
One of them, my friend whose life I had previously saved in another episode was still alive when the helicopter hit the ground.
We know that because he was found so many feet away where he had managed to crawl before he died.
His legs were burned off up to his knees.
And people wonder why we have so much violence in this country today.
It is because we fostered it, and sowed the seeds for it, and now, the plants have matured and we are reaping the fruits of what we ourselves set in motion so many years ago.
Paul Plante, Viet Nam 1969