Library - Investigations
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam
Testimony of Charles David Locke (Mortarman, 11th Bgd, Americal Div)
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Dellums (House of Representatives) War Crimes Hearings Wednesday, 4-28-71, Washg'tn, DC Testimony Of Charles David Locke, Mortarman, 11th Bgd, Americal Div Wheaton, Maryland
LOCKE: My name is Charles Locke, I am 20 years old, and I am from Wheaton, Maryland. I joined the Army when I was 17, in 11-67.
I went to Ft Bragg for basic training and to Ft Jackson for AIT. Now at Ft Jackson our motto was, you know, before you sit down
DELLUMS: AIT, is that Advanced Infy Training?
LOCKE: Yes. Now before we could sit down to listen to a sermon on how to kill people, we had to stand up and scream, "Kill, kill and kill without mercy." Well, in 1-69 I went to Vietnam. I was in Echo Company. From E-Company I went to D Comp and to Charlie Company. I left Vietnam in 7-70.
While I was in C-Company, we had a short-range patrol. The company was in a night logger.
We left the next day. Well, the company went up the mountain and they dropped us in the bushes. There was 6 of us. We were supposed to sit and wait for dinks who might come along and pick up the food and trash that we left behind.
Well, so we set around for about 2 hours and finally they called down from the mountaintop and said they found 4 dinks moving into our might longer, at which time we lit out of there and went after them.
When we caught up to them we fired at them. 1 was killed - he wasn't really killed, he was shot through the shoulder and through the jaw. He was wounded.
We stopped and called the Col and told him we has 1 wounded dink, you know, and that we wanted him to send a chopper. The Col says, "Is that what I heard you say? Wounded?" and the Sgt said, "No." and they blew his head off.
Before we Left on this mission the Capt of the company had told us definitely do not take any POWs. He didn't want to hear about any POWs. He wanted a body-count. He said he needed 7 more bodies before he could get his promotion to major.
Well, after we blew this dink's head off we spread-eagled the body so that when rigor mortis set in it couldn't be buried in the traditional way.
Well, when we spread the body out, there was a grenade placed under his stomach as a booby trap so if anybody moved the body it would also get them.
Well, his ear was cut off and that was presented to the LT as sort of a war gift. But after this all occurred, our position was given away and the dinks knew we were down there. It was a small patrol, and they knew that the dinks were in the area, so we called in for a liftoff to get us out of there to marry up with our company.
Well, the Col said that we had to get 2 more bodies for his body-count, and he would get us a chopper in there then.
Well, we told him then that we were out of ammo. The machine gun had none and the M-79 had none. But there was only a few rounds for the M-I6 and the M-14.
Well, he said, "Get 1 more dink and we will try to get more ammo in there." Well, it ended up dark almost before they decided to fly in his chopper. He flew around the area about 3 times. Well, he came down as close as 10 feet to the ground, at which time he started kicking the ammo off the chopper which contained the M-79 rounds, which are the grenades. Also the M-I6 rounds, the Claymores and anything else explosive.
He was kicking it off the chopper at us. Well, the chopper started taking off then and before we got the last case of ammo off, it had stuck to the chopper, and of course he got scared.
Then he told the chopper pilot to leave. Well, this was in a FREE-FIRE ZONES, which was that anything moving, anything east of the railroad tracks or west of the railroad tracks, rather, was the FREE-FIRE ZONES.
Also all along the "Gaza Strip," which is the area, it is the farthest area east along the beach.
But those were both FREE-FIRE ZONESs, and if you see anything at all, man, woman, child or animal, you kill it. Any vills, you burn them. Any food, you destroy it or have it lifted out.
West of the red mall - which is the main road that goes through there there are some railroad tracks and between railroad tracks and the mountains there are some paddy fields which the dinks use to grow the food and everything.
Well, that is a FREE-FIRE ZONES between 6am and 6pm Anybody out there after 6 o'clock at night is to be killed, and you don't ask questions or anything.
By the way, 1 dink we did get, he was wearing a pair of black pajama bottoms. He had no ID, no weapons, nothing. He was carrying around a sackful of burned C ration cans, ripped up bars of soap, and other kinds of stuff like that.
Well, the 3 of them that got away - well, the company was on the hill and was going to mortar them, so they mortared us instead. Anyway, along the mountain edge we were ordered to set out mousetraps, which are booby traps with a rattrap in it as a detonating device.
We set out approx 25-30 Claymores per night. Anybody walking by there would trip it off and set off 4-5 Claymores going in every direction.
1 night we left a day logger removing a couple clicks south to a night logger and we set up 4 Claymore mines by a pile of trash. We left the trash behind of course and we put the Claymores there because we figured the dinks would come in, rather the Capt figured that.
We told him that the only persons that might come in there would be kids.
So we had to stay late to keep the kids away from it until it got dark.
Then we spent 3 hours trying to find the company at night.
We left at 5:30 to pick up the booby traps the next morning and on the way up there we saw an old lady, and she was out hoeing, and it was about 15 minutes before 6 in the morning, so we walked over to her and beat her up and threw her in the paddy.
We got up there to where we had placed the booby traps and there was about 10 kids on the perimeter. For some reason they had not used that path to walk on. They went some other way to come in there. They did not know that the booby trap was there because we discontinued the Claymore mines and left the detonating devices hooked up, and we chased the kids out and 5-6 of them ran through there and set it off and blew the detonating devices, which scared the hell out of them.
But we told the Capt that those kids could set it off because we knew they would be there early in the morning to get what they could. He said he didn't care about that.
As I said, the Capt had to get 7-8 more dinks before he could be put in for major. I did witness the systematic destruction of at least 10 vills which was - you go on a mission and you get choppered into an area. You are in 3 forces, forming a triangle around the vill.
2 of the forces sit and wait, 1 sweeps through and kills and burns everything.
People or anything. Just to get rid of it. It's not supposed to be there.
Well, when you come by a bunker, you either throw in a fragmentation inside it or you crawl 1/2 into it and throw a Claymore mine in it and set back and detonate the mine. Anybody in it, that's their grave. They are never even pulled out of there.
The booby trap, we booby-trapped some dead bodies along the edge of the mountain and all the bodies that I ever saw booby-trapped, they were never let's say de-mined, because they were just left like that. As far as I know, there are a few over there with grenades under their bellies right now.