Library - Investigations

Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam

Testimony of Daniel Notley (E/6, 1/20 Bn, I 1th Bgd, Americal Div)

back to contents

Dellums (House of Representatives) War Crimes Hearings Wednesday, 4-28-71, Washg'tn, DC Testimony Of Daniel Notley E/6, 1/20 Bn, I 1th Bgd, Americal Div St Paul, Minnesota

NOTLEY: My name is Daniel Notley, and my home right now is St Paul, MN. However, I was raised in Oklahoma and I am kind of like Battles, I was raised in a good home. I have no complaints about the way I was raised. I just about had everything I really wanted. My parents were middle class Protestants.

My father served in WWII and Korea and from the time I was a little kid I was always given toy guns as some of my toys. I used to wear my father's army helmet around the house.

My parents had pictures of him wearing his uniforms and so on. The Amer Soldier, the Amer Army was an institution to be glorified. I like war movies because this was the Amer way.

John Wayne was always right. I never heard people referred to as a Japanese person, they were always Japs or Nips, or other people were called Krauts, and this type of thing. The whole process I went through was just complete disassociation with anyone in the world that was not Amer.

I couldn't relate to them as being human. So I went into schl, into college, and I graduated from high schl and then went to the Univ'y of OK for 2 and a 1/2 years and a had some financial problems at that point. I had to quit schl and I moved to MN to get a job and there I got drafted into the Army.

Now I didn't want to go. I was beginning to wonder about the Vietnam War myself. I supported it, of course, when I started in college. I can tell you the only speech I ever got an A on in a speech class was a speech in support of our policy in Vietnam.

But I had begun to question things. There were some things that didn't seem right. and I had a choice, you might say. I actually went home and talked to my parents about it, and I didn't know whether I wanted to go or not. It was sort of a conflict within myself and when I confronted my parents with this they were in complete shock.

They accused me of being duped by a Communist, rather. That my father had served in 2 wars, and why couldn't I serve in a war and this whole process of course is the Americanization process that you have from the time you were born.

So rather than shame my parents and bring disgrace on my family by leaving my country - which I didn't want to do by going to Canada or to jail decided I would do my duty. I was drafted in 8-68.

I had my basic training in the infy at Ft Polk, LA. I went through most of the training as the other guys went through. The complete dehumanization of a person in preparation for the VW.

Now in this training they referred to the Vietnamese as dinks, or gooks. The impression was what they were something less than human.

I had a DI in AIT reply to a question, "What is it like over there?" and he told us, he said, "It is like hunting rabbits and squirrels." That is all it meant to his. That is all the emotion he had about it.

So I shipped off for Vietnam. a was assigned to the Americal Div Echo Company. It was a light infy Bgd. I was in the recon platoon and my impression of the recon platoon had been that sort - it was a sort of a sneak, peek and retreat operation.

Our only job was to search out the enemy and to pull back and let the regular line companies go in and do the job.

But from the beginning we didn't operate like that. We were more or less when I went into the platoon the guys were bragging that we had more kills in our platoon than any other platoon in the area.

People were happy about it. It was a big thing to be - big thing to the guys in the recon platoon that they were proud of and it was because we were hard core. Just like being a Green Beret or something. I was at this point very wide - eyed and naive, like, here I am, I am really going to get down on some of these VC, and show them where it's at.

Well, we went to the field for about the 1st month and a 1/2 and I expected the 1st day to get in a big fire fight. The fighting just wasn't what I imagined it to be, however, after watching all these movements. It was occasional sniper fare and so on.

But it was, it got really frustrating. 1 day we were called to the rear and were told okay, we have a big - there is a big mission and the whole Bn is coming Combat Assault [CA] into this valley. They told us - I remember it was a chopper airlift. They told us there was a Regt of NV coming in right away and my reaction was that "This is it. This is what war really is. This is what is going to be a pitched battle." and these people, they do this to you. A lot of times they give you these intelligence reports blown out of proportion and they get you so piped up and scared, that you are ready to go.

It is like a football player before a football game. They are just able to do that to you. They do this to get you psyched up to get you to do anything. People are throwing 3 and 4 bandoliers of ammo over their shoulders, and a couple extra grenades because "this is it." So we made a CA into the valley and apparently the 1st company had gone in, had received sniper fire, so they had called in some rockets, and they burned up a couple of hooches.

Well, anyway, we got in there and nothing happened for a couple of days.

Things were getting tense though because Charlie Company found a cache of weapons in a cave, about 300 rifles I guess.

Delta Company was in the mountains looking for a NV hospital that was supposed to be there. Well, anyway, 1 day they told us back in a hurry that D Comp was getting close to this hospital and they wanted us to move down the valley about 6kms away and set up to block: these main trails coming out of the mountains, to block off any escape route of any Vietnamese trying to escape. Well, in moving down the valley, down this main trail we hit a booby trap and 2 guys got wounded pretty badly and we dusted there off and my squad had set still, we sat there a day for an ambush at the trail junction, between the junction of the trail and the stream.

This was after the people had hit the booby trap and had been dusted off.

So the rest of the people went on down the trail to look for a night defense position to see where we could set up that night.

Okay. Later on in the evening, they called us and told us to move in and link up with them. So we moved down the trail and as we did we were moving off to 1 side because we had hit 1 booby trap and we didn't want to hit another 1 and the guy in front stepped on 1 and he actually kicked it and He kicked it with a trip wire - it had a wire attached to it, and it didn't go off.

It is like the style that has the paper fuses in them and they sort of get wet and they don't go off. This 1 was a dud, and it didn't go off and we then called up and told the other platoon about it.

They said, "Well, we just moved down the trail and it wasn't there, and we came through there." Well, there was a vill about 200 meters away and they said, "Well, we saw a guy in white in this vill." Well, this whole vill is deserted except they said they saw 1 guy, and he was out wandering around when we left. Because they could see the vill from the other side, and we could see it from this side.

So my squad leader assumed - well, we blew the booby trap in place, we put a grenade next to it and blew it up, and then my squad leader assumed that this guy had set the booby trap. So he went into the vill and the guy was in the hooch I guess, so we really couldn't see what happened.

But he walked up to the hooch and opened the door and fired into the hooch.

We assumed he killed this guy. So we burned down the hooches and linked up with the platoon at that point. We sat in the same spot for about 3 days and there were a couple of main trail junctions coming out of the mountains there and we set a booby trap on this trail.

Now this trail is there, well, it's so well used that it was a trench with banks on it about 6 feet high on both sides and it was cover.ed over. It was a double canopy jungle trail, and of course we couldn't see the daylight.

So people could move through the mountain without being spotted until they got to the bottom of the mountain. They just couldn't see us either.

After 3 days the booby trap went off and it was at that point getting dark so we ran up there and there was a body there. There was a NV body with a uniform and everything, but we couldn't tell much else.

and we didn't want to follow him that night, so we waited until the next morning and the next morning we went out there and the body was there. Now the guy had a cleaning kit for his rifle on him, but the bandages were laying everywhere. The wound dressings were there, and there were scrapings on the around like they had been dragging litters.

Now what these people were trying to do was to get out of the hospital than we knew was up there and we had blocked the road off, we had blocked off the escape and as they came down they hit the booby trap and they turned around and took off.

Now, my squad leader was so elated over this he wanted to find these people. This was supposedly a Regtal-size hospital. Now we went on a 6-man patrol chasing a Regtal-size hospital up in the mountains for about 3 hours.

He wanted to find these people. Now we could have gotten wiped out, but we were like crawling on hands and knees chasing them. We couldn't find them so we gave up and went back. It was really funny to me.

This is the way things were and they told me that when you were new in the country - I was still new meat, they say, "Man, you haven't seen anything yet. Just keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. You will be all right." Well, that's true. If a guy has been in the country 11 months and is still alive, I am thinking he must know what he is doing. So the next day we were not doing anything, just sitting around the camp playing cards, and I decided to go down to this stream and get some water, and go on this water patrol and I had 1st gathered up the people's canteens, together with about 4 other guys, about 5 of us, and we went down to the stream to get water.

Before we went somebody said, stay off the trails, so you don't get caught in 1 of the booby traps. Well, we said, "Okay," and we went to the stream which was about 200 meters away.

As we walked down 10 this stream I heard an explosion about 50 meters to my right on the trail across the stream. At 1st 1 thought we were taking incoming rounds and pretty soon I heard GI's down there talking.

Well, what had happened was that 2 guys had decided to follow us and instead of following us they went down the trail and they hit a booby trap and 1 of them was killed and 1 was seriously wounded.

Now the man who was killed - 1st, I would say in a platoon you generally have somebody who is close to everybody. This was the kind of a guy where you would go in a vill and the other people would be pushing the Vietnamese people around or beating them up.

This guy would have the kids in the hooch playing and singing with them. He really refused to an extent to get involved. He was there and he did his job, but he would rather play with the kids and laugh and sing with them.

We really respected him for it and the Bn cmdr liked him, too. They were on a 1st-name basis. Now, this guy was dead all of a sudden and it was a shock because he was the person that no 1 thought would ever get killed.

Everybody was in shock and the platoon leader was mad, pissed off, and the next morning we got up and the LT said, you know, "There is a vill over here and there is people in it." He said, "These people are responsible for this man's death," and he told the 2d squad that "I want you to go in there." He said, "I want some kills." So 2d squad moved out of the patrol. They went into the vill, got outside the vill, and they called us and they said that there were men running or invading so to speak out the back side of the vill up into the mountains.

Well, the LT said, "Let's get Arty on them." Well, they gave up the coordinates and called in arty and leveled this whole vill. They called in a lot of white phosphorous which is good for burning hooches and this kind of thing.

So they moved into the vill and the LT kept calling, "Have you got any kills?

Have you got any kills?" This was part of the body-count mayhem which in all honesty exists there. like we had an area in a cmnd area and there was a chart on the wall indicating the number of kills, and weapons captured and so on. This was the way we measured whether we were winning.

If we killed 10 of them for every 1 of us we were winning. This was the psychology of the whole thing.

Now it's really ridiculous but you can become involved in it and become a part of it. That is your environment. That is the way of thinking. That is the way you can only relate to yourself.

So this 2d squad went into the vill and the LT kept calling and asking if they had any kills. They said that they hadn't, that they had just a water buffalo.

So the LT go t mad and told them to come back. So they came back. Now I don't know why he thought the men were going to come back to this vill, but apparently he was convinced that they were, he convinced himself that the NVietnamese were going to come back and we were going to catch them napping.

He told us to go ill and he wanted some kills. So I, like I was living, I expected to find VC in there, and there was going to be a fire-fight.

Now I was waiting for this thing to happen, for the war to start for me. I didn't realize it had been going on all along. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

So we moved out on our patrol and I was carrying an M-79 - They gave that to the "new meat." The new guys carried that because it was - nobody wanted to carry it. It was cumbersome, and you had to carry extra rounds and you were relatively insecure with it and I had another weapon which was a sort of like a shotgun and you had the rounds with that.

So we moved into the vill and as we approached the vill, everything was like burnt down. There was a group of people on this 1 end of the vill, about 10 women and kids and there weren't any men.

We didn't see anyone running out of the vill. As we moved into the vill, like I was about 4th back in line, or I was about 5th. There were 3 guys up front and 2 point men and the squad leader and the radio operator.

Now, I was behind the radio op and as we moved into the vill nobody said anything but all of a sudden these guys started shooting. They were shooting women and kids. Now there weren't any men there. But these men were just shooting. They didn't say anything, and I was in a state of shock almost.

CONYERS: How many were shot?

NOTLEY: Well, I am not through yet, man. They killed these 10 people, you know, about approx 10 people. like I was - it was so traumatic, you know, I couldn't believe it. I was like in a state of shock and these guys did this so systematically like it was something done so many times before, it was easy. It didn't bother them, any of them, at least it didn't appear to bother any of them.

Now these guys were old-timers, they had been there for a long time, you know? It was just cut and dried like it was understood that this was going to happen. I didn't know. But there it is. Bam. It's happening.

So they moved around the trail - it was an s-shaped trail into the vill, and they moved to the other side of this bamboo stand - well, they knew we would get the People in the vill that were running, but I'll never understand why they didn't run. Why they didn't take off after they saw that the 1st 10 people were killed.

But there was like 10 more people there. and they - though people were standing there and they were standing there quietly, and they had already killed 10My squad leader, well, he looked at me and he told me that there comes a time when people have to commit themselves or get involved and become 1 of them, and to become 1 of them he told me, "Well, this is a good time for you to try your cannister rounds." Well, I was scared fair 1 thing and I was upset, I was in shock plus I was scared because the whole thing, well, he said, "This is a good time for you to try out your cannister rounds." It was like, it seemed as though he was saying, "All right, the rest of us have committed ourselves. Now it's time for you to commit yourself and if you don't you are not 1 of us and if you are not 1 of us you are 1 of them.

Well, I was actually scared for my life. Because this is not an unusual thing. I was really scared for my life. From my own people. Well, the people were standing about 20 meters away, and I pointed my cannister round at them and just before I pulled the trigger I deflected the barrel toward the ground and I shot and it was - there was dust flow and as I shot the dust flow I looked away and I looked back and everybody was still standing.

I may have hit somebody but I didn't - I can't swear that I didn't because I didn't want to anyway, but as soon as I did this the rest of the squad opened up and killed all these people, too.

At that point I walked - I isolated myself from the rest of the platoon. I stayed by this bamboo stand shaking like I was in shock and they got another bunch of people and killed them and in all it was about 30 people killed in this vill and there weren't any men there at all.

There were some male children, but there were women and children only.

So after this was over we left the vill, they called in a body-count something like 13 VC, and NV. Now where they got the body-count I'll never know.

As we were leaving, the FAC was flying overhead, and he was calling in, he wanted to know if we wanted air strikes in there. and they said, "Yes, sure." So they put in some napalm on the vill and they made about 4 runs at it. Now we got back to the - well, I didn't sleep at all we got back to the perimeter and I just isolated myself. I didn't really understand what had happened.

the vill. Now the LT saw what had happened. He didn't say anything about it, though. I really don't know what he ever felt about it. But he didn't say anything.

I thought to myself, the shit is going to hit the fan now, you know? like this is wrong. This isn't what it's all about. I really expected something to happen. I expected something to come of it.

So anyway they told us that the Bn cmdr was coming in. Then I thought, "Well, this is it. This is where some people are going to go to jail." Well, the Bn cmdr flew over the vill and unless he is blind, well, he must have seen the bodies. I was securing the LZ outside the vill and I know he landed outside the vill in an open area and he was standing at a point where he could see the last bunch of people that had been killed and if he would have just looked I am sure he would have seen it.

He was probably 30-40 meters from where they were. They found a child still alive at that time. It was laying in a pile of bodies but it had not been shot. They brought the child up to the Bn cmdr and he could talk Vietnamese, and he talked to the child and the child told him the VC had done it.

I guess this is why the kid said it. That's why the people didn't run. I guess they just didn't expect this from us. I don't know.

So the Bn cmdr took the kid and got on the chopper and he told us, he gave us a "well done," that we had done what we were supposed to do.

Now this had been a FREE-FIRE ZONES and, you know, he commented about Les. This was the guy that was killed. Now he got into his chopper and he flew off like nothing had happened.

Well, we moved back to our perimeter and they called in for some choppers and they said, "Well, you guys have done a good job and you need a rest." So they sent us to the rear for a couple of days to rest up.

But also to substantiate my story, there is a guy down here in D Comp, the company that was in the mountains looking for the NV hospital. Now 1 of their platoons moved through the vill that same day and when we called in the body-count, you know, they confirmed it.

But they saw what had happened. They saw the bodies. So this thing was not a secret among the squad. It was not even a secret among the platoon. It wasn't even a secret in the Bn. The cmdr knew it. Yet nothing was done about it.

From this point on this was my - this was the point of my initial realization of what we were doing over there because instances like this do happen all the time.

But not on such a large scale. like they have, maybe, 1-2 people.

But what difference does it make if it is 1-2 or whether it's 30? You know the crime has been done and it is condoned, or it is covered up, and you get the impression that if this was not right, that someone would make an attempt to stop it, and since no 1 makes an attempt to stop it, this is the way it is supposed to be.

From the time you are in basic training and AIT you develop such a paranoia of Vietnamese people that it is incredible. They tell you that you can kill the enemy but don't kill civilians. But they never define what a civilian is. In a guerrilla war, they have to survive like anybody else. Any insurgents are dependent on the natives, the civilians, for intelligence info and food and medicines. That insurgency cannot exist without that support of these people.

So in actuality all the people were VC, you know? But just because they weren't card-carrying members of the NLF or that they carried weapons or anything, I guess that's what made them civilians. But this was the whole thing.

You didn't trust anybody. They didn't want you to trust them. They said, "Don't trust your mama san, that irons your fatigues in the rear." and they said, "Don't trust anybody because you can't trust any of them," and you just get so paranoid about these people, and you get so frustrated and so angry, well, you can't vent your frustration at the Army, or at the time you couldn't very much.

The only natural alternative was through a process of dehumanization in respect to the Vietnamese people.

Now the Army purposely harasses you. They direct your frustrations then to this end. This is how they can do what they do.

Now since the Calley thing has come out, you notice more and more troops have refused to go to the field and more are fragging their cmnding officers. This is a turnabout which is fair play. GI's are starting to vent their frustration on the institutions and the people that have frustrated them rather than on the Vietnamese people. I think this is really scaring them. They have created a monster and now it has turned on them.

I am ashamed of ever being a part of anything like this. I'm ashamed of any institution, anything like that. The whole thing is so racist, and so inhuman that it is unbelievable. It is hard for me to really - it is an emotional thing. A thing you feel.

It is hard for me to convey to anyone this whole process that you know you have gone through. You can see it step by step. like a lot of us have been accused of - well, Melvin Laird will accuse the press of making instant analysis of the Laotian campaign because "you can't see the overall picture." But if you look at the Winter Soldier Council that we had, that was not a restricted thing. That was overall. You had people from every Div of every military unit in Vietnam.

Now when you put all the pieces together there is the big puzzle. This is what is happening. This is what's condoned. They let these things happen.

like we have gone through a whole process of completely - of losing any or a lot of the human ideals we have and the feeling for people.

They completely strip you of it. You are somebody's trigger finger. There were people in our Bn who liked to refer to the recon platoon as "the Col's personal killer platoon." If there was a dangerous mission or a mission where people were going to have to be killed, it would be us going out. We always went in 1st because he knew that he could get us - you know, he could get us to do that.

Progs like, you know, it was - I don't know whether you were familiar with the Phoenix project or not, but right before I left to come home I went for a in-country RandR and I was in Tan Son Nhut AFB near Saigon and the recon platoon operated - they got their orders from the S-2 officer. This was an intelligence section.

Now the S-2 officer whom I knew was in Tan Son Nhut and he was leaving for somewhere and I asked him, "Where are you going?" I was a platoon Sgt at the time. I went from E-2 to E-6 while over there as a result of losing a lot of people.

But he said, "I am going down to Vung Tau." I said, "What for? A 3-day country?

No," he said, "I am going to be educated on the Phoenix Proj." Well, I thought they hard stopped Phoenix. Yet he was going down there. Now Phoenix, if I am not mistaken, is a prog in which assassination of vill leaders is taught in order to eliminate vill leaders, VC cadre and support for the VC. Now any grassroots framework of all the NLF support among the people has to be eliminated. They assassinate the leaders, by walking in at night, they assassinate them and leave. Plus the fact that, you know, like pacification. The Amer Indians went through pacification progs a long time ago, I guess.

But you just completely uproot the people regardless of whether it will destroy their culture or not, and you move them in this way to a concentration camp which is almost what they are, and if you can remove all people from the VC areas then theoretically you can defeat VC.

Well, we are fighting the whole people over there, really. It's hard to explain. like you are fighting everybody. You are even fighting the ARVN's.

You are not getting support from the RVNese soldiers at all. In case anybody wants to know, I have a map here and it has the vill on it and I have a 6digit grid here. Do you want me to enter that into the testimony?

DELLUMS: Yes, thank you. That will be entered in the record.

NOTLEY: A map in Quang Ngai Province. and the vill is Mo Buc map sheets.

Sheet number 6738I. The name of the vill is Truoung Khanh - 11. Now the 6digit grid is 638442.

DELLUMS: Can you give me the precise date that incident occurred?

NOTLEY: On or about 4-18-69, within a day of that, I am not exactly sure but I got that date because I myself was really upset after this friend of ours had been killed and I wrote a letter to my wife that morning, you know, saying that, well, telling how upset I was about it and everything.

Then you know that afternoon we went in and I looked through the letters yesterday and I found the letter that I had written that date and it was dated 418. So that is how I arrive at that date.

DELLUMS: It is very difficult to put into words the impact of your testimony. I think you have been able to communicate accurately the circumstances that happened to you and your own feelings involved. I would just like to as 1 person commend you for your courage to come before us here and I understand, I believe, the pain you have even to remember these details.

Remembering the details of the act of killing human beings.

I would like to ask you 1 question: In your estimation does the use of conventional warfare in a people's struggle such as the struggle that is taking place in SEA end up to inevitably end in the deaths of 10,000's innocent men, women and children?

NOTLEY: It always does. When you are fighting a people's struggle for liberation for these people as it has been since I945, well - they have been denied rights, they have been denied the right of self-determination.

Well, you have this mass of support among the people which even Eisenhower admitted was at least an 80% factor of the populace.

Now, if you are going to defeat that, if you have to defeat the movement, you know, for self-determination and identity for the people, you have to defeat it where the support is and that is with the people, and because an insurgent army cannot exist without the people, this is where you go to fight it.

Our Amer revolutionaries could not have existed without the support of our own people. It would have been impossible for them to survive. Things are very, very difficult for the NV and the NLF as it is for resupplying and all that.

But the process of sheer genocide to eliminate their support is calculated, and it is a very calculated elimination. We have become much more sophisticated about it than the Germans were with the Jews. We can do it with B-52 strikes.

The whole fallacy of the thing that Nixon is trying to pacify the Amer people with is by withdrawing combat troops. Yet he triples the B-52 strikes and you would not believe, it is an unbelievable devastation that these things have. I mean this is just - things are not any different now than they were 2 years ago.

Tactics have been changed just a little because it was - the way it was going left a sour taste in the mouth of the people. But I guess it's easier to do it from 50,000 feet. Because you don't have to look at the corpses, you don't have to listen to the women and kids crying.

CONYERS: Where did this massacre that you are rpt'g to us take place?

NOTLEY: Truoung Khanh II hamlet, Quang Ngai Province. On or about 4-18-69?

CONYERS: Approx 30 people were killed?

NOTLEY: That's right, women and children.

CONYERS: Who was the highest ranking officer that you know had knowledge of this?

NOTLEY: A LtCol. He must have known, he was in the vill the next day. Unless he just couldn't smell. I mean, you could smell bodies from the napalm and unless he was absolutely stone blind - which I know he was not - there was no way he could have kept from knowing that. Everybody knew that in the Bn. Everybody.

CONYERS: Did anyone ever raise the question of this incident to you afterwards?

NOTLEY: Well people made references of it to me and like, well only recently, if you want to know the truth now, this is the 1st time I have been able to talk about it. I did not tell my wife about it until last night.

I could not talk about it. I had to walk away when I was asked about it.

CONYERS: But there were no officers or no 1 in the military chain of cmnd that ever questioned you about it?

NOTLEY: You mean like an investigation, a CID or anything?

CONYERS: Yes.

NOTLEY: Never. There was no attempt at finding out what had happened. It was accepted as it was.

CONYERS: How many men in the Bn, can you estimate?

NOTLEY: Well, in our Bn? Well, there are 4 infy companies and a heavy weapons company which I guess was, which consisted of a recon platoon and 1 other plus a radar platoon. I don't know really.

CONYERS: Over or under a 1,000 men?

NOTLEY: Well, it's closer to a 1,000 people in a Bn. I couldn't say exactly though. With all the support personnel, truck drivers, cooks, medics and so on.

CONYERS: Is it fair to say that this never before was revealed, never investigated, never reported, and was known then by at least a 1,000 men?

NOTLEY: Well, I would say a majority of those people knew it.

CONYERS: Right. Then if you were to count surrounding military units who may have heard about it through indirect ways, would it be fair to say that this was the - this was a matter that members of the Amer forces at least amounting to the 1,000's knew about?

NOTLEY: Yes.

CONYERS: Have you heard of other incidents similar to this?

NOTLEY: Yes, I have. When you come in contact with people from other Divs, you come across this. Now I went to Cam Rahn Bay before I went on RandR I was at Danang before I went on leave and while you are waiting for your plane, you sit around at night talking to guys from other Divs. Now people are always talking about these things. It goes on all the time. People are not shocked by it any more. After your initiation to the realities of war, this war anyhow - because I can't speak of any other war I have never been involved in, but after the initial realization you just become numb to these things. Your emotions can't take it.

You don't shock any more so you are tempted to just numb yourself and it gets to the point that it doesn't bother you until your buddy gets killed. But Vietnamese getting killed doesn't seem to bother you. You become so dehumanized, you become a stone. You do your job good because if you don't you get in trouble and nobody wants to go to Long Binh Jail. It goes on everywhere all the time. This is going on right now. People are just a Little more careful about it right now because of what is going on here today.

CONYERS: Don't you think because of what is going on here today that more members of the Amer armed forces are going to come before more committees of this kind?

NOTLEY: I certainly hope so. I was really scared of coming down here because I didn't know what to expect.

CONYERS: Now the final question, Mr Notley, where do you think the responsibility for the comm'n of these atrocities resides?

NOTLEY: Well, it depends on whether you want to define this as a physical liability. Now the perpetration by men of the rank of E-5 and below are in that category, of course. But I got the impression when it happened that it had been done so many times, and the people had told me like they used to work around the LZ area in what is now the 196-AO, and they were burning vills as far as you could see and the tank cmdr would fly overhead and say, "Okay, enough fun for today." It was just a joke for him, you know? and this wasn't the 1st time that they have ripped off a lot of people like this. There was 1 guy in our platoon, when I got there he was going home in a month or so. Well, he was referred to as a short - timer but he had a job in the rear at that time as a clerk, or as a truck driver or something. Well, I was never in the field with him anyhow. I never saw him operate.

But everybody in the platoon told me that this guy had ninety - 3 personal kills and I knew at the time that it was amazing. I know now - well, I never saw, I never saw 93 confirmed VC when I was over there. Let alone 1 man killing 93 by himself. So I know in my own mind that this is something, this figure had to include a lot of people. This was known to everybody, to the Bn cmdr included. This incident is not rare. It is not unusual. It goes on in varying degrees every day.

CONYERS: Well, I want to thank you for coming in. You have my highest respect.

NOTLEY: Pardon me?

CONYERS: I said I want to thank you and you have my highest respect.

DELLUMS: Congressmen Seiberling.

SEIBERLING: 1 want to commend you also, Mr Notley, and I just want to pin down some of the details here. How many people were in this squad at the time of this incident in the vill?

NOTLEY: There were about - actually in the squad there were 6 people, but 8-10 of us went because we had a couple guys that were, they had been transferred into our platoon from other line companies and they wanted to go in, or go along for 1 reason or another. So about 10 of us went into the vill.

SEIBERLING: So about 8-10 servicemen actually witnessed this?

NOTLEY: Right. As far as I can remember. Only about 4 people, 4-5 people actually participated as far as firing their weapons. About 1/2 of them did not. 1/2 of them were like me. They were in a state of shock. Really. it was a traumatic experience.

SEIBERLING: Who was the highest ranking"what was the highest rank of anyone present?

NOTLEY: E-5.

SEIBERLING: Well that is what? A Sgt?

NOTLEY: Yes, the squad leader. As a matter of fact, there were, well, 2 other people were there, 2 other Sgts doing the shooting. There was 1 other but he was not participating.

SEIBERLING: I understand there was no possible fire from the vill at all at that time?

NOTLEY: None. The only hostility we encountered was a booby trap right outside the vill where the man was killed. So I guess somebody somewhere determined that this was the enemy vill. So this was the FREE-FIRE ZONES. Because we had a man killed and 1 wounded here, and that this booby trap had been put out obviously by somebody from that vill, therefore, you know, this had to be the FREE-FIRE ZONES. The thing of it is, and I want to reiterate it, is that when I went in - being naive as I was - I was expected to make contact. But I was scared. I expected that there would be VC or NVA because 1 had been seen in that area that morning.

SEIBERLING: Well, the booby trap, how long before this incident had it gone off? How long before you went into the vill?

NOTLEY. Well, this was late in the evening before. We didn't go in that evening because it was getting dark and they wanted to wait until the next morning.

SEIBERLING: Well, so it was the day before actually?

NOTLEY: Yes, the booby trap exploded the day before, right.

SEIBERLING: If necessary, I assume you could name the people who were in this squad with you?

NOTLEY: Yes.

SEIBERLING: and what their designation for the squad was? The 1st squad or what?

NOTLEY: It was the 1st squad.

SEIBERLING: Thank you.

DELLUMs: Congressmen Badillo?

BADILLO: Were the men who fired on the people vets? That is, were they more experienced men than the 1's who did not fire?

NOTLEY: Yes.

BADILLO: Is this the case in all the other incidents that you were involved in?

NOTLEY: Yes, generally. The people just - the young people don't get involved because it's, you know, you are just afraid to commit yourself because you really don't know what you are doing.

BADILLO: Did you find the same attitude or a different attitude on the part of the RVNese involved in the combat?

NOTLEY: The RVNese, the experiences I have had, they are as brutal to their own people, if not more so, than we are. I have seen the RVNese hit a woman in the head with the barrel of an M-79, busting her head wide open. I have seen RVNese Nat'l Police tie a man's thumbs together, and this was about a 16-year-old boy, which is military age for the VC. He was a 16-year-old boy and they tied his thumbs together behind his back, and they tied his ankles together and they tied his ankles to his thumbs. Sort of hog-tied him and they tied a rope, in hog-tying him, and they threw the rope over a tree limb, lifted him up in the air, and slapped and hit him and interrogated him. They beat the man severely, and they started slicing on his ear, you know, as if he were going to cut the man's ear off. I have seen RVNese take a switch - not a stick, but a switch - and beat a man almost to death with just a switch.

They beat him so badly he was lying on the ground shaking. He was having convulsions. This was the process of interrogation.

There were military intelligence people standing right there watching - or rather a military intelligence man. Nobody did anything to stop it. This is the way they did things.

BADILLO: Thank you.

DELLUMS: I would like to ask you, would you identify the squad, the unit, the company involved in the incident that you testified to this morning and also can you give me, if you recall, the name of the highest ranking officer, cmnding officer that is, of the Americal Div at that time?

NOTLEY: The highest ranking officer of the Americal Div? You mean the Div Genl?

DELLUMS: Yes.

NOTLEY: Well, I honestly don't remember the man's name but - just a minute. The man here who is the man who was in the other company that went through, he said it was Genl Ramsey. I myself don't remember personally. I don't remember personally. The unit was Echo Company, Recon Platoon 4/21 11th Bgd, Americal Div, 1st Squad.

DELLUMS: Well, can you give it slower?

NOTLEY: E Company, Recon Platoon, 4/21, 11th Infy Bgd, Americal Div, 1st Squad.

DELLUMS: Thank you. Before we go on, Mr Battles, did you have a comment that you would like to make?

BATTLES: I have 1 thing I would like to say. You had a question on where the responsibility lies. I was in direct association with some West Point graduates, and the responsibility lies, well, West Point is taught, correct me if I'm wrong, that the highest - ranking man is responsible for the actions of his men. Now this squad was headed - well, I think that's irrelevant.

DELLUMS: Thank you. There is a Mr John Beitzel here to corroborate the testimony of Mr Notley. If he chooses to come forward and make a statement that has not been made you may do so at this time.

 

© 2005 Displaced Films. All Rights Reserved