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Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam

Testimony of Gary Battles (E/4, APC Driver, 11th Bgd, Americal Div)

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Dellums (House of Representatives) War Crimes Hearings Wednesday, 4-28-71, Washg'tn, DC Testimony of Spec/4 Gary Battles The Committee met at 9:45am in the Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, the Honorable Ronald V Dellums, Chmn of the Committee, presiding.

Present: Representatives James Abourezk, Herman Badillo, Phillip Burton, John Conyers, Jr, Donald W Riegel, Jr, Benjamin S Rosenthal and John F Seiberling.

DELLUMS: The Committee will be in order. We have with us this morning to my far right, Congressman Ben Rosenthal from NY, Conyers, and to my far left Herman Badillo from NY and Congressman Seiberling from OH.

This morning we will hear testimony from 9 former members of the C and D Companies of the Americal Division, I/20 Bn, 11th Bgd, Americal Div, the Div that Lt Calley was in; and testimony will be from the young men approx 1 year after he left. For the last 2 days we have had an overview of atrocities in SEA. The objective here was to put the whole thing in a macrocosm. Today we will look at specific instances of SOPs by what may be termed a typical infy unit that served in SEA. We will ask our witnesses wherever possible to made brief opening statements and to delay the details until we open it up for questions from the congressmen.

If there are any other opening statements by and members of the panel here, you may do so now.

SEIBERLING: Mr Chmn, I would simply like to ask each of the witnesses to, in the course testimony if they can, focus on 2 things: 1, to try to be as specific as possible in terms of what they actually saw or what they actually learned firsthand secondly, to try to the best of their ability to give their impression as to the extent to which the things they describe were generally known among people in their unit, or people in Vietnam and, in particular, higher levels of cmnd. If we are to accomplish what I think we need to accomplish in terms of bringing out the extent of cmnd responsibility, then we would like to get the impressions as to the extent to which higher elements of cmnd should have known or did not know of the kind of thing that was going on that you are about to describe. Thank you.

DELLUMS: Before we begin, I might indicate to the press that we have Xerox copies of the DD-214 separation papers for all the witnesses here this morning. They will be made available to you so you can ascertain whatever info you need from that. Our 1st witness this morning is Mr Gary Battles.

Statement Of Gary Battles E/4, APC Driver, 11th Bgd, Americal Div, College Park, Maryland

BATTLES: Good morning. My name is Gary Battles, and I will say that I grew up in Ohio, around East Cleveland. I graduated from high schl, having participated in track and the normal things that people do in high schl. I went to Ohio State Univ'y. I was drafted from there because I could not continue my education. You had to maintain certain credit hours and I was - I just didn't have the money, so it was either the draft and so on and so forth. I didn't really realize what I was getting into when I went into the Armed Services. My parents believed in it, I suppose. I had respect for the USA and respect for the Army and I was just. I just went by what I was told. So I went into the Army. The 1st thing I noticed in the Army was like marching around singing songs about killing, and I saw signs around certain places on the camp that said VC-BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.

DELLUMS: Where was this?

BATTLES: That was at Ft Dix, NJ. and I didn't like this at all. If Amer was such a good country, why should it have to be upheld in this kind of a way?

I made it through basic training with difficulty. I didn't like stabbing a dummy with a bayonet. I just couldn't see it. I don't like killing. I went to AIT and from there I went to Vietnam. Upon arrival in the Americal Div, we were sent to a briefing camp. We had 7-8 days to see what it was like in Vietnam, to learn bow to stay alive, so to speak, at this training camp. It was a refresher, to get used to the climate, and so on.

During this period they had classes and at every 1 of the classes there was a microphone in front of the speaker, just like in front of me - but we were told that "the only good gook is a dead gook, and the more gooks you can kill, the more slant-eyes you can kill in Vietnam, that is the less you will have to worry about them killing you at night.

We were told that men, women and children would put a rubber band around a hand grenade, pull the pin, and throw it into a gasoline tank, and the gasoline would eat away the rubber band and the hand grenade would blow up, and blow up the truck.

Now I started questioning my presence in Vietnam at this time. If the Vietnamese children were after someone in a village, what am I doing there?

But again as going into the Army, I just followed suit. I went through the training.

I remember a man, he was an E-8, I believe it was, who demonstrated different ways of making sure that people were dead. He didn't only kill them, he told us how you could assure that they were dead. He told us how to take your fingers and bend your fingers - and if you were double-jointed it was much better, but if you could extend your fingers and bend them back and down, and gouge a person's eyes out, that this was a way that you could tell he was dead. He told us how to crack the rib cage and pull the heart out of a man.

It made me sick.

But we all went through the Americal Div, and I believe everyone here at this table was at a training camp, and they remember the man. Is that agreed or not agreed?

CONYERS: Mr Chmn, can the Chmn show that all the witnesses have agreed with that statement?

DELLUMS: Can we have an indication here?

CONYERS: All right, so it would be excluding the gentleman to your left.

VILLARREAL: No, I don't know the gentleman.

CONYERS: Well, we are trying to have the record show this.

BATTLES: I don't want to bring out nationalities or anything, but he did tell us how to stay alive, and he did show us these things. Things that he told me happened in the field in Vietnam in the infy, which is the reason, of course, that I am here today, because I don't like what i did, I don't like what I saw, or I don't like what I participated in.

After getting - They took a plane and they flew us to our base camps, and I got my gear and things and I went on a truck with my squad then to go out to a small ARVN compound and we were supposed to help the ARVN's hold this little compound. I wasn't sent to the field immediately for duty, just out of Duc Pho.

Now this is the 11th Bgd. Now on the way there members of my squad, we were looking over the rice paddies, and I had "big eyes" at the time. I saw people working in the rice paddies and 1 of the fellows asked me how I felt about them, what I felt of Vietnam.

I said, "Well, from what I learned I guess I shouldn't trust anyone." He said, "In my opinion we should start sniping at them right now." That is the way it was when I got here and that is the way it is now. and from all the reports of the enemy in the area, it is going to be worse in the upcoming months." He also said, "As long as you keep the attitude like what we have and members of this squad and members of this company have, the men will trust you and you follow suit and you will be all right." and I thought, well, that means I am going to have to be - you know-sort of vicious, and I just questioned this.

These are the people that are here to know, and who work on the pacification progs. The people to build orphanages, etc, for the betterment of RVN. My question is, why am I supposed to be hating them? It was the genl consensus though of the company, you know, and after getting to this ARVN compound, the ARVN's I found out didn't like us and we didn't like them. That is the way it was.

When we got fired on, some of the men in the company at the time, you know, shot at the ARVN's when they ran. That was the problem. I am sure people would agree of seeing some instances of that, too.

About 12-14 days later, 5-3, I, about, our company, Charlie Company, had made contact and 11 of their men had been killed at the time, and we were sent to help them out. Now we all got on line with APC's and we were told not to fire, but we were just on line like the Redcoats, a squad of men. There was an APC and a squad of men, and we were facing the jungle. We were told to march and not shoot until we were fired on, and I thought that someone is just going to get hit here. Someone will have to go down and before we knew what was going on, that's what happened. What happened was, we started marching forward and immediately some men were killed and we all hit the ground and we - I don't know.

Every time I start talking about this it really gets to me that I have to sit and tell the people what is going on in Vietnam.

I am glad for the people that did come, like the people that came here today, I am glad they came here. and II break down about in the middle of this.

But I would like to ask a question myself before I go on.

Where are some more people that care about this? Where are the people who are pulling the strings in this war? I mean, it only baffles me. It really does.

Well, 9 of us showed up here and not too many of you showed up for this today.

DELLUMS: I might just give you 1 brief response to that. Every single member of the Congress has been invited to these proceedings. I think some of these in answer to your question - it is obvious, I think, there are members of the Congress who would like to be here who have other things to do, but I think there are many congressmen

BATTLES: Well, a will go to the incidents and I will get off the air. The thing that 1st blew my mind in Vietnam was on 6-10. Our Company C came in choppers. We got out and marched into a jungle area. Now we marched in and the 1st 4-5 men were killed like immediately. I think it was 6 men killed.

After these 6 were killed everything was really, really hectic. We had poor radio contact, we didn't know where our own men were, and we got down behind rice paddy dikes, and they then called in arty. and they called in bombers too and the napalm.

Well, we backed out and the men being attacked - we had men up near the front where the bombs were falling and the arty was flying in, and our Col was then flying overhead. the called in saying, "Excellent, excellent. You have made contact. I want a body count." Well, we had a man, for example, who was having a heart attack. Now I had the radio, and I told him that we have a man 19 years old having a heart attack and we don't know where the medic is. and we couldn't see what we were firing at. He said, "I don't care about that. I want a body-count." My response was, I got on the radio and I said, "you don't care about that?

Like who does care about that?" and I threw the radio down and I started putting out some fire myself.

After this it went on for about a 1/2 hour or 45 minutes and we anyway got everyone back up and 1 of the men said that there was an old woman and a child back there who were preparing rice. and I know I saw them. know when we walked in a saw them.

and he said, "Shall we go back and do a job on them?" and the Capt just nodded his head. So they went back, 7-8 men in the squad, and these men were rather bitter, like their friends had been killed, and they went back and threw the old woman and the child down the well and threw 2 grenades in on top of them.

Now after this happened

ROSENTHAL: How old was the child?

BATTLES: The child was approx 7 years old. It is hard to tell. They are dirty, and, of course, they are carrying rice and working. The woman, she had to be in her 80' though. She was really old. After we got organized we were told to go to certain places across the rice paddies. and in starting out into the paddies, you could see that there was jungle on the sides and the front. Now it was a U-shaped area ideal for ambush. Well, I brought it to the attention of the company and they did nothing about it. So we started across and sure enough we had an ambush. Now more men were killed. That's about that incident, that about tells about what I have to tell about that.

Now other incidents that occurred were just like 1 morning where we went into a village and this was in Aug. We went into a vill and it was a FREE-FIRE ZONES now and we went into the vill and people started running. It was the early hours, still dark. We almost shot each other, like we were in 2 columns, and the people started running, and 1 guy was shot here. They said that he was grabbing some sort of a pistol belt, and he had ammunition in it, but I never saw the pistol belt. He was shot and there were men, you know, searching the hooches.

Now as soon as this happened the vill was designated as an enemy vill, so we started destroying the food, burning the hooches, and killing the cattle, and that was just genl policy. Like we did that all the time. Every vill that we went into. We killed the animals, and other guys in their testimony, like, you know, they feel up the women. You know, like also urinating in the food. These are the things that happened every day.

I don't really know - I don't have anything more to say really.

DELLUMS: I commend you for your testimony and appreciate your courage in coming here. I think your testimony is very shattering. I would like to turn it over now to members of the panel for questioning. Mr Conyers?

CONYERS: What we want established here, sir, is to what extent these activities were condoned or approved by higher military authority?

BATTLES: I'll give you a specific incident: I can give you these all day though, but I was in a recon unit later on. It was 2 o'clock in the morning and we had landed at LZ Bronco. We didn't know where Bravo Company was. But we started moving across the river, and they shot and killed 1 of our men, and wounded 2. and I thought at the time that those were our own men.

Sure enough, we waited until daylight and we slowly got up and waved to each other and, of course, felt like a bunch of fools. I was really upset because the man who got killed - well I had just shaken his hand and told him to stay by me. He went through the hedgerow before I did and that's the reason he got killed.

Well, we heard a rustling in the bunker, the foxhole at the river bank, and we then - everyone else was afraid then.

I was rather angry and upset, and I went over and it was - it was supposed to be designated as an area for VC. Well, I went up and I shoved my weapon in the hole, and I went through 1 clip, threw the clip away, and threw in 2 grenades on top of that. Well, we backed up and we set up security, and they are saying, "Excellent. Excellent." The PRU said that there are probably VC in the hole, so that's why I did it.

Well, we backed away and I was getting complimented for what I had done, and we then explored this. We found that 3 men were still alive and I don't remember seeing a weapon in that hole. Pardon me, 3 men were dead, 2 men were alive, and it was the Bn cmdr who came in the chopper and some lieutenants who were working with the professional recon units, and they decided - I don't know if they were God - but 1 of the 2, both of the men were too wounded to take back and to have them patched up, so 8 rounds were put into 1 of the men's head and I think the other 1 just died. It wasn't just on the chopper.

CONYERS: These were Vietnamese?

BATTLES: Yes, and all I heard about later was that it was - I don't know how they determined it. There were no papers, no weapons or anything. All they had was a transistor radio in this hole with them. I almost got a Silver Star for doing this.

But I was told later that they were from the 300th Bn of VC, or some VC unit. All they were really is Vietnamese. In a FREE-FIRE ZONES, near the mountains, I saw a child and a woman, were working - well, you know, like we had sniper fire, and we sniped back. But a woman and a child were running across, and the Capt goes, you know, "There. They are running." Well, FREE-FIRE ZONES zone, anyone running in Vietnam - well, if they are running they are wrong. They are enemy. and we shot. Like a whole squad opened up, and I don't think they really hit them. But then 1 guy drew up a careful bead and the woman went down. The next morning we went out and we could see the cap of the child that was bloodied and you could see where the mother had dragged the child away.

Well, my squad happened to be in front. That was it.

1 incident on the river bank near the South China Sea, our company was moving along and there was a man like 2-300 yards in front of us. He came out of a vill and started running across, you know, across the paddies and he started then getting down on hands and knees and running, and we were told to open up on him. This wasn't even a FREE-FIRE ZONES, by the way. There were people along there, and it was not a FREE-FIRE ZONES.

Well, the squad in front opened up and myself and another man took off, and we ran off after him when the firing stopped, and as he swam across the river, the guy I was with shot him and hit him.

Well, we went out, and - well, he had gone under, the water current had taken him under and we couldn't find him. Well, there were 2 of us out there, and I know I didn't find any ID and I know he didn't, and when we got back to the CP we learned that some ID was produced, and it was told that he was a LT of blah, blah, blah. That was another incident. This happens all the time.

On the bunker lines, you know, for calling in mortars on water buffalo and cattle and so on. You know people are waiting up to 7 o'clock - is the magic number. At that time everyone goes into the hooches and at 7 you call it in and the shit hits the fan.

CONYERS: The question I ask you - and it will apply to every witness that comes on after you - is it from these incidents, which apparently without number you could recite before this committee, that there is a genl policy of genocide being practiced on the Vietnamese by Amer

BATTLES: well, I don't need any notes for that answer.

CONYERS: Is that correct?

BATTLES: That is correct. I just pulled my tour in Vietnam. It's 1 big atrocity. I don't need any notes for that. After 8-10 months I just then refused to fight any further. I just - I had done a good job and I got my medals and so on. I just saw what I was really doing. The whole thing was based on, you know, rank. The more bodies you got, the better you were. You get your RandR according to the more killed you get. If you got confirmed kills - well, we had a club called the Super Killers. It didn't matter how you got them. We had "SK" embroidered on our clothes, and we were respected by the officers. We could get away with more stuff than the others in any of these places because we were like' noted as really doing a good job.

CONYERS: The 2d question to you and to every successive witness here that this Committee is concerned with is, where does responsibility attach over and above the individual servicemen who were committing these atrocities? In other words, where does the responsibility for this policy of genocide come from?

BATTLES: I would like to know myself who is responsible for the war. I know it's not me. I know it's not Lt Calley because I am sure he wouldn't have made the point to get a ticket on the airplane to go to Vietnam and do the things like he did in My Lai. The result of Regtation and just the way things are in Vietnam, is the reason for that. That's what happened. The guilt doesn't enter my mind on something that happened with Calley. Guilt doesn't enter the picture. The fact that the war is going on - that is the guilt.

In today's society with all the advances we have, it is hard for me to believe that something like this is still going on.

DELLUMS: Congressmen Rosenthal.

ROSENTHAL: How do you react from the comment that I have heard from some people that "War is hell, has always been hell, people get killed, women and children get killed if they happen to be there. If they do, that's unfortunate. Now, how do you react to that?

BATTLES: I don't even believe in, well, I came home, I think, about in the 4th grade as a child with a black eye. and I was told that, of course, "You don't fight to solve your problems." Well, when I was in basic training, I asked my mother what I should do, "I have to stab a bayonet in human silhouettes," and I asked her that question and she said that "That's the way it is." Well, if that's true I think something should be done.

ROSENTHAL: When your mother said that "That's the way it is," that is what I am trying to convey to you. Wh at is your reaction to that?

BATTLES: Well, the reason I am here is that I am trying to change the way it is.

ROSENTHAL: You don't think that's the way it ought to be?

BATTLES: Certainly not. Do you?

ROSENTHAL: No, I don't.

CONYERS: That's why he is here.

BATTLES: Exactly.

ROSENTHAL: Do you think we are all guilty? Rather than say guilty, let's say responsible.

BATTLES: Every poll I ever saw in the US, whether it be 5 people on the street or a million in a larger city, the majority of the people in the USA are not for this war. They either want out, or, well, they want out. and if this is a democracy, and a majority want out of Vietnam, why are we in Vietnam?

That's what I would like to know.

ROSENTHAL: Just 1 more question: How do you think it's possible that Amer boys can do the things you told us about?

BATTLES: Well, it's a way of life.

ROSENTHAL: How can they kill women and children?

BATTLES: Well, it's a way of life in Vietnam from the time you get there. I didn't want to do the things I did. I didn't want to participate. I was following orders though. If you are in the front squad and they say, "Disperse," and you get on line, and you fire at people running, you know, that's your job. If you are an infyman that is your job. My mom said at a PTA meeting that some boys are trained to be engineers and they come on home as engineers. Now what do you do with what do you do if you are trained as a killer? Do you join the Mafia?

ROSENTHAL: Well, Viet me ask 1 more question: What does your mother think of all this now?

BATTLES: Well, she is a very, very changed person from what she used to be. From my letters and other people's letters, she has certainly changed.

ROSENTHAL: Thank you, Mr Chmn.

DELLUMS: Thank you. We have also been joined, to our far right, by Mr William Ryan from NY.

RYAN: Thank you. You described the killings of the woman and the child in the well. Was that reported to any higher authority?

BATTLES: I imagine there was in the body-count. Any time we are

RYAN: Well, except as a statistic, was it reported as a killing of an elderly woman and a 7 year-old child, and something that should not ever have happened?

BATTLES: To tell you for sure, I can't say. It wasn't my job to do that. I was relatively new and I was, frankly, shocked. I was just absolutely shocked that it happened.

RYAN: I am sorry, I did not hear what Div you were in?

BATTLES: I was in the Americal Div, 11th Bgd, I/20.

RYAN: Now let me ask this as a genl question, maybe you can't answer it, maybe you can: It has been my impression of reading accounts of activities in Vietnam and talking with servicemen and of what we have read of the Calley trial, that Amer soldiers varied from outfit to outfit. That it was some Divs that were more prone to engage in this type of activity that you described, more so than other Divs. Now my impression is that this is a function of the attitude of those people in the particular Divs. Now is there any merit in my impression?

BATTLES: If Calley incident happened when it did, which I imagine it did and the stories I got in the unit were between the time Calley was there and the time that I got there, that would be true. I have called men from my unit that had 10-11 months in the country and I tried to get them to come and testify about dragging people behind armored personnel carriers, and of going into a vill and taking a chair out from underneath them after having strung them up for hanging. We found our stamp of the unit on the foreheads of some of the bodies to show that our unit had been through the area, and that was when I 1st got into the unit. If Calley's incident happened when it happened, and when I was there the things that were happening and when I left the things that were happening - like we have had testimony Like the soldiers' special inquiry of last 12 - where people from all over Vietnam,,from different units, and newsmen would ask, "You have been out now for 2 years, why bring it up now?" Well, these - people just didn't know what the proper channels were to take to get it out to the public. I am sure and there is no doubt in my mind that is the way the war is run in Vietnam.

RYAN: Well, would you say it was different in the Americal Div than it was in some other div's?

BATTLES: I couldn't say. I talked to Marines, and I heard Marine testimony, and I had friends in different divs, and I can tell you it's all the same.

RYAN: Congressmen Seiberling?

SEIBERLING: Mr Battles, I certainly do commend you for your forthrightness and your courage in coming here. I just would like to go back to a couple of thins, a couple of these incidents. The 1 where the woman and the child were thrown down the well. Do I understand correctly that this was checked out with the Capt before this incident occurred?

BATTLES: Well, you mean like the Capt was personal friends of 2 men who had gotten killed. It was just a nod of the head. That's all. That's just the way things are in Vietnam. There isn't any procedure. Like you don't have a written thing when you are out there being fired at and so on.

Like we thought everything was ok and the choppers came in to pick up the dead bodies and the wounded, and they started getting shot at and everything and he contact was bad, the communications were bad and it wasn't like a written permission thing or anything. It was just nod of the head, and of course, they are there fixing rice, and of course they, I guess, had more bowls of rice than for the 2 of them, therefore they were just VC.

That's the way it is. But the way I saw Vietnam was that we go through and do the things we do, and if the VC go through and do what they do, what do the people have to do? Where can they go? Where can they turn to? The war is just that way. We ate chicken-heads in the vill hooch in 1 of those places, and on the same night that man snuck into our perimeter with an M-18 and 80 rounds of ammunition for an M-14 and he was the vill chief, and we thought, the only reason we set up there near his vill was that because he had been good to us during the day. Now that puts a lot of questions in my mind. Someone who supposedly wears 1 face during the day, and agrees with us, and feeds us, and then at night he tries to kill us.

You know, who is the enemy? Apparently the whole Vietnamese people are the enemy. That's the way I saw it and that's the way I was trained to treat them, and that's the way it was.

I see my Capt, like 2-3 different Capts, in the field, after leaving a day perimeter, we would leave our food boxes and trash and so on. and of course children would come up to look through it. and they would shoot at the children, they would see the children coming and they would shoot at the feet of the children coming up to the food. Now I can't give particular incidents of killings, but I am sure that they got dirt spatters from the rocks being thrown up and things like that. I have seen booby traps set up where they would take a C-ration box, and turn it upside down and put a mousetrap device inside so when it is picked up it goes off. Under the C-ration box is the mousetrap device.

SEIBERLING: Was any effort made by anyone to rpt this incident or other similar incidents to higher headquarters?

BATTLES: No.

SEIBERLING: Thank you very much.

DELLUMs: Congressmen Abourezki

ABOUREZKI: Now the booby trap in the C ration box, that was done so that no matter who came along, they would get it?

BATTLES: Well, just the act of doing it. Who is to say who was going to come along?

ABOUREZKI: Well, what I am trying to get at is that whoever did it didn't really care, is that what it means?

BATTLES: Apparently not. How does he know who is going to come along? The way I understand it, and maybe I am wrong, but I thought it was against the Geneva Convention. There is no front there in Vietnam. The people are crisscrossing constantly, working in the fields and so on, carrying on daily life.

You can't really tell who is going to come around. You set a booby trap in a place where they are not going to go, I should think, and it would be all right. All the FREE-FIRE ZONESs that I saw that were supposed to be FREE-FIRE ZONESs were not ' supposed to be inhabited by any people there, and there are people in FREE-FIRE ZONESs.

There have to be. If we had done this on most occasions, what we were supposed to be doing, we would have killed a heck of a lot more people than we did. But we came up to people in vills and

CONYERS: What were you supposed to do?

BATTLES: Well, in a FREE-FIRE ZONES anything that moves gets killed. You don't ask any questions. If you are on point there is no question about it. The FREE-FIRE ZONES is inhabited by enemy.

That is what happens in a FREE-FIRE ZONES. But we didn't always obey orders. We can't just kill these people, they are people. So it is a FREE-FIRE ZONES and if they are working in the field, this killing is supposed to take place. But we simply harassed them. We hit them with rifles, cut their wheat bags, you know, they carry the food on a stick like the people do in the Orient. So we would cut those bags open or push them over a hill into a river or something. We just couldn't go as far as to kill them, because they are humans, they have humanity left in them.

ABOUREZKI: Well, the FREE-FIRE ZONES is determined to be in enemy area, is that right?

BATTLES: Yes, we have maps of our area where the FREE-FIRE ZONES s were.

ABOUREZKI: Who determined that?

BATTLES: Well, I followed orders. I learned more than I should have in Vietnam as it was. I can't say who does it. I would like to know. I really would. I would like to see what kind of a guy he is, what he eats for breakfast. Breakfast of Champions - VC. Maybe he eats VC. a don't know.

DELLUMS: Congressmen Badillo?

BADILLO: What you are talking about is 6-69 and up to 2-70? Is that correct?

BATTLES: Yes.

BADILLO: That was the period when there was supposed to be Vietnamization of the war. Were you working with any RVNese troops?

BATTLES: Yes, we worked with RVNese troops and they worked with us until we made contact and then we were working alone.

BADILLO: Did the RVNese kill like the rest?

BATTLES: well, I have seen cases where they twist the arms of some of these people. Now they are their own people, and here we are going into Vietnam - well, I don't know where they get the info that a certain vill was an enemy vill. But they would twist their arms, and they would rip the blouses off the women. Sure. They did the same things we did.

BADILLO: Did they kill them?

BATTLES: Well, I don't remember any incidents where they, themselves did kill them. But I see them, I have seen t"hem drag barbed wire across the palms of the hands of 10 - year - old child. They would be dragging barbed wire across his hands. In 1 incident - there is a guy that can testify with this, who was in the same unit that I was - here he was thrown down a well 4-5 times. We thought a VC might be in the vill where we had killed some people, so we threw the boy down the well 4-5 times. Well, he would crawl back up, and he would be thrown back in. There he would be at the bottom of the well looking up at us from the well. Or we would hold a boulder over the well, and we would be yelling in English, "Find rifle." Well, he's looking up at us and he doesn't know what to do.

BADILLO: Did you notice any difference in the behavior of the RVNese troops and the Amer troops in respect to civilians?

BATTLES: Well, they held hands and kissed a lot and ran when the fire broke out and that's all I know of.

DELLUMS: Well, I would like to, on behalf of myself and the Committee, commend you for your testimony and I realize that it takes courage and great feeling, and I know it is difficult to put into the words the facts that you have outlined. I think all of us clearly understand the agony that you feel and I am very happy that you came forward today because the Amer people have to understand our involvement in SEA. Thank you very much.

SEIBERLING: You have expressed the proper concern as to why there aren't more people who are concerned. 1 of the ways that we are going to try to straighten out this mess, and have the confidence of our people in this country, is to bring out the facts. So far there is a conspiracy on the part of the military to keep from airing their dirty linen in public and after 4 years in the Army as an officer I know that this a natural reaction. But we are going to see that the facts are brought out whatever they may be and your contribution is greatly appreciated, and I have faith now in the Amer people and I have faith in our process that when the facts are brought out the Congress itself will ultimately take some action that is appropriate to take to prevent this from happening in the future. I think you have contributed a great deal, thank you very much.

BATTLES: My contributing - well, my mother wrote me a letter, you know, and the CID had been visiting the house and they had tapped the phone. This is the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. My opinion is that you have to be awfully brave to be free and to tell the truth of what has happened in Vietnam.

SEIBERLING: Well, you are not alone in the phone tapping. We have it here in the Congress.

DELLUMS: The 2d witness we will hear from is Mr Dan Notley.

 

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