The Army dismissed "for lack of evidence" all charges against Captain thomas K. Willingham, an?
SV Willingham and wife arriving at court
MV Willingham and attorney seated
CU Willingham (SOF)
TV Willingham and attorney and CU attorney (SOF)
WILLINGHAM (SEQ 3): "Our company had about 19 casualties through sniper fire and land detonator mines. Now we performed as an infantry platoon would and under conditions as cautious as possible, for the protection of out men. That's really the mission of a platoon".
REPORTER (SEQ 4): "How could the charges of unpremeditated murder of 20 persons come about?"
ATTORNEY: "Well I think that's something you'll have to ask the Army. You must realise that the charges were preferred against the Captain at the last minute, before the Army had any opportunity to make a detailed investigation. The reason the charges were preferred I assume is because the army was apprehensive that they were going to lose jurisdiction of the case, that he was being discharged."
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Background: The Army dismissed "for lack of evidence" all charges against Captain thomas K. Willingham, an army officer accused of the alleged massacre of civilians at the town of My Khe in the Son My area of South Vietnam on March 16, 1968, on the same day that 12 other Americans are alleged to have slaughtered civilians at My Lai, two miles east of My Khe, in a separate incident.
Willingham, 25, was accused of unpremeditated murder in the killing of 20 Vietnamese civilians. He was also accused of making false official statements in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The charges were filed last february 20 -- two days before Willingham's scheduled release from active duty.
Lieutenant-Colonel Herman L. West, to whom the charges were referred, determined that "based on available evidence", no further action would be taken to prosecute those charges.
Willingham, has been kept on active duty pending the investigation and disposition of the charges against him. He is stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland where he was notified of the decision in a telephone call form Fort McPherson, Georgia.
Lieutenant William L. Calley, Junior, is still to be court-martialled on charges of premeditated murder in connection with the death of 102 civilians at My Lai. Thirteen men have been charged with murder, rape, assault and other offences and two soldiers and 22 civilians who had been released from the army are under investigation. In addition, 13 other officers have been charged with dereliction of duty in field investigations of the alleged massacre in the Son My and My Lai area.
Captain Willingham and his attorney spoke to a reporter.