Defense Of Ernest Medina Essay

1746 words - 7 pages

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”(Albert Einstein) The motto of the media is “if it bleeds it leads”, the only things to make the front page are things that tarnish the image of people. In time of war the media will never print stories of great achievements of soldiers but the casualties or the “politically incorrect”. In war there is no such thing as politically incorrect and there is a thin red line between whats moral and unmoral, especially in Vietnam.

Medina started his military career by lying to recruiting officials by telling them he was 18 when he was only 16. Started out being a radio operator but being to small to carry the 65 pound radio he became a cook.(Eckhardt) Medina was sent to Germany, seeing the horrors after just finishing basic training. He then started OCS, Officer candidate school, and finished with high rewards and being the head of his graduating class. After graduating he then taught at the OCS for two years and was then made commander of Charlie Company in December of 1966.(Eckhardt)

On the eve of March 16th 1968 Captain Medina briefed his men on the mission into the region of Quang Ngai, specifically the town of My Lai.(Eckhardt) He gave the orders to go into the town of my lai and lay ground fire, meaning not to shoot at civilians but to shoot the ground or into the air to give a warning to civilians.(Eckhardt) The orders that he gave came from Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker, who briefed Medina on the morning of the 16th and told him there would be no civilians in the town or vicinity of My Lai. Barker told Medina that Vietcong had retreated into the region of Quang Ngai, and especially into the town of My Lai. This is the information that Medina told to his men.

During the massacre, Barker was flying over with a helicopter getting frequent updates on the mission. Medina was responsible for updating him on the progress, from which each platoon leader is to give Medina an update. Medina did not enter the village of My Lai until the third platoon was sent in. The first and second platoon at the time were already in the village under the command of Lieutenant William Calley and Lieutenant Stephen Brooks. Medina was receiving updates from them saying that they were killing multiple Vietcong, not civilians. The third platoon was to wait at headquarters until the first and second platoon secured the area of all enemies.

When Barker had went on his last ride in the helicopter to get updates, he was radioed by Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson who was flying above My Lai and wanted to know the reason behind the killing of civilians. Barker had no answer for him, but he called Medina to call off the shootings. Medina called them off and went in with the third platoon into the village to observe what had happened.

The Vietcong were a crafty group of soldier who would trick soldiers in many ways. They would recruit civilians to...

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