Army Pays Tribute to My Lai Rescuer
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The Army paid tribute to Glenn Andreotta on Wednesday, 30 years after he risked his life to help stop what came to be known as the My Lai massacre.
The Army presented the Soldier’s Medal to the family of Andreotta, who died in action three weeks after he and two other helicopter crewmen tried to stop the slaughter of Vietnam villagers in March 1968.
Andreotta, Hugh Thompson and Lawrence Colburn, put down their scout chopper between U.S. soldiers and a group of fleeing Vietnamese to prevent more killings.
Thompson and Colburn received their medals earlier, but were present when Andreotta’s medal was given to his mother, Ruth Andreotta. The medal is the highest award for bravery not involving conflict with an enemy.
``I’m very pleased to have the medal and very honored that they came here to give it to me,″ said Ruth Andreotta, who was too ill to travel to the Washington ceremony last month.
The My Lai massacre, which left some 500 Vietnamese civilians dead and led to the court-martial of Lt. William Calley and five other soldiers, stands as one of the worst moments in American military history.
Early in the morning of March 16, 1968, chopper pilot Thompson, door-gunner Colburn and crew chief Andreotta came upon U.S. ground troops killing Vietnamese civilians in and around the village of My Lai.
They landed the helicopter in the line of fire between American troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians and pointed their own guns at the U.S. soldiers to prevent more killings.
Colburn and Andreotta provided cover for Thompson as he went forward to confront the leader of the U.S. forces.
Thompson later coaxed civilians out of a bunker so they could be evacuated, and then landed his helicopter again to pick up a wounded child they transported to a hospital. Their efforts led to the cease-fire order at My Lai.