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- WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection
- WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a reporter John Philp conducting street interviews with civilians and soldiers outside the commissary following the conviction of lieutenant William Calley for his role in the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, Fort Benning, Georgia, 1971 March 30
- WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
- Contributor to Resource:
- Philp, John
- Date of Original:
- My Lai Massacre, Vietnam, 1968
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Atrocities
Courts-martial and courts of inquiry--United States
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Public opinion
Trials (Murder)--United States
Reporters and reporting--Georgia--Fort Benning
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--United States
Public opinion--Georgia--Fort Benning
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Casualties
- Calley, William Laws, Jr., 1943- --Trials, litigation, etc.
Calley, William Laws, Jr., 1943- --Public opinion
Calley, William Laws, Jr., 1943-
- United States, Alabama, 32.75041, -86.75026
United States, Alabama, Russell County, 32.28838, -85.18496
United States, Georgia, Chattahoochee County, Fort Benning, 32.35237, -84.96882
United States, Georgia, Muscogee County, 32.50996, -84.87704
Vietnam, 16.16667, 107.83333
Vietnam, Quảng Ngãi Province, Mỹ Lại, 15.18764, 108.88904
- moving images
- In this WSB newsfilm clip from March 30, 1971, reporter John Philp interviews civilians and soldiers outside the commissary at Fort Benning, Georgia following the conviction of lieutenant William Calley for his role in the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War.
The clip begins focusing on a building on the fort. A man and woman, seen from behind, walk up steps and into the building. During the street interviews, the clip pauses between each person and the reporter is not seen. The first interviewee is a young woman who holds a grocery bag. The young woman, whose husband is a second lieutenant, feels that lieutenant William Calley should not have been convicted for his role in the My Lai massacre. She explains that "this could happen to any one of" the soldiers serving in Vietnam. Next, an Asian American woman expresses regret at the massacre, but continues that "many people do something wrong in the war." The next interview is with a young soldier who feels that Calley's conviction is the result of external pressure. He hopes that in the appeals process Calley will eventually be let off. Next, a male African American commissary employee criticizes the verdict because "they are judging him for what they sent him over there for." A white young man in civilian clothes offers the one dissenting opinion, explaining that the conviction was the only just decision because civilians who were not resisting the soldiers were killed. A white commissary employee strongly disagrees with Calley's conviction and declares he would have helped Calley if he had been in Vietnam with him. Finally, reporter John Philp comments on the situation, recognizing the overwhelming support for lieutenant Calley at Fort Benning. According to Philp, most people feel the "verdict was too harsh and feel there is nothing to be gained by putting Calley in jail for the rest of his life or executing him." Philp reports that people more closely associated with the trial say it was fair. Philp praises captain Aubrey Daniel for his work for the prosecution and Colonel Reid Kennedy for his work as the trial judge. He also mentions George Latimer, the defense attorney, has a background in appeals and that lieutenant Calley feels that the verdict may be reversed on appeal. Philp recognizes that in a purely legal sense, there is no question of Calley's guilt. But he also recognizes that the situation is more complicated than that.
Second lieutenant William Calley was a member of the Charlie Company, 1st battalion, 20th infantry regiment, 11th infantry brigade while in Vietnam. While in there, he participated in the March 16, 1968 attack on the hamlet of My Lai. During the attack between three hundred and five hundred unarmed Vietnamese, mostly women and children, were killed. Lieutenant Calley was charged on September 5, 1969 with premeditated murder of Vietnamese civilians. His trial lasted from November 17, 1970 until March 29, 1971; two days later, Calley was sentenced to life in prison. In the end, Calley served three and a half years of house arrest at Fort Benning, Georgia. The details of the of the My Lai massacre helped turn public opinion in the United States against the Vietnam War.
Reporter: Philp, John
Title supplied by cataloger.
- Local Identifier:
- Clip number: wsbn62845
- Metadata URL:
- Digital Object URL:
- IIIF manifest:
- Bibliographic Citation (Cite As):
- Cite as: wsbn62845, WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a reporter John Philp conducting street interviews with civilians and soldiers outside the commissary following the conviction of lieutenant William Calley for his role in the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, Fort Benning, Georgia, 1971 March 30, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1729, 19:39/22:32, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia
- 1 clip (about 2 mins., 53 secs.): color, sound ; 16 mm.
- Original Collection:
- Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection.
- Contributing Institution:
- Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection