There was an ARVN cav rgt posted within a few kilometers of My Lai, but
seldom ventured out of Quang Ngia city. A ROK Cav unit had occupied a FSB in
that area until just after TF Oregon left the AO for the Americal (o/a Dec
67). When the ROKs departed with their M113s, they left their FSB intact with
mines still in place.  The only time any effort to confront VC in the My Lai
area was on the few occasions when US troops would conduct small, one
battalion sized week long operations. Obviously, this left little concern for
the sympathy of SVN in the minds of the peasants of the My Lai area. The
locals simply transplanted the ROK mines on a daily basis in front of US
units. Lots of mine and booby trap casualties came from My Lai. The area also
had a tremendous recruiting and logistics capability for the resident enemy
main force VC battalion. The Quang Ngia province chief would never entertain
any proposals for the My Lai area people to be relocated. He would always say
that he didn't want those people any closer to the province capital than they
were. The only time he became involved with My Lai was when a US unit was
working in the area, and then only to provide a "blocking force". In every
instance I can recall, the ARVN cav element's blocking location proved to be
the most effective VC escape route out of the area. The Batangan Peninsula
was truely a VC stronghold.

In all actuality, My Lai was never in danger of being destroyed. Calley
probably did the most damage to that area than any other US operation before
or since. Perhaps some folks think they did My Lai a Damn-Damn, but in
reality it only resulted in the death of some old women and children, and
hardening the communists efforts. Medina/Calley were just sick and tired of
mine and booby trap casualties, lost their heads, and well, the rest is
history. Whenever he could find the peasants, before moving through the
terrain, Medina would put them in front of his lead element thus avoiding the
transplanted mines. It was no surprise that when he did, there were few
mine/booby trap casualties.

IMO, it was too big an area with too little SVN pacification/controlling
efforts, and the area was more suitable for an entire US Division to operate
in on a permanent basis. Of course that can be said for a great many
uncontrolled areas of SVN. Especially, those the size of our SF camp's
operational areas.

Bill Adams