[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 21 (Thursday, March 5, 1998)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E306-E307]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                     RECOGNIZING MR. HUGH THOMPSON


                         HON. CHRISTOPHER JOHN

                              of louisiana

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 5, 1998

  Mr. JOHN. Mr. Speaker, I would like for my colleagues to join me 
today in recognizing a true American hero from Lafayette, Louisiana.
  Some 30 years ago, a forgotten story of personal courage and bold 
convictions unfolded in the village of My Lai in South Vietnam. A 24 
year old Army helicopter pilot, Mr. Hugh Thompson, found himself thrown 
into the midst of a massacre--one which pitted him against his 
superiors and even his own fellow soldiers. His story has remained a 
dim light in this dark period of our military history. However, I am 
honored to share it with this body as it represents a patriotic act of 
great sacrifice, moral fortitude and uncommon valor.
  Mr. Speaker, on March 16, 1968, Mr. Thompson, defying his superiors, 
landed his helicopter in front of helpless My Lai villagers gathered in 
a hut. He did so not to protect them from the assault of the enemy he 
was trained to combat in Vietnam but to protect them from the ongoing 
assault of soldiers wearing the United States' uniform. Shocked at the 
horror of witnessing innocent children, women and men being fired upon 
by fellow soldiers, Mr. Thompson moved to action along

[[Page E307]]

with his crew mates and radioed two other gun ships to come to the aid 
of the Vietnamese villagers. The ensuing standoff lasting 15 minutes 
provided the necessary time for the choppers to airlift a dozen 
villagers to safety. Had it not been for Mr. Thompson's intervention, 
many more villagers may have been included in the list of Vietnamese 
civilians killed that day. I am pleased to announce that this story, 
Mr. Speaker, will be reaching a final chapter on Friday, March 6, 1998 
as he will be receiving public recognition by the United States Army 
for his efforts some 30 years ago. The prestigious Soldier's Medal will 
be awarded to him at the Vietnam Veteran Memorial citing his ``heroic 
performance in saving the lives of Vietnamese civilians during the 
unlawful massacre of noncombatants by American forces.''
  Mr. Speaker, this high honor marks a long over-due recognition for an 
American who served his country with great distinction and who 
continues to do so in counseling veterans in Louisiana's 7th District. 
I wish to extend my heartfelt appreciation for Mr. Thompson's honorable 
service and all those who acted beyond the call of duty in saving the 
lives of those My Lai villagers. I am proud that our nation will do the 
same this Friday.