"Would Mr. Colburn have fired at his fellow Americans? “How could I ever be prepared for something like that?” he replied years later. “Would I have? I guess that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?” Seymour M. Hersh, the independent journalist who later uncovered the My Lai massacre, said of Mr. Colburn in a phone interview on Friday that “for a door gunner in Vietnam to point his machine gun at an American officer” under those circumstances “was in the greatest tradition of American integrity.”... My Lai became a paradigm for unbridled brutality and an object lesson in battlefield ethics, but the crewmen whose audacious intervention prevented even more bloodshed were largely forgotten. Their heroism was acknowledged with Bronze Stars, which they considered inappropriate recognition: The Bronze Star is awarded for bravery under enemy assault, they reasoned, and they had demonstrated courage in the face of friendly fire. After the investigations and trial, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Colburn received something else, too: hate mail. “One of the most infuriating things is being called a whistle-blower, as if we went and ratted someone out,” Mr. Colburn told Vietnam Magazine. “That is completely false; there was no back-stabbing going on. We were right in their face at My Lai. We were ready to confront those people then and there. And we did, the best we could.”"
Friday, December 16, 2016
Larry Colburn, Who Helped Stop My Lai Massacre, Dies at 67; New York Times, 12/16/16
Sam Roberts, New York Times; Larry Colburn, Who Helped Stop My Lai Massacre, Dies at 67: