Nguyen Van Phuoc
“About midnight a helicopter landed and American soldiers entered our village, Xuan Khe. On that night when the soldiers moved into the village they took Mr. Tuyen, an old man, to the bank of the river and struck him on the head, killing him immediately. Then they killed Mr. Tuyen’s wife. They moved to another home, arrested Mr. To, Mr. Huong and Mrs. Thai. They beat the men, then shot all three. In another house they killed Mrs Loi and her three children. Next door they killed Mrs. Xu and her two children. Then they shot my mother in the head, killing her. Her name was Lan. The American soldiers killed 13 people that night, all women, children and old people. This was in August 1967. I was 9 years old.
Three days earlier an American force had entered the village and set fire to all our houses. They wanted to relocate us due to the presence of guerillas and local army forces in the area. They were clearing the area of civilians so we couldn’t provide support for them. We moved to another village but quickly returned home.
On the day of the killings an American patrol was attacked by guerillas on the mountain about 5 kilometers from here. We were in our bunkers in the village but we could hear the shooting. We were still in our underground bunkers that night when the helicopter landed. First the soldiers threw grenades in the bunkers. As the villagers came out they were arrested, then killed.
I was in a bunker when I heard all the noise. I came up and saw what was happening about 50 meters away. I hid with my younger brother in a large clay jar that my family used to store rice. I ran with my brother on my back—that’s when I saw the soldiers beating Mr. Tuyen by the river. It was the middle of the night but the moon was full.
My brother and I went to stay with our grandmother. When the Americans set fire to our village three days earlier, she went to stay at a village 10 kilometers away and on the night the Americans attacked, she was still at that village. From that night my grandmother raised my brother and me.”