William Calley

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Vietnam War

William Laws Calley[1] (born June 8, 1943) is former U.S. Army officer found guilty of murder for his role in the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, during the Vietnam War.[2]


Early life

William Calley was born in Miami, Florida. Nicknamed "Rusty", he stood 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm) tall. His father was a United States Navy veteran of World War II. Calley graduated from Miami Edison High School in Miami. He attended Palm Beach Junior College from 1963 to 1964, but dropped out after receiving unsatisfactory grades, consisting of two Cs, one D, and four Fs.[3] He then worked at a variety of jobs, including bellhop, dishwasher, salesman, insurance appraiser and train conductor.[4] He did not hold any of these for long and was in San Francisco in 1966, when he received a letter from his Selective Service board requesting reevaluation of his medical condition. While attempting to return to Miami, his car broke down in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Calley reported to a recruiting sergeant there, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in Albuquerque on July 26, 1966.[4]

Military career

Calley underwent nine weeks of basic combat training at Fort Benning, Georgia, followed by eight weeks advanced individual training as a company clerk at Fort Lewis, Washington. Having scored sufficiently high enough on his Armed Forces Qualification tests, he applied for and was accepted into Officer Candidate School (OCS). Calley began 16 weeks of junior officer training at Fort Benning in mid-March 1967. Graduating in OCS Class No. 51 on September 7, 1967,[4] he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

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