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My Lai War Hero Hugh Thompson Dies

An American soldier honored for protecting Vietnamese civilians from U.S. troops in the infamous My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war has died.

Hugh Thompson was 62. He succumbed to cancer Friday.

As an Army helicopter pilot in 1968, Mr. Thompson saw the bodies of women and children lying outside the village of My Lai. When he realized that US troops were shooting civilians, he landed his helicopter in the line of fire and ordered his two crew members to train their guns on the Americans.

Mr. Thompson threatened to shoot the U.S. troops if they did not stop, helping end one of the worst atrocities of the war.

His role in what became known as the My Lai massacre of hundreds of civilians was not widely known until years later. In 1998, Mr. Thompson and his crew were awarded the Soldier's Medal for their bravery.