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Gerry Hemming and Vietnam


John Simkin
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Here's an excerpt from the September 1971 trial of Captain Ernest Medina... one of the witnesses for the prosecution was Gerry Hemming (spelled wrong here) who was a "demolition man" who had apparently 'volunteered' for the My Lai mission one day before the attack, and was a participant in the massacre. It appears that he discredited himself (perhaps intentionally) by admitting to excessive wine use and alluding to drugs, when challenged by defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. There are other witnesses (for the prosecution) that either perjured themselves, took the "fifth", or otherwise were afraid to testify. It seems to me that Hemming was a 'plant' to discredit the prosecution, pretending to be an eyewitness who would testify against capt. Medina, when in fact he was weakening their case by coming across as unreliable and of questionable stability. His involvement in this infamous war crime is very telling...

"Judge Howard said that he would decide tomorrow whether Mr. Widmer should be ordered to testify. Gerald Heming, a former demolition man and Captain Medina’s command group, said that he saw an officer step from a helicopter at Mylai and warned Captain Medina, “These shootings got to stop.” He said that he thought the officer who dismounted from the helicopter was Col. Oran K. Henderson, then commander of the 11th Brigade, American Division, and now on trial at Fort Meads, Md., for covering up the Mylai slayings.

When the witness insisted that the officer had been wearing a major’s insigne, a gold leaf, Mr. Bailey pointed out that Colonel Henderson was already a colonel at the time of the incident. Mr. Bailey also brought out that Mr. Heming had told an Army investigator that because of the helicopter noise he wasn’t sure that he had heard the conversation between Captain Medina and Colonel “Henderson.”

“Does it mean anything to you when you make a sworn statement?” Mr. Bailey asked. “No,” the witness replied.

Mr. Heming admitted to a taste for wine and said that he had consumed four quarts on the eve of his appearance. “I do that every day,” he said.

“You been blowing a little LSD?” Mr. Bailey asked? “I wish I could,” Mr. Heming said. “Then maybe I could forget the whole thing.”

There were two trial references that mentioned his name, plus a book, although the spelling was off a bit. It sounds so much like him... irreverent, swashbuckling, cocky and colorful. Comes through the page as enjoying the controversy, putting himself in the limelight. The nickname they used for him was "Hotrod", if that's any clue. Claimed to be a 'demolition' man. He was blowing smoke up the prosecutor's butt during the cross-examination. What I found intriguing (and a bit sinister) is that - according to the book - he 'volunteered' for the My Lai mission (a search and destroy task) only the day before. It sure paints a picture that fits his soldier of fortune profile. There were infamous CIA "tiger teams" rumored to be carrying out Project Phoenix executions and grab/snatch operations... maybe he was a participant.

I know several members have carried out research into Gerry Hemming. Does anyone know if he was involved in "My Lai" or "Operation Pheonix"?

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