By Dave Hughes

May 15, 2000



As many of us who read all of the sensationalist AP press stories of the ‘massacre’ at Nogun-ri, which you, and all the main street press and media blithely repeated, front page (with one small side story about we who ‘doubted’ it happened the way it was reported) knew all along, the full story would eventually come out, no thanks to AP.  It has.  In spades.  Even before the Army has completed its $2 million investigation. 

    "Lt" Ed Daily, the poster boy of the whole massacre—whose picture you ran, whose ‘anguished’ memories of hearing baby’s screams after he machine gunned them over 30 minutes under direct orders by officers I knew, to kill them, which you quoted, and whose juicy recollections persuaded Tom Brokaw of NBC television to fly him to Korea for tear jerking scenes ‘apologizing’ to the victims—and which sensational story won the ‘investigative’ AP reporting team which was bound and determined to prove a war crime a Pulitzer Prize—has turned out to be a 100% fraud--along with some others who were there, claiming the same thing. 

    Daily was never at Nogun-ri or in the 7th Cav battalion which was there; he never received an order to shoot civilians; he machine gunned nobody; never heard babies cries in the night; never was an officer; never won a battlefield commission, never was a POW who escaped, never won the DSC, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, or even the Combat Infantry Badge, which he claimed.  He was a PFC mechanic at the 1st Cavalry Division level, in the rear, in Korea, and then, for only 54 days.  Nine months later he was in the 7th Cav, as a Corporal, and made Sergeant before he transferred home, after a very short time in a line combat unit. 

    No order was ever given to kill those civilians in that tunnel.  Yes, some civilians were killed there, but how many is yet to be announced by the Army--who’s going to remain tight lipped until all things are investigated.  It won’t be 200, or 400, as you reported.  I will be surprised if it is 20.  And from incidental, and panic, firing--not from orders.  And, contrary to what the survivors claimed—that their tunnel was a killing ground for three days--the unit that was there was gone the second day. 

    There simply was no ‘massacre’ at Nogun-ri.  And Daily was a fraud.  How do I know?  Read it across 10 pages in US News and World Report Monday—or as early as Friday afternoon on their web site.  Read it in the Baltimore Sun, probably Sunday.  Separate, not ‘wire service’ investigations.  Read it in Stars and Stripes already—separate investigation.  You won’t read it from the other researcher I know.  And the Army is still tight lipped—none of my information came from them.  I only gave them information.  And you won’t be able to reach Daily.  He has checked himself into a VA hospital—again—claiming all this has given him a stroke.  And oh yes, he has been receiving VA disability checks a long time for all the mental problems brought on by the horror of Nogun-ri.  He told Brokaw that himself.  And other veterans of the 7th Cav.  And me. 

    I don’t think I would trust the AP wire service on it right now.  They may go into deep denial—for their precious Pulitzer is at stake.  Will they have the guts to give back the Pulitzer?  Or will you have to join the chorus, editorially, to get the committee to take it back?  Do you have the guts?  I’ll be watching.  I’m not confident.  Journalists defend their own—just like they accuse the military of.  Or will you, as I predict will most media who bought story (without checking the things that other journalists seem to have been able to do), and that is sweep Ed Daily under the table as quickly as possible, and keep speculating that something terrible happened at Nogun-ri more than was happening everywhere else that refugees stacked up, and the rear war criminals—the North Koreans—slipped armed infiltrators into our lines with civilians as shields, and killed our men in the rear.  And killed civilians whenever convenient to their cause. 

    But I will be even more watching to see what you do, to make amends, now that you hugely helped depress all the Korean War veterans in this area, turning them in your readers’ mind into baby killers with craven war criminal officers—the very year that they, in their 70s, were about to be at least acknowledged for what they did, and sacrificed, in that war exactly 50 years ago to turn back a cynical communist invasion.  Well, by the time you begrudgingly conclude what I have said above is right, I’ll not be around much.  For I fly to Seattle early next Monday through Thursday.  Then I, and 350 of my West Point Class of ’50 classmates will be gathering at West Point the following week, where we will stand on the Plain and be honored by the Corps of Cadets on May 23nd, after I and a few other classmates stand in the hallowed Chapel on the 22nd, and intone the names of the over 180 of our dead classmates, 46 of whom died in Korea—the largest number of any class killed in that bloody war. 

    A class of young idealists defined by that ‘Forgotten’ War.  And made up of officers who gave no orders to murder civilians, in that or any other war.  Who commanded men who, unlike many from Vietnam, didn’t complain, or protest, or massacre anyone except the overwhelming numbers of enemy flung at them.  And they did not come home feeling sorry for themselves.  Or try to rip off the VA with phony claims of ‘post traumatic stress syndrome.’ 

    Daily was one of the very few bad ones.  No, we will continue to march to our own drum, and remain very, very skeptical of a press that increasingly feeds on itself, and doesn’t dig deep enough, as Joe Galloway did.  But before you do anything, access www.oldcolo.com/~dave and drop down to the "Last Full Measure…" section and read, silently, the names of the 67 men who were killed in my company alone in that war.  And think before you write.  The rest of the page is what we, the living did.  But we can defend ourselves and actions even today.  While neither those 67, nor any of the other 1,092 officers and men of the 7th Cav who were killed in that war can speak, or rebut the allegations and gossip you repeated to hundreds of thousands.  Think of them when you write.  And think for yourselves this time.  Don’t let the Associated Press do your thinking for you.  You, and thousands of other press and media, by willy nilly repeating the AP story and starting a feeding frenzy, hurt a lot of people.  You have some apologizing to do.  And lots of Korean War veterans to honor in the coming months. 


Dave Hughes Col (Ret)

US Army