Tiger Force - A True Story of Men and War
by: Michael Sallah and Mitch Wiess
Published by: Little, Brown
Buy From Amazon.com
Reviewed by Jeff Foster
In this military history, when the dusty records of Army Commander Henry Tufts arrived at the University of Michigan's Harlan Hatcher Graduate library in December of 2002, few of the librarians and researchers at the repository, known for housing papers from radical groups of American History, knew what they had received.
Local investigative reporters Michael Sallah and Mitch Wiess were contacted to review the documents. When they reached the final box, they were stunned by a file that would launch their own inquiry into what was plainly labeled, the "Coy Allegations."
Gary Coy was a soldier in the 1st Battalion/327th Infantry of the infamous 101st Airborne Division. His platoon was known as "Tiger Force," a special force inside a special force. They were the best of the best, or so he had been told when he joined them late in 1967.
Coy rapidly realized upon joining the platoon was the Tigers had gone completely off the deep end of moral reality and were committing some of the most heinous crimes in the history of warfare. Innocent civilians were being gunned down routinely, not just men of military age, but women, children, and babies were being slaughtered mercilessly, at times mutilated, and the officers of the platoon did absolutely nothing to stop it.
Coy shortly realized he was not alone in his revulsion of this once-proud unit's decent into the mindless killings--regular occurrences every day the unit was in the field--and had been going on for seven months. Many of the troops were horrified, but too frightened of their commanders to speak up and say anything. It wasn't until Coy witnessed one of the Tigers brutally behead a baby, that he presented the allegation to his battalion superiors.
Sallah and Wiess have done yeoman's work in presenting an investigative biography into Tiger Force's action, between May and November 1967, and it is all here. The saddening fact of the whole story is that the Coy Allegations didn't surface until the war was over. After the My Lai massacre, the U.S. government could not bring itself to go through another public humiliation, thus the entire investigation was quietly swept under the rug.
Armchair Interviews says: Tiger Force is a chilling, yet humbling story. You will not be able to put it down.
From our armchair to yours...