Today in History: March 16, US soldiers kill hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese in My Lai massacre


In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed during a battle with natives the following month.

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

In 1935, Adolf Hitler decided to break the military terms set by the Treaty of Versailles by ordering the rearming of Germany.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained.

In 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In 1968, the My Lai massacre took place during the Vietnam War as U.S. Army soldiers hunting for Viet Cong fighters and sympathizers killed unarmed villagers in two hamlets of Son My village; estimates of the death toll vary from 347 to 504.

In 1972, in a nationally broadcast address, President Richard Nixon called for a moratorium on court-ordered school busing to achieve racial desegregation.

In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by Hezbollah militants (he was tortured by his captors and killed in 1985).

In 1994, figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine.

In 2004, China declared victory in its fight against bird flu, saying it had “stamped out” all its known cases.

In 2014, Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, overwhelmingly approving a referendum that sought to unite the strategically important Black Sea region with the country it was part of for some 250 years.

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take the seat of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died the previous month. (Republicans who controlled the Senate would stick to their pledge to leave the seat empty until after the presidential election; they confirmed Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch in April 2017.)

In 2018, singer Aretha Franklin canceled two upcoming concerts, saying a doctor had told her to stay off the road and rest completely for at least two months. (Franklin died five months later from pancreatic cancer.)

In 2020, amid coronavirus concerns, global stocks plunged again with Wall Street seeing a 12% decline, its worst in more than 30 years, and Ohio called off its presidential primary just hours before polls were to open while Arizona, Florida and Illinois went ahead with their plans.

In 2021, a gunman killed eight people, mostly women of Asian descent, at three Atlanta-area massage parlors in an attack that sent terror through the Asian-American community, which had increasingly been targeted during the pandemic; the white gunman, Robert Long, told police that the attack was not racially motivated, and that he had a “sex addiction.” (Long was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in four of the deaths.)

In 2022, a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima in northern Japan.


Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 90.

Game show host Chuck Woolery is 83.

Country singer Robin Williams is 77.

Actor Erik Estrada is 75.

Actor Victor Garber is 75.

Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 73.

Bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize; Earls of Leicester) is 70.

Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 70.

World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 70.

Actor Clifton Powell is 68.

Rapper-actor Flavor Flav is 65.

Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 61.

Actor Jerome Flynn is 61.

Folk singer Patty Griffin is 60.

Movie director Gore Verbinski is 60.

Country singer Tracy Bonham is 57.

Actor Lauren Graham is 57.

Actor Judah Friedlander is 55.

Actor Alan Tudyk is 53.

Actor Tim Kang is 51.

R&B singer Blu Cantrell is 48.

Actor Brooke Burns is 46.

Actor Kimrie Lewis is 42.

Actor Brett Davern is 41.

Actor Alexandra Daddario is 38.

R&B singer Jhené Aiko is 36.

Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 33.

Toronto Blue Jays baseball star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 25.