Carter, a retired postal worker living in Florida, says he has no memory of his combat experiences. "I guess I've wiped Vietnam and all that out of my mind. I don't remember shooting anyone or ordering anyone to shoot," he says.
Henry was re-interviewed by an Army investigator in 1972, and was never contacted again. He drifted away from the antiwar movement, moved north and became a logger in California's Sierra Nevada foothills. He says he had no idea he had been vindicated — until The Times contacted him in 2005.
Last fall, he read the case file over a pot of coffee at his dining room table in a comfortably worn house, where he lives with his wife, Patty.
"I was a wreck for a couple days," Henry, now 59, wrote later in an e-mail. "It was like a time warp that put me right back in the middle of that mess. Some things long forgotten came back to life. Some of them were good and some were not.
"Now that whole stinking war is back. After you left, I just sat in my chair and shook for a couple hours. A slight emotional stress fracture?? Don't know, but it soon passed and I decided to just keep going with this business. If it was right then, then it still is."
Times researcher Janet Lundblad contributed to this report.
About this report
Nick Turse is a freelance journalist living in New Jersey. Deborah Nelson is a staff writer in The Times' Washington bureau.
This report is based in part on records of the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group filed at the National Archives in College Park, Md. The collection includes 241 case summaries that chronicle more than 300 substantiated atrocities by U.S. forces and 500 unconfirmed allegations.
The archive includes reports of war crimes by the 101st Airborne Division's Tiger Force that the Army listed as unconfirmed. The Toledo Blade documented the atrocities in a 2003 newspaper series.
Turse came across the collection in 2002 while researching his doctoral dissertation for the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University.
Turse and Nelson also reviewed Army inspector general records in the National Archives; FBI and Army Criminal Investigation Division records; documents shared by military veterans; and case files and related records in the Col. Henry Tufts Archive at the University of Michigan.
A selection of documents used in preparing this report can be found at latimes.com/vietnam.