Weiss, Mitch

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Weiss, Mitch




Writer, reporter, editor, and investigative journalist. Worked for the Associated Press for twelve years. Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC, member of editorial staff.


Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting (with Michael D. Sallah and Joe Mahr), 2004, Medal by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Sigma Delta Chi Award, first place, for investigative reporting, Neiman Award, first place, Neiman Foundation at Harvard University, Monthly Journalism Award, Washington Monthly, and first-place award for investigative reporting, Associated Press Society of Ohio, all for Toledo Blade series on Tiger Force; recipient of numerous state and national journalism awards.


(With Michael D. Sallah) Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.


Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War was adapted as an audio CD.


Mitch Weiss and Michael D. Sallah are journalists whose work has earned them the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. Weiss and Sallah, along with collaborator Joe Mahr, received journalism's highest honor for their 2004 series in the Toledo Blade which uncovered atrocities committed by Tiger Force, an elite Army combat platoon from the 101st Airborne that operated during the Vietnam War. In their series of articles, titled "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," the authors revealed how members of Tiger Force, essentially leaderless, indulged in a seven-month rampage in which they indiscriminately killed unarmed Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, dispensing violence, destruction, and bloodshed wherever they went. Sallah, Weiss, and Mahr also revealed how the Army refused to prosecute or punish members of Tiger Force, even after an internal investigation concluded that war crimes had been committed. Tellingly, the authors discovered that the Army not only knew about Tiger Force's actions, but in some cases encouraged them.

In their book Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War, Weiss and Sallah expand on the story of Tiger Force, the scandals that accompanied them, and the soldiers who committed the acts of brutality. They relate how Tiger Force began as an all-volunteer combat team organized by Major David Hackworth. The unit was highly decorated, suffered numerous casualties, and earned a strong, combat-forged reputation. Yet despite its honorable origins, Tiger Force "descended into a moral abyss" beginning in May, 1967, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Eighty innocent victims fell to the unit's unrestrained violence. Soldiers took macabre trophies such as scalps, ears, and teeth. The memory of the unit eventually faded and the story became one punctuated by rumor and legend until Weiss, Sallah, and Mahr revisited it, interviewing former platoon members, scouring written records, and confirming the truth of the unit's atrocities. The authors discover that, even in the midst of its depravity, some soldiers tried to stop the killing, including Sergeant Gerald Brunner, who leveled his weapon on his fellow troops in an attempt to stop them, and Lieutenant Donald Wood, who tried to countermand orders that sent the platoon to kill. However, they also found that the commanders were well aware of what Tiger Force was doing, and at best looked the other way and at worst encouraged the carnage. In an encouraging sign, Sallah noted in an interview with Amy Goodman on the Democracy Now Web site that current Pentagon leadership has expressed interest in looking at the case again. "In the best tradition of investigative journalism, the authors let the story speak for itself," a Publisher Weekly critic noted, calling Tiger Force an "outstanding book." Library Journal contributor Karl Helicher described the book as a "searing narrative, difficult to read yet difficult to put down."



Library Journal, April 1, 2006, Karl Helicher, review of Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War, p. 109.

Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, review of Tiger Force, p. 73.

Toledo Blade, April 6, 2004, Kelly Lecker, "Blade Wins Pulitzer; Series Exposing Vietnam Atrocities Earns Top Honor," profile of Mitch Weiss and Michael D. Sallah.

Washington Monthly, December, 2003, "The Washington Monthly's Monthly Journalism Award," p. 12.


Hachette Book Group USA Web site,http://www.twbookmark.com/ (November 30, 2006), biographies of Mitch Weiss and Michael D. Sallah.