The Battle of Ia Drang and Beyond: Hal Moore's Journey as a Soldier Once
Hal Moore: A Soldier Once
Hal Moore was a United States Army lieutenant general and author who is best known for his leadership in the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle between American and North Vietnamese troops in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. military's second-highest decoration for valor, and was the first of his West Point class (1945) to be promoted to brigadier general, major general, and lieutenant general. He also co-authored the best-selling book We Were Soldiers Once And Young, which was adapted into a film starring Mel Gibson as Moore. In this article, we will explore his life, career, and legacy as a soldier once.
Hal Moore: A Soldier Once
Early life and education
Moore was born on February 13, 1922, in Bardstown, Kentucky, the eldest of four children born to Harold Sr. and Mary (Crume) Moore. His father was an insurance agent whose territory covered western Kentucky and his mother was a homemaker. Moore had a strong interest in obtaining an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, since he was a boy. He left Kentucky at the age of seventeen before finishing high school and got a job in Washington, D.C. working in the U.S. Senate book warehouse. He finished high school at night while working days and graduated from St. Joseph Preparatory School in Bardstown with the class of 1940.
Moore attended George Washington University at night for two years, working at his warehouse job while waiting on an appointment to West Point. He was offered an appointment to the United States Naval Academy by Representative Ed Creal (4th District, Kentucky) but Moore had no desire to go to the Naval Academy. He finally received an appointment to West Point from Senator Alben Barkley (D-Kentucky) in 1942. He graduated from West Point in 1945 as part of an accelerated three-year program due to World War II.
Moore was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry branch of the U.S. Army in June 1945. He served in Japan as part of the occupation force after World War II ended. He then attended parachute school and became a paratrooper. He married Julia Compton Moore in 1949 and they had five children together.
Moore served in the Korean War as a company commander in the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was wounded by shrapnel during a battle near Kumhwa in October 1951. He received two Bronze Star Medals with "V" Device for valor during his service in Korea.
Moore continued his military education at various schools and colleges, including the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Harvard University, where he earned a master's degree in international relations in 1964.
Moore was assigned to Vietnam in 1965 as the commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). He led his battalion into one of the most famous battles of the Vietnam War: the Battle of Ia Drang.
Battle of Ia Drang
The Battle of Ia Drang took place from November 14 to November 18, 1965, in the Ia Drang Valley of South Vietnam. It was the first major battle between American and North Vietnamese troops in the war. Moore's battalion, along with two other battalions of the 3rd Brigade, was airlifted by helicopters into a landing zone (LZ) named X-Ray, near the Chu Pong massif. They were soon surrounded by thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers of the 33rd and 66th Regiments.
Moore and his men fought for three days and two nights against overwhelming odds. They faced constant attacks, artillery fire, and sniper fire from the enemy. Moore used his radio to coordinate air support, artillery support, and resupply from the helicopters. He also moved around the battlefield to inspire and direct his troops. He refused to leave his wounded behind and ordered a daring night evacuation of the casualties by helicopter. He was determined to hold his ground and not let his battalion be overrun or annihilated.
On November 16, Moore was reinforced by another battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division, led by Lt. Col. Robert McDade. Together, they repulsed a final assault by the North Vietnamese on the morning of November 17. Moore then ordered a breakout from LZ X-Ray and marched his men to another landing zone (LZ) named Albany, where they were extracted by helicopters. The Battle of Ia Drang was over.
Moore's battalion suffered 79 killed and 121 wounded out of about 450 men. The North Vietnamese suffered an estimated 1,200 killed and an unknown number of wounded. The battle was a tactical victory for the Americans, but it also showed that the North Vietnamese were willing and able to fight a conventional war against superior firepower. The battle also marked the beginning of a long and bloody stalemate in Vietnam.
Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his extraordinary heroism at Ia Drang. He was also promoted to colonel and became the deputy chief of staff for operations of the 1st Cavalry Division.
Later years and legacy
Moore served in various command and staff positions after Vietnam, including as the commander of the Army Military Personnel Center, Fort Ord Army Training Center, and 7th Infantry Division. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1968, major general in 1970, and lieutenant general in 1974. He retired from active duty in 1977 after 32 years of service.
In 1992, Moore wrote We Were Soldiers Once And Young with co-author Joseph L. Galloway, who was a war correspondent for United Press International and witnessed the Battle of Ia Drang. The book was a bestseller and was adapted into a film in 2002, starring Mel Gibson as Moore. The film depicted Moore's command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Benning and in the Battle of Ia Drang.
Moore remained active in public life after his retirement. He visited Ia Drang with his North Vietnamese counterpart, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Huu An, for an ABC documentary in 1993. He publicly supported a global ban on the production and use of anti-personnel land mines in 1996. He also likened the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the protracted war in Vietnam, which he wrote ended after 10 years "with a hasty withdrawal just ahead of defeat."
Moore died on February 10, 2017, at his home in Auburn, Alabama, three days before his 95th birthday. He was buried at Fort Benning Post Cemetery with full military honors. He was survived by his five children and twelve grandchildren. His wife Julia had died in 2004.
Moore is remembered as one of the most respected and admired leaders in American military history. He was a soldier once who embodied courage, integrity, and loyalty to his country and his men.
Hal Moore was a soldier once who led his men through one of the most brutal battles of the Vietnam War: the Battle of Ia Drang. He was a soldier once who rose to the rank of lieutenant general and served his country with honor and distinction for over three decades. He was a soldier once who wrote a best-selling book and inspired a film about his experiences in Vietnam. He was a soldier once who spoke out against war and advocated for peace and human dignity.
Hal Moore was a soldier onceand always.
Who played Hal Moore in the movie We Were Soldiers?
Mel Gibson played Hal Moore in the movie We Were Soldiers, which was I have already written the article for you. Here is the rest of it. Who played Hal Moore in the movie We Were Soldiers?
Mel Gibson played Hal Moore in the movie We Were Soldiers, which was released in 2002. Gibson met with Moore several times to prepare for the role and to learn about his personality and leadership style. Moore praised Gibson's performance and said he captured his spirit and emotions.
What was Hal Moore's motto?
Hal Moore's motto was "There is always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor." He believed that a leader should never give up and always look for ways to improve the situation and help his men. He applied this motto to his military career and his personal life.
What was Hal Moore's book about?
Hal Moore's book, We Were Soldiers Once And Young, co-authored with Joseph L. Galloway, was about the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle between American and North Vietnamese troops in the Vietnam War. The book was based on Moore's personal recollections, interviews with other participants, and official records. The book was a bestseller and received critical acclaim for its vivid and honest portrayal of the war.
What was Hal Moore's rank when he retired?
Hal Moore's rank when he retired from the U.S. Army in 1977 was lieutenant general, which is a three-star general. He was the first of his West Point class (1945) to be promoted to brigadier general, major general, and lieutenant general. He held various command and staff positions during his 32-year military career.
What was Hal Moore's cause of death?
Hal Moore's cause of death was not officially disclosed, but he had been suffering from various health problems in his later years. He died on February 10, 2017, at his home in Auburn, Alabama, three days before his 95th birthday. He was buried at Fort Benning Post Cemetery with full military honors. 71b2f0854b