We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young
Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway,
Open Road Media
November 6, 2012
The New York Times bestseller, hailed as a “powerful and epic story . . . the best account of infantry combat I have ever read, and the most significant book to come out of the Vietnam War” by Col. David Hackworth, author of the bestseller About Face In November 1965, some 450 men of the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Harold Moore, were dropped into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was brutally slaughtered. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War. They were the first major engagements between the US Army and the People’s Army of Vietnam. How these Americans persevered—sacrificing themselves for their comrades and never giving up—creates a vivid portrait of war at its most devastating and inspiring. Lt. Gen. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway—the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting—interviewed hundreds of men who fought in the battle, including the North Vietnamese commanders. Their poignant account rises above the ordeal it chronicles to depict men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have once found unimaginable. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man’s most heroic and horrendous endeavor.
We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young: Ia Drang—The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway covers the 1965 battle at Ia Drang. This is about the first major battle between an American force against regular North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces. Moore was the commander of the US 7th Cavalry. He provides a first hand insight of the events of the battle.
This was a fight for survival. The smaller U.S. forces have landed in the midst of a much larger NVA division. The US forces were surrounded 4 to 1. Their only means of resupply or extraction was by air. The outnumbered U.S. soldiers hold their ground and fought for their lives.
The Battle of Ia Drang changed the Vietnam war. This was the first test of using helicopters to bring troops to the frontlines. The lessons learned in this battle shaped U.S. doctrine for the Vietnam war.
A movie version entitled We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson offers a portrayal of the battle in the first landing zone. This makes a good companion to the book as it provides you a visual presentation of the battle. The action scenes are realistic. The private lives of the soldiers and their spouses provide the drama needed. The movies is astounding and closely follows the book. A must watch!