Hal Moore's We Were Soldiers Once, And Young
We Were Soldiers Once, And We Were Young, is an extremely authentic narration of one of the most critical battles in the Vietnam War: the battle of the Ira Drang Valley. It is largely written as a first hand account of General Hal Moore, and was co-authored by Joe Galloway, a reporter who happened to be stationed at the battle for most of its tenure which lasted from November 14 through November 18 of 1965. This battle was so critical to the Vietnam War because it marked the first time the U.S. had engaged the People's Army of Vietnam, and the first time the former had taken military action in this affair since peace was declared in the Korean War in the early 1950s.
The book provides salient points of insight into the fate of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment at LZ X-Ray which was led by Moore. The general (who was the leader of the aforementioned phalanx at the time as a Colonel) discusses some of the preparation that he and his men endured in the months leading up to the battle (1), including the pivotal moment in which approximately 100 of his best soldiers were taken from him prior to the battle due to protocol. It provides in-depth analysis of the now legendary battle from both a tactical and emotional standpoint....
The second half of the book is devoted to Moore's recounting of the fate of the 2nd Battalion, which made a grievous tactical error and paid dearly for it. The author also devotes a fair amount of time to recounting his visits to some of the many families of the multitude of soldiers he lost during this martial encounter. In this respect, the book is able to depict the full story of war from its frenzied battlefield drama to the reality of the inevitable deaths and casualties that it produces
As with most chronicles of war, the point of this particular work is not found in the individual detailed accountings of various firefights, skirmishes, and brushes with death. The summary section of this work indicates that there is a lot to be learned regarding military tactics and the prowess of both partisans in this regard. Yet as the narrative unfolds page by page, it becomes clear that there are two predominant themes that are integrally interrelated. The first of these is that this book is unequivocally about leadership -- specifically that of Moore under less than desirable circumstances. The second of these is the fact that this story is ultimately about the relationship of this leader to his followers, those he directly led and those whose families…
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