This past Friday, February 10, 2017, the United States lost another one of our heroes. U.S. Army Lieutenant General (Retired) Harold G. “Hal” Moore passed-away in his sleep at his home in Auburn, Alabama. He will be buried alongside his wife at the military cemetery at Ft. Benning, Georgia. LTG Moore was best known as the Army air cavalry battalion commander in Vietnam who saved most of his men in the first major battle between the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies at the Ia Drang Valley that began on November 14, 1965. The exploits of his men were chronicled in the book he wrote with his co-author Joe Galloway (who was present at the battle), "We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young." The book was the basis for the movie, “We Were Soldiers” that came out in 2002. LTG Moore was 94.
Regardless of the military service in which one served in Vietnam or during that period of time in our nation’s history, the story of the battle at the Ia Drang Valley is a story of courage, tenacity, leadership, valor and the spirit of completing the mission. The battle ended in a victory for the U.S. unit, despite the high casualties suffered during the fighting. The American force was outnumbered by more than 3-to-1 and lost 72 out of the 395 who were present at the start of it. The fact the unit was able to sustain itself against these very unfavorable odds is testimony to the efforts of all the members of the unit to accomplish their mission.
Courage and valor are two concepts every person who serves in our nation’s armed services hopes and prays they will have if and when the need arises. Clearly the men of the Army’s air cavalry unit that fought in the Ia Drang Valley 52 years ago found they had the courage to do their duty. Many were cited for their bravery and valor during the battle.
While I personally did not know LTG Moore, I knew of him. As a member of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association I have had the pleasure of meeting his son who has attended events in the Atlanta area recognizing Vietnam War veterans and their families. LTG Moore was a soldier’s soldier. Like many others of that war, he did his duty the best he knew how. He will be long remembered for what his men did during that battle. He was a soldier’s soldier. He will be missed.
In the words of the song, “Mansions of the Lord,” which was written for the movie, LTG Moore has gone to his mansion of the Lord and has received “just divine embrace, eternal light” and he “will stand and guard though the angels sleep through the ages safely keep, The Mansions of the Lord.”
About the Author
Dan Holtz is the GDVS Assistant Commissioner for Administration, Health & Memorials. He is a retired Air Force Colonel who served in Vietnam.