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We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam Hardcover – August 19, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. It would be a monumental task for Moore and Galloway to top their classic 1992 memoir, We Were Soldiers Once... and Young. But they come close in this sterling sequel, which tells the backstory of two of the Vietnam War's bloodiest battles (in which Moore participated as a lieutenant colonel), their first book and a 1993 ABC-TV documentary that brought them back to the battlefield. Moore's strong first-person voice reviews the basics of the November 1965 battles, part of the 34-day Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. Among other things, Moore and Galloway (who covered the battle for UPI) offer portraits of two former enemy commanders, generals Nguyen Huu An and Chu Huy Man, whom the authors met—and bonded with—nearly three decades after the battle. This book proves again that Moore is an exceptionally thoughtful, compassionate and courageous leader (he was one of a handful of army officers who studied the history of the Vietnam wars before he arrived) and a strong voice for reconciliation and for honoring the men with whom he served. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Aug. 19) ""
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The authors of We Were Soldiers Once and Young (1992) here powerfully recount their return to the battlefields of the first book. They visited both landing zones for the deadly battle of the Ia Drang Valley and spent a night on the battlefield of Dien Bien Phu, haunted by a previous generation of ghosts of both sides and part of the experience of North Vietnamese veterans, too. The latter survivors, like their American counterparts, belong to a diminishing band, yet Moore and Galloway managed to interview some of Moore’s counterparts or their widows and children and found a curiosity about how matters looked from the other side equal to theirs. Scenery, memories, and the current state of Vietnam are all vividly depicted, but the most powerful writing comes in the epilogue’s tribute to two departed Ia Drang comrades, one a platoon commander who died saving lives on 9/11, the other career officer Moore’s wife of 55 years. If, as Moore says, there are no noble wars, there is a lot of nobility among the warriors. --Roland Green
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Short Bio; I did two tours in country doing various jobs including Naval Advisor and wound up marrying the USN Medical Officer's Vietnamese Civilian interpreter(who was also a member of the local Popular Forces) That required, finishing my enlistment, getting out of the Navy after 8 years 11 months and returning to Viet Nam as a civilian. Less than a year after returning to Viet Nam, my wife and I were part of the evacuation of Saigon (18 April 1975). We've been in contact with her family since 1976 and started visiting Viet Nam in 1992, bought a house there in 1997 and have retired here. My Vietnamese is serviceable.
Through a quirk of fate my wife's brother and the sister of a Vietnamese COL, now GEN, got married and I wound up with a good friend and Vietnamese GEN-in-Law. Last year, the GEN's wife's father and former high ranking South Vietnamese Officer died. I was asked as a family member, American Viet Nam War Vet and retired Sergeant(ARNG) to attend the funeral and to please wear my U S Army retired Cap to honor the service of the GEN's father-in-law and former enemy as I hadn't brought my Army uniform to Viet Nam.
Just remembering, brings a tear to my eye. If you want to understand the soul of a soldier. GEN Moore got it right. I just had to add one more story.
General Moore and Joe Galloway take several trips back to Vietnam where they meet with their former enemies who included General Giap, General Man and General An who in fact was the commander of the forces who fought Galloway's unit in the battle of the Ia Drang Valley. After many attempts to visit the Ia Drang Valley, the Vietnamese government finally acquiesced and a small group of veterans along with Joe Galloway from the 1st of the 7th and 2nd of the 7th Cav spent a whole day and night at the sacred battle site. They walked the battlefield with their former enemies retelling old combat stories In fact with a little scheming General Moore got to spend the whole night at the battle site with his veteran friends and his journalistic buddy Joe Galloway
A great deal of thought and discussion through interpreters gave much light as to what really happened on those fateful days in the Valley. During this meaningful series of discussions a bond of professional respect and yes even friendship was realized. The healing powers of the years and the realization that the men on both sides were just doing their soldierly duties, made them realize that their enemies were human just like they were.
Later upon further persuasion General Moore and Joe Galloway visited the battlefield of Dien Bien Phu. General Giap further discussed why the Americans refused to learn the lessons of the mistakes the French made in the French-Indo China War. Frankly I do believe General Moore who was fully educated in the readings of Bernard Fall already knew the consequences of the actions taken by the USA. He knew all to well!!!
General Moore gives us his theories of leadership and yes he gives us a bird's eye view of what he thought of the war in Vietnam. No spoilers here, you have to read the book for that. But what I will say about these tenants of leadership and his take of the wars in Vietnam and Iraq are what I also firmly believe in. Moore along with Galloway have written a follow-up book which is just as good as the first book. In saying that, usually follow-up books are just a rehash, not here with this great read. Please read it, and see the basic and good principles which are indeed common sense and seem easy to do, but in actuality living these principles takes a great deal of discipline and no fear of failure.
Having served for 30 years, I understand the importance of a supportive spouse and the positive impact she can have on families. It is the families who suffer the most in war. In combat, a soldier has a mission on which to focus and a surrogate family (a band of brothers), but at home there is an empty seat at the table and the gnawing uncertainty about the safety of a loved one. Julie Moore was truly a hero.
I could also relate to how LTG Moore acquired the pith helmet. In 1993, while I was attending the Indian National Defence College, a Vietnamese colonel was on the course. COL Thuan had been drafted in 1969 (the same year I had graduated from The Citadel) after obtaining a degree in chemistry in the Soviet Union. We became best friends, and when we exchanged gifts at the end of the course, he presented me with his army pith helmet which I have prominently on display.
The section on Rick Rescorla was especially poignant. Rick's courage at the Ia Drang Valley and his selfless sacrifice on 11 September 2001 serve as an inspiration to us all.
The chapter, "Lessons on Leadership," should be required reading for all officers and is probably where the book should have ended. Although I am extremely loath to offer up any criticism, I felt that attacking, even though it was deserved, President George W. Bush and members of his administration for their gross mishandling of two wars detracted from the book as a whole. The final chapter, "On War," may have been better without those comments.
"We Are Soldiers Still" deserves a place in the library of every professional soldier and military historians.