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We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam Mass Market Paperback – June 29, 2004
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In the first significant engagement between American troops and the Viet Cong, 450 U.S. soldiers found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by their enemy. This book tells the story of how they battled between October 23 and November 26, 1965. Its prose is gritty, not artful, delivering a powerful punch of here-and-now descriptions that could only have been written by people actually on the scene. In fact, they were: Harold Moore commanded the men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, who did most of the fighting, and Joseph Galloway was the only reporter present throughout the battle's 34 harrowing days. We Were Soldiers Once... combines their memories with more than 100 in-depth interviews with survivors on both sides. The Battle of Ia Drang also highlights a technological advance that would play an enormous role in the rest of the war: this was perhaps the first place where helicopter-based, air-mobile operations demonstrated their combat potential. At bottom, however, this is a tale of heroes and heroism, some acts writ large, others probably forgotten but for this telling. It was a bestseller when first published, and remains one of the better books available on combat during the Vietnam War. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
On Nov. 14, 1965, the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. Moore and accompanied by UPI reporter Galloway, helicoptered into Vietnam's remote Ia Drang Valley and found itself surrounded by a numerically superior force of North Vietnamese regulars. Moore and Galloway here offer a detailed account, based on interviews with participants and on their own recollections, of what happened during the four-day battle. Much more than a conventional battle study, the book is a frank record of the emotional reactions of the GIs to the terror and horror of this violent and bloody encounter. Both sides claimed victory, the U.S. calling it a validation of the newly developed doctrine of airmobile warfare. Supplemented with maps, the memoir is a vivid re-creation of the first major ground battle of the Vietnam War. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The significance of the above paragraph is that Colonel Dillon was the S-3 officer for LTC Moore's 1st of the 7th Cav. At the time of the Battle of the Ia Drang it was November, 1965. Fast forward four and a half years later; Lieutenant Colonel Gregory P. (Matt) Dillon had command of the 1st of the 7th Infantry which was part of the 3rd Infantry Division located in the Zone of West Germany. Since writing our war memoirs I've since been reading a lot of material on the Vietnam War, after forgetting most of it for over forty years. I never knew that my commanding battalion officer was a very instrumental and heroic officer at LZ Xray.
First of all, the very concept prior to the battle of the Ia Drang Valley of air mobile assault was an untested theory. After the battle it became doctrine written in stone as how to conduct operations in Vietnam. The troopers of the 7th Cav were trained in the techniques of airmobile assault at Fort Benning Georgia. Their uniforms which signified the typical fatigues that were worn in CONUS (Continental US) Europe and Korea shows to all that this unit was one of the first units to go to Southeast Asia. The basecamps erected by the 1st Cav Division looked to be temporary tent cities very reminiscent of WWII temporary camps. Later on in the war the base camps would be made heavily sandbagged structures complete with outhouse latrines and rainwater showers. The uniforms would also change drastically and the troopers would be wearing the lighter weighted jungle fatigues and the newly designed canvas upper jungle boots.
The troopers of the 1st of the 7th Cav would be led by the highly competent LTC Harold G. Moore. These troopers were well trained and Moore's officers were of a very high level. Their mission was what was to be a familiar phrase to all infantry officers who served in South Vietnam and it was to "search and destroy the enemy." The enemy was found soon after landing at LZ Xray. This LZ had the capabilities of holding 8 slicks when landing and extracting troops and equipment. Moore and Galloway tell the brutal story of how they held the LZ for three days and were able to direct in field artillery and air support on the surrounding NVA. The 7th Cav with a force of about 450 men were able to hold off an NVA force of 2500 men. Using the choppers for support and medevac operations the 7th Cav proved to all that they could indeed contain and beat the forces of the well trained NVA.
The stories told herein, show the professionalism and heroics of not only the lst Cav but also gets into the mindset of the North Vietnamese. It shows the true dedication of the revolution techniques of the North Vietnamese. As well as the Americans fought in Vietnam the North Vietnamese knew that we would tire of it. In fact General Moore faced these facts way back in the early days of 1965. He knew that the North Vietnamese were a tough and savvy opponent and that the US severely constrained themselves by not going and pursuing the enemy when they escaped to Cambodia. The war as fought with these so-called rules could never be won. Moore understood this early on.
This book represents many things. It shows to us that the US brought air mobility to the battlefield. It showed to all that it could maneuver from above the tough jungle terrain of Vietnam. Something the French lacked was the ability to maneuver, so they lost on the battlefield. The US did not lose on the battlefield, however as Ho Chi Minh knew we would tire of the war no matter how many of the North Vietnamese and VC we Americans killed. So therefore we left the battlefield in 1973 and the weak ARVN were left to their own devices, which I may add we supplied them. They quickly lost these devices and they indeed lost the war in 1975.
Moore's book is a classic which shows the brutality and yes some of the senseless management of men at war. Moore and Galloway show respect to the troopers who fought in that war and they convey what the effects of that major battle were and how the Vietnam War was to be fought in the future. It also shows our hubris and tragic decisions which led to the ultimate tragedy that was the Vietnam War. This book should be read by all who want to know about the battle, the Vietnam War and perhaps how to prevent such tragedies in the future.
I feel it is a great piece for anyone interested about Nam.
I served in The Nam 1967/68 , with the Big Red One , First Infantry Division,. 1st/4th Calvary and was in the first Tet in 1968
I was a M-60 gunner on a Armored personnel Carrier and there is no BS in the book.
It's the real deal
Also a very good and intesting book to read, Hard to put down and regretted it when I came to the end.
Hal Nailed it again as he did with his other book and movie