It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore, Jr., who has passed away at the age of 94, just a few days before his 95th birthday, in Auburn, Alabama.
Retired Lieutenant General Hal Moore is a national hero. His actions at the famous battle of Ia Drang, in the Vietnam War, have become the stuff of legend. Ia Drang was the first major engagement of that terrible conflict, and Hal Moore was Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.
At Ia Drang, Moore managed to hold out against a significantly larger enemy force. He and his men were surrounded without any hope of escape, but they prevailed under Moore’s unflinching leadership. The battle lasted for days, and Moore and his men fought off several ferocious attacks, including a dramatic dawn assault, holding out until their reinforcements arrived. Once they had been reinforced, Moore commanded a rescue operation to relieve another company and retrieve the wounded. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in the battle.
Hal Moore was born in 1922. He was graduated from West Point in 1945, and, though he is best known for his actions at Ia Drang, he had a lifelong and distinguished military career that spanned decades. He was a highly decorated veteran, with many other medals to his credit besides his Distinguished Service Cross from Ia Drang. After the Vietnam war, he completed many other assignments in the military, including service at the Pentagon. He retired from the Army on August 1, 1977, after 32 years of active service.
Moore was also an author, with a number of titles to his credit. He is particularly well remembered for his famous book, entitled: We Were Soldiers Once… And Young, in which he dealt with his experiences in the Vietnam War. The book was made into a successful movie, starring Mel Gibson as Moore.
It has been said that Hal Moore’s proudest achievement was that in all his years of service, he never lost a man missing in action or taken as a prisoner of war. He richly deserves the titles of hero, legend, and national treasure. He will not be forgotten.