In 2002 a film called We were Soldiers was released. The film depicts The Battle of Ia Drang, which was part of the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975). “We were Soldiers” is based on a 1992 book, “We were Soldiers Once … And Young” written by Hal Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.
Lieutenant Colonel Moore was the commander of the First Battalion of the Seventh Air Cavalry. Galloway was a reporter who was with the First Battalion.
Ia Drang was the first major battle between the United States Army and North Vietnam. It is named after a river valley in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. American troops were being transported by helicopter to clear landing areas. The First and Second Battalions were ordered to defend the landing areas against the enemy. They set up a command base by a large termite mound and called the base Landing Zone X-Ray (LZ X-Ray for short).
Defending the landing areas was difficult. They were all about 30 minutes from the LZ X – Ray and the 16 Huey helicopters that brought the soldiers could only carry twelve at a time. And the two small battalions were facing 2,500 North Vietnamese troops.
Just before 11:00 in the morning on November 14, 1965, American troops began arriving in the helicopters and shortly after midday the enemy attacked. It took many hours for the battalions to reach their full strength. By November 18 the North Vietnamese had been turned back, but with terrible losses for the Americans.
The film was directed by Randall Wallace and filmed at Fort Benning and Fort Hunter Liggett army bases, both in the United States. The role of Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore was played by Mel Gibson.
This video, The making of We Were Soldiers, contains actual film taken during the battle.