Born on 13 February 1922, Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore, Jr. retired from the US Armed Forces as an Army Lieutenant General. He received the Distinguished Service Cross medal for his service in the Vietnam War. He graduated from West Point in 1945 and was the first of his class to advance to the rank of One-Star General, Two-Star General, and Three-Star General. It should be noted that the Distinguished Service Cross is the second most prominent military decoration of the United States Army.
Moore is best recognized as the commander at the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965 during the Vietnam War. He was the Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment at the time.
In the Ia Drang Valley of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, American troops were transferred to clear landing zones by helicopter. Here the command post was set up for the campaign against the Viet Cong guerillas. The command center was called Landing Zone X-Ray (LZ X-Ray). It was 14 November 1965.
From the army base to the LZs it was approximately a half hour return trip, and the helicopters (the 16 Huey) were able to carry only 12 men per trip. The first US troops were on the ground at LZ X-Ray at 10:48 and gunshots were being fired by 12:15. It would take a long time to get the 7th Air Cavalry Regiment to full strength. The battle and ground fighting lasted for several days.
The priority of the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 7th Air Cavalry Regiment for the first two days was to hold LZ X-Ray against more than 2,500 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. History has recorded that much of this battle pivoted around the 1st Battalion and its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore.
The U.S. troops sustained heavy losses, but in the end, they defeated a much larger enemy force.
In 1992, Moore wrote the book ‘We Were Soldiers Once… And Young’ with co-author Joseph L. Galloway. The book chronicled the battle of Ia Drang. It was adapted into the film ‘We Were Soldiers’ in 2002. The movie was filmed in the US at Fort Benning and Fort Hunter Liggett. It was an excellent depiction of Moore’s command of 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry while at Fort Benning and during the Battle of Ia Drang. In the movie, Moore was played by the famous actor Mel Gibson.
There is a tribute video at the American Veterans Center that proudly presents Hal Moore – it is an AVC Tribute Video that absolutely must be watched.