LZ X-Ray

I just finished re-watching "We Were Soldiers". That movie seriously rips at my heart, what with me being an old Cavalry Trooper and all. If you do not have that movie in your collection, it is a very definite must have! The book co-authored by General Moore and Joe Galloway should also be on every serious reader's bookshelf.

At any rate, I decided that I would do a little research on the internet to see what I could find. What I found amazed me, so I thought I would share it with you, my readers.

Gen. Hal Moore is a soldier's soldier. He is a man of undeniable character and bravery. I found some video footage of him speaking to reporters following the battle at Ia Drang Valley. The quality of this man's leadership could not be more clearly illustrated than to mention that he was deemed an "Honorary Rifle Platoon Sergeant" by the non-commissioned officers of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Battalion, 7th United States Cavalry. Here is a rather lengthy biography. The part of LTC Moore is played in the film by none other than Mel Gibson.

Julie Moore was an amazing woman. In the movie, you see her taking on the responsibility of handing out the death notification telegrams that the DOD has delivered by taxi-cab. Julie has unfortunately recently passed away. Here is the eulogy delivered by her son. Allow me to present a telling excerpt from that eulogy, an excerpt that shows the very special kind of woman Mrs. Moore was. It is a quote from a letter addressed to her:

You have taught me how I want to live my life. How I want to affect people. How I want to support them. How I want to be in love with my husband. How I want to spread a love for life. I strive to be strong like you. To smile with as much love as you do. To make people feel welcome like you do. To reach out and offer a bit of sunshine to everyone in my path like you do.

In the movie, Julie Moore is played by Madeline Stowe.

Joe Galloway is a fine reporter. He is highly respected by the military and his readers. When asked about Galloway, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf is quoted as saying "The finest combat correspondent of our generation a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend." That's all it takes for me! Here is an article Joe Galloway wrote about his time working in Vietnam. On May 1st 1998, Joe Galloway was decorated with a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor for his actions during the battle at Ia Drang. He is the only civilian to receive this honor in the entirety of the the Vietnam conflict. Joe is currently the Washington Bureau chief for KnightRidder news. In the movie the part of Joe Galloway is played by Barry Pepper.

I've also learned that one of Moore's men at Ia Drang, Rick Rescorla is a hero of the 9-11 tragedy.

Here's a page containing an interesting piece by Jack P. Smith, who was a PFC at Ia Drang. Unfortunately Jack lost his life in the battle to Agent Orange induced cancer in April of 2004.

Here is a web site dedicated to the battle and here is a virtual memorial to the men who died there. Here is the official movie site and this is is yet another interesting site.

I read all of this and am humbled. These are some of the great men and women of our times. They went half a world away and willingly put their lives on the altar of freedom. This is reflected best by a quote from Galloway and Moore:

We went to war because our country asked us to go, because our new President, Lyndon B. Johnson, ordered us to go, but more importantly because we saw it as our duty to go. That is one kind of love.

Another and far more transcendent love came to us unbidden on the battlefields, as it does on every battlefield in every war man has ever fought. We discovered in that depressing, hellish place, where death was our constant companion, that we loved each other. We killed for each other, we died for each other, and we wept for each other. And in time we came to love each other as brothers. In battle our world shrank to the man on our left and the man on our right and the enemy all around. We held each other's lives in our hands and we learned to share our fears, our hopes, our dreams as readily as we shared what little else good came our way.

These ladies and gentlemen are the sort of people we should strive to emulate! These are true American patriots and I feel humbled to live in a nation with their likes.

Gary Owen!

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Blogger gecko said...

Outstanding post. I own the movie and it is an awesome thing to take in. Your post was quite informative and appreciated. Heroes are few and spread these days it seems.

1:04 AM  


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