Catalogue


We are soldiers still : a journey back to the battlefields of Vietnam /
Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York, NY : Harper, c2008.
description
xx, 248 p.
ISBN
0061147761 (cloth), 9780061147760 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
New York, NY : Harper, c2008.
isbn
0061147761 (cloth)
9780061147760 (cloth)
general note
Includes index.
abstract
To honor fallen comrades, a journalist and a soldier return to Vietnam battlefields more than 30 years later.
catalogue key
6653822
A Look Inside
First Chapter
We Are Soldiers Still
A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam

One

Back to Our Battlefields

For us it was an irresistible urge that gnawed at us for nearly three decades—a need to return and walk the blood-drenched soil of the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam, where two great armies clashed head-on in the first major battle of a war that lasted ten years and consumed the lives of 58,256 Americans and perhaps as many as 2 million Vietnamese.

Joe and I had tried twice before, in 1991 and again in 1992, to reach the Ia Drang during our research trips to Vietnam. The Vietnamese government officials in Hanoi had flatly refused permission for such a journey, uncertain whether we had some hidden agenda among the restive Montagnard tribal people in the Central Highlands where our battlefields were located. Or perhaps because our battlefields were located just five miles from the Cambodian border and Khmer Rouge guerrillas had been raiding across the border in that area, creating havoc in the thinly scattered villages near that border.

When we suggested on our 1992 visit that we might simply hire a car and set off south to visit the Ia Drang, our Foreign Ministry minder pointedly said if we left Hanoi on such a mission we would be "followed by a car full of people; not very nice people; and we won't be able to help you then." Only with the publication of Joe's cover article on the Ia Drang in U.S. News & World Report and the release of our book—both translated into Vietnamese and very carefully read in Hanoi—did the roadblocks fall in the fall of 1993.

We had proved by our writings that our only desire was to accurately report what had happened in the Ia Drang Valley, and we were just as interested in their version of this slice of history as we were in our own. Visit by visit, article by article, our hosts warmed to us personally and to our quest for the ground truth about battles that had deeply affected our lives and theirs.

There was another important factor: The world had changed. Communism had died in the Soviet Union and was being transformed in neighboring China. The rise of the Asian tigers—capitalist neighbors like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, whose economies were booming—had not gone unnoticed by Hanoi. They were maneuvering to gain initial diplomatic recognition by Washington and were seeking foreign investment and most-favored-nation trade terms. This would not come for another year. Communism was alive in Vietnam but it was busy putting on a new face.

Now, in October 1993, a chartered Soviet-made Hind helicopter was lifting off the runway at the old Camp Holloway airfield at Pleiku in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The two Vietnamese civilian pilots confessed up front that they had no idea where, in that rugged plateau that butted up against the Cambodian border, the football-field-sized clearing code-named Landing Zone X-Ray was located. So Bruce Crandall, one of the most experienced pilots in Army Aviation, and I knelt in the narrow space between them in the cockpit, unfolded my old and detailed Army battle map, and, using Joe Galloway's even more ancient Boy Scout compass, pointed the way to the place where our nightmares were born.

In the back of the rattling old helicopter was an assemblage of American and North Vietnamese military men, old soldiers all, who were journeying together to a place where we had all done our very best to kill each other in one month of ambush and assault and set-piece battles in November 1965. It was here that the men of America's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and those of the 66th, 32nd, and 33rd regiments of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) had tested each other in the crucible of combat. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 North Vietnamese regulars had been killed or wounded. A total of 305 Americans had died and another 400-plus had been wounded in that time of testing. No one who fought there, on either side, talked seriously about who won and who lost. In such a slaughterhouse there are no winners, only survivors.

What had now brought this little group of survivors together to travel back to a painful shared history? It was, of all things, a book published a year earlier that opened long-closed doors and allowed us to make this needed journey. The book was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young, written by Joe and myself.

We were bound, in this thirty-five-mile flight, for the jungled mountain plateau near the Cambodian border where I had led my beloved troopers of the 1st Battalion 7th U.S. Cavalry in a helicopter air assault into a battle where we would be vastly outnumbered at times. That any of us survived is testimony to the fighting spirit of the great young Americans—the majority of them draftees—who, when their backs were to the wall, fought like lions and died bravely.

Had I commanded the men on the other side I would have said much the same thing of the North Vietnamese peasant boys drafted into their own army and sent south down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to intervene in the war raging in the southern half of the country. They, too, fought bravely and were not afraid to die in the storm of napalm, bombs, artillery shells, and machine-gun and rifle fire we brought down on them. Now their commander, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Huu An, and I were in the air, returning together to that ground hallowed by the sacrifices of our men. This time we came in peace, old enemies in the process of becoming new friends—something that would have been inconceivable just two years before.

These seminal battles that opened the waltz in Vietnam—which would stand as the bloodiest of the entire Vietnam War—had been largely forgotten in the long years of combat that followed before helicopters lifted the last Americans off the roofs in downtown Saigon in April 1975.

Joe, a war correspondent who had stood and fought beside us in Landing Zone X-Ray, and I had made two trips to Vietnam in search of the story of those who fought against us. These trips resulted first in a cover article Joe wrote in U.S. News & World Report on October 29, 1990, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of our battles, and then in a contract to write our history of the battles. It was not lost on our former enemy commanders that we had dealt honestly with them and quoted them accurately in both the article and the book.

When ABC television and the Day One program offered to take us back to Vietnam to make a documentary film, the Vietnamese authorities in Hanoi agreed to all that we proposed, including the long-denied trip back to the battlefields in the Central Highlands.

Why this obsession with a remote clearing so far from anywhere? What had happened here years before that indelibly seared the experience into the minds and hearts of men who had fought in other battles and other wars? Those dark November days of 1965 still powerfully grip the imagination of those of us who survived the battles of the Ia Drang on both sides.

Late on Saturday, November 13 of that year, my undersized battalion of only 450 men—most of them draftees led by a hard corps of career Army sergeants who had fought as Infantrymen in Korea and World War II—was ordered to make an air assault by Huey helicopters deep into enemy-controlled territory just five miles from the Cambodian border.

The orders to me were simple: We believe there is a regiment (about 1,500 troops) of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers in the area of the Chu Pong Massif, a craggy spine of tumbled peaks over 2,300 feet high that ended at a clearing not far from the Drang River but reached back over ten miles into Cambodia. Take your battalion in there and find and kill them.

We Are Soldiers Still
A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam
. Copyright © by Harold G. Moore. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from We Are Soldiers Still by Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-12-01:
A sequel to the best-selling We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, with combatants on both sides returning to Ia Drang Valley. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-06-09:
It would be a monumental task for Moore and Galloway to top their classic 1992 memoir, We Were Soldiers Once... and Young. But they come close in this sterling sequel, which tells the backstory of two of the Vietnam War's bloodiest battles (in which Moore participated as a lieutenant colonel), their first book and a 1993 ABC-TV documentary that brought them back to the battlefield. Moore's strong first-person voice reviews the basics of the November 1965 battles, part of the 34-day Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. Among other things, Moore and Galloway (who covered the battle for UPI) offer portraits of two former enemy commanders, generals Nguyen Huu An and Chu Huy Man, whom the authors met--and bonded with--nearly three decades after the battle. This book proves again that Moore is an exceptionally thoughtful, compassionate and courageous leader (he was one of a handful of army officers who studied the history of the Vietnam wars before he arrived) and a strong voice for reconciliation and for honoring the men with whom he served. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Aug. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2007
Publishers Weekly, June 2008
Booklist, August 2008
Reference & Research Book News, November 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In their stunning follow-up to the classic bestseller We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and Joe Galloway return to Vietnam and reflect on how the war changed them, their men, their enemies, and both countries-often with surprising results. More than fifteen years since its original publication, the number one New York Times bestseller We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young is still required reading in all branches of the military. Now Moore and Galloway revisit their relationships with ten American veterans of the battle-men such as Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley and helicopter pilot Bruce "Old Snake" Crandall-as well as Lt. Gen. Nguyen Hu An, who commanded the North Vietnamese Army troops on the other side, and two of his old company commanders. These men and their countries have all changed dramatically since the first head-on collision between the two great armies back in November 1965. Traveling back to the red-dirt battlefields, commanders and veterans from both sides make the long and difficult journey from old enemies to new friends. After a trip in a Russian-made helicopter to the Ia Drang Valley in the Central Highlands, with the Vietnamese pilots using Moore's vintage U.S. Army maps and Galloway's Boy Scout compass to guide them, they reach the hallowed ground where so many died. All the men are astonished at how nature has reclaimed the land once scarred by bullets, napalm, and blood. As darkness falls, the unthinkable happens-the authors and many of their old comrades are stranded overnight, alone, left to confront the ghosts of the departed among the termite hills and creek bed. Moore and Galloway combine gritty and vivid detail with reverence and respect for their comrades. Their ability to capture man's sense of heroism and brotherhood, their love for their men and their former enemies, and their fascination with the history of this enigmatic country make for riveting reading. With sixteen pages of photos, tributes to departed friends and loved ones, and General Moore's reflections on lessons learned throughout his military career, We Are Soldiers Still puts a human face on warfare in a way that will not soon be forgotten.
Main Description
In their stunning follow-up to the classic bestseller We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and Joe Galloway return to Vietnam and reflect on how the war changed them, their men, their enemies, and both countries-often with surprising results.More than fifteen years since its original publication, the number one New York Times bestseller We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young is still required reading in all branches of the military. Now Moore and Galloway revisit their relationships with ten American veterans of the battle-men such as Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley and helicopter pilot Bruce "Old Snake" Crandall-as well as Lt. Gen. Nguyen Hu An, who commanded the North Vietnamese Army troops on the other side, and two of his old company commanders. These men and their countries have all changed dramatically since the first head-on collision between the two great armies back in November 1965.Traveling back to the red-dirt battlefields, commanders and veterans from both sides make the long and difficult journey from old enemies to new friends. After a trip in a Russian-made helicopter to the Ia Drang Valley in the Central Highlands, with the Vietnamese pilots using Moore's vintage U.S. Army maps and Galloway's Boy Scout compass to guide them, they reach the hallowed ground where so many died. All the men are astonished at how nature has reclaimed the land once scarred by bullets, napalm, and blood. As darkness falls, the unthinkable happens-the authors and many of their old comrades are stranded overnight, alone, left to confront the ghosts of the departed among the termite hills and creek bed.Moore and Galloway combine gritty and vivid detail with reverence and respect for their comrades. Their ability to capture man's sense of heroism and brotherhood, their love for their men and their former enemies, and their fascination with the history of this enigmatic country make for riveting reading. With sixteen pages of photos, tributes to departed friends and loved ones, and General Moore's reflections on lessons learned throughout his military career, We Are Soldiers Still puts a human face on warfare in a way that will not soon be forgotten.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Back to Our Battlefieldsp. 1
Conversations with the Enemyp. 19
You Killed My Battalion!p. 41
Traveling in Timep. 53
The Backbone of the Armyp. 71
Back to the Ia Drang!p. 83
A Night Alone on the Battlefieldp. 101
Back to the Hell That Was Albanyp. 113
Walking the Ground at Dien Bien Phup. 129
The Never-Ending Storyp. 147
Lessons on Leadershipp. 157
On Warp. 187
Epiloguep. 199
Two Heroes for Americap. 203
Acknowledgmentsp. 227
An Appealp. 231
Indexp. 233
Photography Creditsp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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