> 30th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War
> American POWs in Vietnam
> Women's Vietnam War Memorial
> National POW/MIA Recognition Day
> Vietnam War MIAs Identified - September 30, 2003
> Airmen Identified from Laos - Nov 5, 2004
> Vietnam War MIAs Identified - April 13, 2005
> Beyond Vietnam
> Traveling Soldier: Dixie Chicks
> We Were Soldiers
> A Moment of Silence
> Story of The Vietnam Memorial Wall in Song

We Were Soldiers

We Were Soldiers Once And Young...Ia Drang--

The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam

We Were Soldiers Once And Young...Ia Drang -- The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam

In the first significant engagement between American troops and the Viet Cong, 450 U.S. soldiers found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by their enemy. This book tells the story of how they battled between October 23 and November 26, 1965. Its prose is gritty, not artful, delivering a powerful punch of here-and-now descriptions that could only have been written by people actually on the scene. In fact, they were: Harold Moore commanded the men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, who did most of the fighting, and Joseph Galloway was the only reporter present throughout the battle's 34 harrowing days. We Were Soldiers Once... combines their memories with more than 100 in-depth interviews with survivors on both sides. The Battle of Ia Drang also highlights a technological advance that would play an enormous role in the rest of the war: this was perhaps the first place where helicopter-based, air-mobile operations demonstrated their combat potential. At bottom, however, this is a tale of heroes and heroism, some acts writ large, others probably forgotten but for this telling. It was a bestseller when first published, and remains one of the better books available on combat during the Vietnam War. --John J. Miller

This book about a relatively large scale U.S. Infantry operation in the Ia Drang Valley is very well written. The author tells the story of his unit's fight and subsequent movement well. So well, that it is possible to visualize the battle, the defensive perimeter and keep the individual soldiers -- whose story it is -- straight. Not only is the tale of the battle well told, but the fears and uncertainty faced by cut off troops who could not see their enemy and knew they had to hold their perimeter is brought home to the reader. This story has plenty of heroics, but also a lot of fear, anger and luck.

The story also underscores the problem with U.S. strategy in Vietnam. Unlike World War II, our troops were not driving across the country to hold land and capture territory. Many missions, like Moore's, were designed to find and harass a jungle hid enemy, inflict casualties and then retreat to a well protected base. That type of war without gain must have played heavily on the minds of the soldiers who could not measure their sacrifice in ground gained or villages freed, measurements their fathers and uncles had been able to see in their great war.

This is a good book. Moore's US infantry are very sympathetic (the chopper pilots merit special mention from the author), doing a hard job and doing it well. It reads quickly and is captured my attention from the outset.