Book Review: We Were Soldiers Once and Young

1149 words 5 pages
We Were Soldiers Once... and Young
Ia Drang- the battle that changed the War in Vietnam

By: Lt. Gen Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway
The Random House Publishing Group, 1992

Steve Heiser
U.S. History since 1865/4:45W
Dr. Luccioni
October 24, 2012

I chose this book for my first book review for a few reasons. First, to bring to light and to honor the memory of Command Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley, who recently passed away on October 10, 2012. He is a true inspiration to be followed; a career U.S. Army Infantry Soldier, a Sergeant Major, and key leader during the Battle of Ia Drang. He fought in every major Airborne Operation of World War II, including Operation Husky, D-Day, and Operation Market Garden. He
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These details give this book a lot of emotion and dramatic power. The movie, We Were Soldiers, accurately depicted many of the facts, but it did not present an entirely true description of the battle illustrated in the book. For example, the movie does not effectively demonstrate how desperate the American situation was during LTC Moore's fight at Landing Zone (LZ) X-Ray. Charlie (C) Company was overrun and the final major NVA attack was at C Company's former position, but luckily it was reinforced under LTC Moore's orders, by Bravo Company at that crucial moment. Also, not one company as the movie depicts, but three companies conducted the major push forward to rescue Lt. Henry Herrick's cut off platoon, living up to the army's creed of not leaving a man behind. Finally, the last combat scene in the movie shows LTC Moore heroically leading the bayonet charge up a mountain to destroy the NVA reserves, thus ending the battle in an American victory. However, there was no heroic final bayonet charge in the book, nor were the NVA forces destroyed, though an estimated 1,200 out of 2,000 Vietnamese soldiers were killed compared to 72 of 395 U.S. soldiers killed. The movie makes it seem that this was the end of the battle, but as the book describes, LTC Nguyen Huu An, the commander of the NVA moved his troops and reserves to attack LZ


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