We Were Soldiers Once...And Young Review
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Remember reading about General Custer at the Little Big Horn in your high school history class? The United States Army 7th Calvary (the direct descendant to Custer’s unit) had the same thing happen to them in modern times. The battle turned into three days of hell in Viet Nam’s Ia Drang valley. Originally published in 1992, We Were Soldiers Once. . . And Young is the first hand account of the three days of battle at Landing Zones X-ray and Albany.

November 1965 was the first time that the United States Army had used helicopters to put large numbers of troops into combat. The 7th Cavalry had orders to fly into the Ia Drang valley, “find and fix the enemy,” then pull out. Over two thousand North Vietnamese Regulars were wai
ting for them when they landed in a clearing not much larger than two football fields. The battle was like the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan on steroids.

The two authors, LT. Gen. Harold Moore (Ret.) and Joseph Galloway were both on the ground during the battle. The former as the commander of the 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry, and the latter as the only reporter at the scene during the battle have interviewed hundreds of soldiers from both sides to complete this book. They bring the reader inside the minds of the four hundred and fifty or so young men on the field those three days. Filled with stories of heroism and sacrifice it becomes a memoir to the men of the 7th Cavalry and their families.

There is no deep message in this book about why the United States was right or wrong to wage war in Southeast Asia. It is a deeply personal look at the most intense American infantry combat of the last fifty years. The emphasis is not on the tactics used, but on the men and how they reacted to combat. The reader becomes emotionally connected to each soldier and is given an update on him in the closing chapters.

We Were Soldiers Once had such an effect on me that I took a day long detour on my way home from Baltimore to find the dead heroes of the 7th Cavalry on The Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. Their names take up almost an entire slab of the black granite wall. This book is an easy read and will keep you turning pages well into the night. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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