Finalist 2013 Army Historical Society Distinguished Writing Award.
Hal Moore, one of the most admired American combat leaders of the last 50 years, has until now been best known to the public for being portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie “We Were Soldiers.” In this first-ever, fully illustrated biography, we finally learn the full story of one of America’s true military heroes.
A 1945 graduate of West Point, Moore’s first combats occurred during the Korean War, where he fought in the battles of Old Baldy, T-Bone, and Pork Chop Hill. At the beginning of the Vietnam War, Moore commanded the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry in the first full-fledged battle between U.S. and North Vietnamese regulars. Drastically outnumbered and nearly overrun, Moore led from the front, and though losing 79 soldiers, accounted for 1,200 of the enemy before the Communists withdrew. This Battle of Ia Drang pioneered the use of “air mobile infantry”—delivering troops into battle via helicopter—which became the staple of U.S. operations for the remainder of the war. He later wrote of his experiences in the best-selling book, We Were Soldiers Once…and Young.
Following his tour in Vietnam, he assumed command of the 7th Infantry Division, forward-stationed in South Korea, and in 1971, he took command of the Army Training Center at Fort Ord, California. In this capacity, he oversaw the US Army’s transition from a conscript-based to an all-volunteer force. He retired as a Lieutenant General in 1977.
Moore graciously allowed the author interviews and granted full access to his files and collection of letters, documents, and never-before-published photographs. Mike Guardia, currently an officer in the U.S. 1st Armored Division is also author of two highly acclaimed biographies, American Guerrilla, about the life of the true founder of Special Forces, Russell Volckmann, and Shadow Commander, about the career of Donald Blackburn.
Sadly, Lt Gen Moore passed in 2017 at the age of 94.
1: Early Years
2: The Military Life
4: The Road to Vietnam
5: Ia Drang
6: The Coastal Campaign, 1966
7: Command Decisions
8: When War Is Done
Epilogue: A Life in Words
Appendix: Moore’s Citation for the Distinguished Service Cross
“…outstanding biography …Moore, one of America’s most distinguished Soldiers, granted Guardia numerous interviews and allowed the author unrestricted access to his collected letters, documents, and never before published photographs to produce this first ever fully illustrated biography.” ~Armchair General
“Simply stated, Hal Moore is an American treasure and military hero. As the consummate soldier, Moore would have been successful in any fighting force through the ages. In this biography by Mike Guardia, one of America’s finest military historians, Moore’s story is captured from his earliest days at West Point, through Korea, to the seminal moment of his Army life during the famed 1965 Battle of Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam. The battle has become the stuff of legend and Guardia captures the story in vivid detail. The book goes on to tell the full story of Moore’s rise to Lieutenant General and his special place in the annals of American history.
The book benefits greatly from Guardia’s many interviews with Moore, his family, fellow soldiers and others who have known him through the years. Just recently a major military magazine declared that Hal Moore was one of the top 100 generals in history. After completing this book, the reader will know why.” ~Brian Sobel, author of The Fighting Pattons
"In the well-written biography “Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always,” author Mike Guardia tells how Moore exemplifies the leadership qualities needed in all military leaders both in battle and in peacetime. It is a well-documented study of an exceptional soldier and innovative problem solver...“Hal Moore” is a quick read, yet contains sufficient depth to fully understand Moore’s personality, character and motivation. It explores his knack for bringing out the best in his subordinates and for turning poor performing units into extraordinary organizations that became the envy of other commanders. This biography should be essential reading for every sergeant and officer in the military, and every executive in business." ~Military Writer’s Society of America
"Here a reader finds the building blocks upon which Moore's leadership style crystallized and where he honed his tactical skills. From the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to the trenches of the Korean War, and to Moore's participation in the development of 'air mobile' doctrine and tactics, the author shows us Hal Moore 'the man' as well as the soldier. . . . Guardia [also] chronicles the key role Moore played in pulling the Army back from the abyss of the post-Vietnam malaise."— ~Toy Solder & Model Figure
"this book brings the saga of one of the Army’s premier combat commanders to a new generation of military leaders. We are in Hal Moore’s debt for his distinguished service under the most challenging conditions. We are in Guardia’s debt for making Moore’s story accessible to the American public." ~ARMY
"...a concise, admiring biography of retired Army Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” Moore...Told in Moore’s strong first-person voice, this readable narrative goes over the basics of the November 1965 actions at Landing Zones X-Ray and Albany, the fiercest components of the 34-day Battle of the Ia Drang Valley...Guardia leans heavily on the two books in his account of Moore’s life, along with interviews he conducted with his ninety-year-old subject, with members of his family, and with veterans who served with him." ~The VVA Veteran
"first-ever, fully illustrated biography, we finally learn the full story of Hal Moore, one of Americas true military heroes. " ~Books Monthly
"Guardia's honest recollections of his experiences in Viet Nam (both during the war and in 1993 when he returned to visit the men that three decades before were considered the enemy) are eye-openers." ~Statesman Journal
easy and fast read ... but Guardia manages to reach the heart of what made Moore a successful military leader." ~Connecticut Guardian
"…well researched... logical, straight forward, and enjoyable to read." ~Tip of the Spear: Newsletter of the Special Forces Association
"....collectively captures the heroism that Moore performed on fighting for freedom abroad. This work comes from hours of interview from the subject and his personal archive. Guardia has done a service in sharing the life of a forgotten hero." ~PurePolitics.com
"The strategies, the nature of the enemy, whether or not real lasting success followed military or personal battles, always can be questioned. Hal Moore, through the focused eyes of author/tank unit commander Mike Guardia has a major impact on how we as a nation and as individuals see things militarily or otherwise." ~Joplin Independent
"...an in depth biography of one of the America's most admired soldiers...Vintage black and white photography peppers this fascinating, thoroughly researched saga of Moore's life and career in the service, highly recommended..." ~Midwest Book Review
"This is truly an outstanding biography as the author, one of America’s finest military historians, was allowed unrestricted access to Moore’s collected letters, documents, and never before published photographs which added greatly to this fully illustrated biography. Author Mike Guardia tells how Moore exemplifies the leadership qualities needed in all military leaders both in battle and in peacetime. It is a well-documented study of an exceptional soldier and innovative problem solver. This book contains sufficient depth to fully understand Moore’s personality, character and motivation. It explores his knack for bringing out the best in his subordinates and for turning poor performing units into extraordinary organizations that became the envy of other commanders. This biography should be essential reading for every sergeant and officer in the military, and every executive in business." ~Joint Forces Journal
"...well written with numerous photos and just enough details to keep the reader's interest in the life of Hal Moore." ~MILITARY
"a valuable contribution to military history and biography more broadly, and the history of the Vietnam War and the U.S. military in the second half of the 20th century specifically." ~Daily News
"I never experienced the war like I have read in this book. Not just the war alone was the issue during his leadership roles in combat he had a lot of responsibility, gaining the trust of the locals, re-implementing training as well accountability for morals and ethical behavior." ~Argunners