LTC Hal Moore and the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley (14-16 November 1965)
“During November 14–16, 1965, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army fought a battle in the Central Highlands of Vietnam that fundamentally changed the character of the war. Also a very bloody conflict—the bloodiest of the war—the four days of fighting caused the 7th Cavalry Regiment to suffer a higher percentage of casualties than had any regiment, Union or Confederate, at Gettysburg.”
Lt Gen Harold G. Moore (US Army Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway,
We Were Soldiers Once…and Young
The Rand Corporation published Command and Control—A Theory Derived From The Practice of Command and Control in 1999. It would be interesting to analyze comparable actions in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.
You may sense a bit of “Monday morning quarterbacking” in some of their analysis…but I think you will gain an even greater appreciation for Moore’s leadership and the skill of his soldiers against a numerically superior and motivated enemy.
The Vietnam War would see a logistics evolution from computers to “just in time” resupply on the battlefield via helicopter. However, it is the person and their will which still decides victory.
Also included is the official Army Vietnam Studies Logistics Support Volume.
Finally, two videos for your consideration:
17 Leadership Precepts, Harold Moore, Lt Gen, US Army (Ret.), available at http://www.americanprofile.com/articles/leadership-lessons-list-from-vietnam-veteran/
- Three strikes and you’re not out! There is always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor.
- A leader must ask, “What am I doing that I should not be doing, and what am I not doing that I should be doing?”
- A leader must be visible and exhibit confidence under any set of circumstances. The determination to prevail must be felt by all.
- A leader must always be ready! When there is nothing going wrong, there’s nothing going wrong except there is nothing going wrong.
- Trust your instincts. Instincts and intuition give you an immediate estimation of a situation.
- Everything in leadership boils down to judgment. Intelligence and good character does not imply you have good judgment.
- Study history and leadership qualities. Pay special attention to why leaders fail.
- A person in a position of authority does not automatically become immediately respected or trusted. This is earned.
- Every person in an organization is as important and necessary to a mission as the next person. That goes from the top to the bottom.
- Instill the will to win. There can be no second-place trophies on display—awarded or accepted.
- Never deprive a person of their self-respect. NEVER!
- To do well in any field of endeavor, it is an advantage to work with good people.
- Strive to have one or two people around you who are totally trustworthy.
- Spend quality time with the team, learning who they are and what motivates them. Create a family.
- Great leaders learn to lead self first. Before you can lead others, leading self successfully must be accomplished day in and day out.
- Successful leaders create the future.
- Leaders must lead. Be the first boots on the ground and the last boots off.
Until Next Month…
Col (ret) Jeff Decker