Retired Army Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” Moore, who saved most of his men in the first major battle in the Vietnam War, died Friday night at the age of 94.
Moore’s friend, Joseph Galloway, confirmed to the Associated Press on Saturday that Moore passed away Friday in his sleep in Alabama.
“There’s something missing on this earth now. We’ve lost a great warrior, a great soldier, a great human being and my best friend. They don’t make them like him anymore,” Galloway said.
Moore’s bravery in the Vietnam War during the Battle of Ia Drang became such a legend that actor Mel Gibson ended up portraying him in the movie called “We Were Soldiers.”
Before the conflict kicked off, Moore gave a rousing speech to his men, not knowing that he would soon face a bloody battlefield on Nov. 14, 1965.
“When I took command of that battalion, I stood in front of my troops and made a short speech,” Moore recalled in later interviews after the fight. “Get rid of second-place trophies, because we’re going to be the best.”
“And I promise you, when we go into combat, and I think we shall because the Vietnam War is heating up,” he told his troops while at Fort Benning. “When we go into combat, I will be the first man on the ground, and the last man out, and I will leave no man behind.”
Shortly after the battle between American and North Vietnamese forces started, Moore’s 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, found itself overwhelmed 10-to-1 by hundreds of enemy troops, but after a three-day fight, the North Vietnamese retreated, leaving 600 of their troops dead on the field.
Due to his incredible commanding efforts, Moore was given the Distinguished Service Cross.
Several months ago, actors Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn flew out to Auburn, Ala., just to visit with Moore, as Gibson had become friends with him during and after the filming of “We Were Soldiers.”
Moore retired from the Army in 1977.
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