Hal Moore: A Soldier Once... and Always Hardcover – Nov 11 2013
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".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.
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Hal Moore along with the First Cav Division in the first major battle of the Vietnam War in the Ia Drang Valley has brought forward to students of history a frank and balanced sense of what the war was about. In this book Mike Guardia also goes much deeper into the life and times of what I consider to be the best ground commander of troops in the 20th century regardless of nationality.
Guardia's book is direct and to the point. There is no extended analysis or needless hyperbole written within. We learn of Moore's early life and how he developed his religious convictions and sense of right and wrong. The author develops how Moore sought admission into West Point and right there we see a young man who is determined to make something of himself.
His development into becoming an officer during his years at the Military Academy is told of his academic struggles and the development of his character so determined to overcome his main enemy at the point, which was the demon of mathematics.
What Moore lacked in mathematical skills, he made up in his superior skills in the social sciences of human nature and psychological skills. In short Moore's seeds of superior leadership skills were first honed on the plains of West Point. Nevertheless as Moore said "I graduated at the top of the bottom fifteen percent of my class."
Guardia goes forward with young Moore's career to include his time served as a junior officer in occupied Japan where I have a sense that the young infantry officer thought of his time spent there as being a time of underutilizing his talents. After Japan we see Moore utilizing his expertise as an airborne trooper testing the latest and greatest jumping equipment to be used by the Army.
From that point, Moore is deployed to Korea and serves as an infantry officer of the line in the 7th Infantry Division. Not only was he on the line and got the opportunity to develop his leadership skills, he got to know how to best utilize his people. Through stringent training and constant follow up along with the command of troops through his concept of leadership from the bottom up, Moore found the golden keys to military leadership.
Along with line duty Moore also got to experience staff work in S3 operations planning. Hall Moore loved to lead troops but in order to advance in this man's army an officer needed to have staff time on his resume.
By 1964 Moore found himself in the experimental 11th Air Assault Division in Fort Benning Georgia. From that time forward until their deployment as the renamed 1st Cav Division would be forever imbedded into the very persona of Hal Moore. What his leadership and command performance in the Ia Drang Valley did was to show to one and all that Moore was a leader extraordinaire and that the theory of Air mobility was in fact to become the doctrine of the US Army in Vietnam.
From that point on Guardia takes us on the grand tour of Moore's life after the Ia Drang Valley. From stateside duty in the Pentagon to Norway to becoming the 7th Infantry Division commander in Korea we learn of how he applies his principles of leadership in many different situations and eclectic problems.
At the end of the book Guardia reviews Moore's basic principles of leadership; which by the way should be posted on the walls of anyone who is in a leadership role from the basic Forman to the CEO and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
My favorite Moore principle is the following: "Soldiers in battle do not fight for what some leader says on television or in a speech. Soldiers fight and die for their buddies. They do not want to let their buddies down. It' a matter of honor."
This book is written like Moore conducts his life and that is direct, honest providing inspiration that this should be the way we all conduct our lives. Bravo for you, Mike Guardia.
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.
After graduating from West Point as World War II ended, Moore served three years of occupation duty in Japan with the 11th Airborne Division. His baptism in combat came in Korea with battles that included T-Bone, Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill. During that war, he served a rifle company commander and as a regimental and divisional staff officer, all with the 7th Infantry Division. Nearly twenty years later, he returned to the 7th Division in Korea as its commanding general.
An early pioneer in the air mobile concept of warfare, Moore’s proved the value of helicopter-borne troops in Vietnam when he led the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry into the remote La Drang Valley and amid two regiments of North Vietnamese regulars. The bloody three day battle was immortalized in the book and movie “We Were Soldiers Once …and Young.” Actor Mel Gibson played the role of Moore, then a lieutenant colonel. With many episodes throughout Moore’s life, the book proves there was no embellishment of the man by the movie. A true warrior/leader, Moore received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions at La Drang.
As Viet Nam wound down, morale and discipline in the U.S. Army hit an all-time low. The author describes how General Moore played a major role in helping the army reinvent itself into an all volunteer organization. His leadership and drive helped restore esprit de corps, higher training standards and discipline to the service. He retired as a lieutenant general after 37 years of service.
“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.
only three years later,it is a great book not only about Hal Moore but the men that was with him on the field of battle.It would be great reading for any military man.
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