Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hal Moore

Worth reading.  I won't quote from it.  But I do believe the man should have gotten much more than a 15-gun salute.


  1. Mike,
    i served with SGM Plumly in the 70's.
    2000 people came to his funeral at Benning.
    I lived in the white elephants shown in the movie. i used to work in bldg 35 which was the infy school hq shown in the movie.
    i say all this because i am thinking of doing an essay on LTG Moore.
    in the xray kick up a James Smith was killed and he was a Distinguished Rifle Badge recipient. he went with the cav on the promise of being promoted for his efforts.
    i think he was the only such person kia in rvn. later distinguished guys worked in sniper schools etc..
    just last oct Arpail Joe Gapol was inducted to the military marksmanship HOF. he was the 1st confirmed kill for a sniper , and ended up with 19.
    this is just me talking , because theres stories inside of stories.
    joe galloway and moore did a sequal in 2008 which i intend to check out.
    jim hruska

  2. Jim -

    I have that on my must read list: "We are Soldiers Still". But there are a ton of people ahead of me at the local library.

    A great biography on Moore, covering also his service in Korea, was Mike Guardia's book "Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always".

    I hope you will do that essay soon. I look forward to it.

  3. My guess, Mike, is that Moore may not have been as gifted at the subtle combat of bureaucratic desk wars as he was facing the 309C Division. Not all warfighting skills transfer to organizational infighting.

    When you look at the history of the U.S. Army how many truly great tacticians and live-fire leaders made the top of the hill?

  4. FDChief -

    Moore himself always claimed he was not the brightest bulb in the room. He claimed he had just barely passed the threshhold to get into West Point. And once there the mathematics gave him fits. He graduated in the lowest 15% of his class. I would guess that blackballed him within higher Army circles from making four stars.

    But I think he would have made a damn fine strategist. Long before our involvement in Vietnam he had the foresight to read all he could regarding the French/Viet experience. Plus he had an advanced degree in International Relations. It does not take a math genius to be a good strategist.

  5. Not disputing that. I'd argue that the U.S. Army would have been better off had, say, somebody like Truscott been ACOS in 1950 instead of Bradley. Brad was a good man but an organization guy. Reading how he advised Truman on Mac and Korea you get the sense that what was needed was a no-bullshit type like Truscott instead of a go-along guy like Brad. Same problem in Vietnam; the service chiefs were all committee guys and didn't want to make problems.

    Moore's handicap was likely that he wasn't a smooth Pentagon operative of the sort more likely to succeed in the Game of Thrones.

  6. Mike,
    i reckon that u probably are already aware but her it is.
    LTG Larry Snowden died this week.

  7. Thanks Jim -

    No I had not heard that news. A great Marine! A hero at Iwo Jima 72 years ago. He was wounded on Iwo, evacuated to a hospital in Guam. Then he went AWOL and bummed a ride on a ship going back to Iwo to serve with his unit until the end of the battle.

    I never served with him. He did command 7th Marines in Nam, but at a different time than when I was with them.

  8. Thanks Jim for the tip.

    Snowden is revered in the Corps for going AWOL from a naval hospital on Guam to rejoin his unit on Iwo.

    I never served with him. He did command the 7th Marines in Nam, but they got a new commander just before I was joined them.

  9. Mike,
    when Lisa and myself interviewed LTG Snowden he admitted that his wounds kept him in constant pain, but he didn't want that mentioned.
    he also knew that he wasn't able to continue his Iwo memorial commitments and that the one a few years ago was his last hoorah.
    he was quite, calm and most gracious.
    some things stick in my head. strangely he didn't have any valor awards.
    for this i think is a result of the OLD CORPS mentality.
    he was a southern gentleman, and was surrounded by admiring widows in his last years.
    he also loved music and sang in several choirs. he was renowed for the quality of his singing.
    there it is. .

  10. jim -

    Did you write up and post that interview? Would love to read it. Did he live near you guys in FL?

    Snowden did have a V for Valor on his Legion of Merit. That medal can be worn around the neck like the MoH.

  11. Mike,
    the essay was =Lt. General Snowden. pubbed mar 26 2015.on RAW.
    he lived in a retirement community in Tallahassee. i live 1 town to the west.
    he was devout and active in church matters.he seemed a most thoughtful man.
    if u think appropriate we can redo it(the essay) for toaday.
    you could add a Marine comment on him as u knew from RVN and his legend.
    i missed the LM for V b/c i don't associate it as a V award, and obviously it is.
    i've only known 1 army troop with this award, and ironically he was a nco.
    jim hruska

  12. jim -

    I did not now him in Vietnam. As I said above he had left before i got to 7th Marines. Probably he was on his way stateside just as I was heading in the opposite direction. And as regimental commander he would probably never have met me anyway had we been there at the same time.

    Found the interview in your archives. Nice post. I had apparently read it before but apparently had forgotten it, which is one of the the misfortunes of advanced age. No need to repost it. But I would like to see the Hal Moore essay you were thinking about writing.

    Great pic you have of him. I noticed his Mameluke Sword sitting in an umbrella stand next to a wooden walking stick. That was a nice touch for his office along with the Japaneses honorarium plaques.

  13. Mike,
    the LOM cannot be worn around the neck of US recipients.
    as a foreign award at a Commander level it may be worn around the neck.