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Hal Moore
LTG(R) Hal Moore at West Point 10 May 2010.JPG
Moore visiting the U.S. Military Academy in May 2010
Birth name Harold Gregory Moore, Jr.
Nickname "Hal"
Born February 13, 1922(1922-02-13) (age 97)
Allegiance United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1945–1977
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment
7th Infantry Division
Fort Ord Army Training Center
Military Personnel Records Center

Korean War
Vietnam War

Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (4, of which 2 for valor)
Air Medal (9)
Relations Julia Compton Moore
Other work Author
Executive Vice-President of the Crested Butte Ski Area, Colorado

Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore, Jr. (born February 13, 1922) is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army and author. Moore is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second highest military decoration of the United States Army, and was the first of his West Point class (1945) to be promoted to brigadier general, major general, and lieutenant general. He is best known as the Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang, in 1965 during the Vietnam War; today, he is the "honorary colonel" of the Regiment.


Moore was born on February 13, 1922, in Bardstown, Kentucky. He had wanted to attend the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, however he found it difficult to be appointed to West Point due to the rural area of his hometown. Moore therefore moved to Washington, D.C., where he graduated high school and attended [Brown University] for two years. After that, he was appointed to West Point by a Georgia congressman in 1942. He graduated from West Point in early 1945 and attended graduate studies at George Washington University and Harvard University, and achieved a Master's Degree in international relations from the latter.

Moore was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry branch in early 1945. He served with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment in Japan from 1945 until 1948. In 1948 he was re-assigned to Fort Bragg. While with the 82nd Airborne Division, he volunteered to join the Airborne Test Section, a special unit testing experimental parachutes, and he made some 150 jumps with the section over the next two years. Over the course of his career, he became a master parachutist with over 300 jumps.[1] In 1952 Moore was assigned to the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division as a captain in the Korean War. While in Korea, he commanded both a rifle company and a heavy mortar company in combat. He next served as Regimental and then Divisional Assistant Chief-of-Staff, Operations and Plans.

In 1954, Moore returned to West Point, this time as a major, and served for three years as an instructor in infantry tactics. While serving as an instructor at West Point, Moore taught then-cadet Norman Schwarzkopf, who called Moore one of his "heroes," and cites Moore as the reason he chose the infantry branch upon graduation. Schwarzkopf later became a General in the U.S. Army and led the UN Coalition forces in the 1991 Gulf War against the Ba'athist Iraq.[2]

Moore next attended the Command and General Staff College, followed by a three-year tour in the Office, Chief of Research and Development where his initiative and insights were key to the development of new airborne equipment and airborne/air assault tactics. Following graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1960 Moore served a three-year tour with Headquarters, Allied Forces Northern Europe in Oslo, Norway. In 1964, Lieutenant Colonel Moore completed the course of study at the National War College, while earning a master's degree in International Relations from Harvard University. Moore was transferred to Fort Benning and commanded a battalion in the 11th Air Assault Division, undergoing air assault and air mobility training and tests until July 1965, when the Division was redesignated the 1st Cavalry Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Moore as CO of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry (then in the 3rd (Garry Owen) Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division took his unit to South Vietnam, and led it in the famous Battle of Ia Drang. Encircled by enemy soldiers with no clear landing zone (LZ) that would allow them to leave, Moore managed to persevere despite overwhelming odds that led to a sister battalion only two-and-a-half miles away being massacred the next day. Moore's dictum that "there is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success" and the courage of his entire command are credited with this astounding outcome. Importantly, despite the fact that Moore's spirited defense led to more than a 4-to-1 ratio between North Vietnamese casualties and U.S. casualties in their first major engagement of the war, Moore considers the battle a draw because the U.S. forces left the area, allowing the North Vietnamese to reassert control. Many consider this early battle a microcosm of the later war. Moore was known as "Yellow Hair" to his troops at the battle at Ia Drang, for his blond hair, and as a tongue-in-cheek homage referencing George Armstrong Custer, commander of the same unit (7th Cavalry) at the Battle of the Little Bighorn just under a century before.[3] Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions at Ia Drang. After the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, Moore was promoted to colonel and took over the command of the Garry Owen Brigade. After service in Vietnam, Moore served as Assistant Chief-of-Staff, Operations and Plans of the Eighth Army in South Korea, and Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division, before rotating back to the US. As Commanding General of the Army Training Center at Fort Ord, California in 1971-1973, he oversaw extensive experimentation in adapting basic and advanced individual training under Project VOLAR in preparation for the end of conscription and the institution of the Modern Volunteer Army.[4] His final assignments took him to the East Coast, as Commanding General of the Military Personnel Records Center, and finally, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Department of the Army.

After his retirement in 1977, Moore served as the Executive President of the Crested Butte Ski Area, Colorado. In June 2009, the 87-year-old Moore attended the formal opening of the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia. One of the featured exhibits of the museum is a life-size diorama of LZ X-Ray from the Battle of Ia Drang.[5]


Moore and his late wife, Julia Compton Moore,[6] have five children and twelve grandchildren.[1] Two of their sons are career Army officers: one a retired lieutenant colonel and another a retired colonel.


In 1975, the United States Army Center of Military History published Building a Volunteer Army: The Fort Ord Contribution, by Moore and Lieutenant Colonel Jeff M. Tuten. The 139-page paperback is a monograph concerning the Project VOLAR experiments during Moore's tenure in command of Fort Ord in 1971-1973 in preparation for the end of the draft and the implementation of the Modern Volunteer Army.

In 1992 Moore wrote We Were Soldiers Once… And Young with co-author Joseph L. Galloway. The book was adapted into the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, which was filmed at Forts Benning and Hunter Liggett, depicting Moore's command of 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at Fort Benning and in the Battle of Ia Drang. In the film, Moore was played by Mel Gibson, while Galloway was portrayed by Barry Pepper.

Moore and Joseph L. Galloway have co-authored another book together, a follow-up to their highly successful first collaboration. We Are Soldiers Still; A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam was highly anticipated and published in 2008.[7] Moore and Galloway reunited to give an interview on the book at the Pritzker Military Library on September 17, 2008.[8]

In 2007 Moore's volunteer driver authored a book on Moore's personal religious journey titled A General's Spiritual Journey. [9] According to the publisher on in the book "Hal Moore opens his heart and soul about the role of faith through his many life experiences. The book is an evocative collection of his memories, as observed and recorded by his friend and driver."

In November 2013, Casemate Publishers will release Hal Moore: A Soldier Once...and Always, by Mike Guardia, a fully illustrated biography on Moore's life and career.[10]

Major awards, decorations and badgesEdit

CIB2 Combat Infantryman Badge (2 awards)
USAAvtr Basic Army Aviator Badge
US Army Airborne master parachutist badge Master Parachutist Badge
OldAirmobileBadge Original Air Assault Badge
ViPaBa Vietnam Parachutist Badge
Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
GeneralStaffID Army Staff Identification Badge
1st Cavalry Division SSI (full color) 1st Cavalry Division Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Distinguished Service Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Cross[2]
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Army Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit (with two bronze oak leaf clusters)
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Bronze Star (four awards, including two for valor)[2]
Silver oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Air Medal ribbon.svg
Air Medal with one silver and three bronze Oak Leaf Clusters in lieu of Numeral 9
Joint Service Commendation ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg
Army Commendation Medal (with two bronze oak leaf clusters)
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal with three bronze campaign stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze campaign stars
AFEMRib.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam gallantry cross-w-palm-3d.svg Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm (three awards)
United Nations Service Medal Korea.png United Nations Service Medal for Korea
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon.png Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal ribbon.png Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Army Presidential Unit Citation
Korean Presidential Unit Citation.png Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm (two awards)


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