Retired LTGEN Hal Moore passed away on Friday 10th February 2017 just shy of his 95th birthday. The Cove considers it an honour to share the leadership lessons of a true professional.
Moore was renowned for his actions during the Battle of La Drang, Vietnam where he was a LTCOL in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. The battle was made famous by the book ‘We Were Soldiers Once … and Young’ (Moore & Gallaway) which was later made into the 2002 Hollywood film starring Mel Gibson.
On Nov 14 1965 Moore arrived at LZ X-Ray in the Le Drang Valley with 400 soldiers. While waiting for reinforcements, he and his men came under attack by the People’s Army of North Vietnam with a force of approx 1600 soldiers, which rapidly grew into thousands more. He made the tactical decision to defend the LZ at all costs by sending troops across the open field, a move which defied instinct to defend a fortified position. His troops held their ground for as long as possible but were eventually overrun.
Realising he had no other option, Moore called in an airstrike which inflicted heavy enemy casualties and helped balance the fight. In three days of heavy fighting, his own men never let up and continued a fierce resistance until the Vietnamese finally withdrew.
He once said to his men during lead-up training at Fort Benning, ‘I promise you 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‘. Moore was true to his word, earning the respect of his superiors and subordinates.
LTGEN Moore spent a lifetime studying and encouraging strong leadership principles on the battlefield and as a human being. Click on the image above for an overview of Moore’s 17 leadership precepts, courtesy of American Profile.