with Lt. Col. Moore, HQ Mortar Sector and Mortar Platoon with two mortar sections, Command Rifle team, Observer Rifle team & Crashed Huey Objective.
The Rifle Company (Airmobile) was a lean organisation transported and supplied by helicopter. It fields three rifle platoons under a captain, supported by a mortar section in the company headquarters. In theory it also had an anti-tank section with recoilless rifles, but these were left in the United States as the PAVN was not expected to field tank units, and if they did, heavier weapons would take care of them.
Lt. Col. Hal Moore
Hal Moore was born in 1922 in Kentucky. From a young age Moore was interested in joining the military and he worked hard to get into the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from the academy in 1945 and commissioned as a second Lieutenant.
In 1948 Moore was reassigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he volunteered to test experimental parachutes, completing nearly 150 jumps over two years. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Moore was promoted to Captain and first saw action in 1952 as an infantry company commander in the 7th Infantry Division.
Between the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Moore continued his studies in tactics, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1965 he transferred to Fort Benning to command a battalion in the new 11th Air Assault Division which pioneered air assault tactics using UH-1D ‘Huey’ helicopters. In July 1965, the division was reformed as the 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) and Moore took command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (General Custer’s old command at the Battle of Little Bighorn).
Shortly thereafter the 7th Cavalry deployed to Vietnam. Moore personally led his men into their first battle, despite his superiors’ objections. He firmly believed that the commander should be the first soldier in and the last out of any engagement, so it was no surprise when he was aboard the first helicopter into the battle of the Ia Drang Valley.
Once on the ground Moore quickly discovered that the valley was teaming with North Vietnamese troops and the fight was on. The battalion was heavily outnumbered. The enemy nearly overran the battalion when Moore called in a dangerously close air strike with every available aircraft in the area to save the day. He then took the offensive and forced the Vietnamese to abandon their positions.
With the battle won, Moore ordered his battalion to evacuate, and true to his word he was the last to board a helicopter back to base.
After the Vietnam War, Hal Moore continued to serve in the army and eventually retired as a Lieutenant General in 1977. Moore wrote about his Vietnam experience in We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, which was later made into a movie simply called We Were Soldiers.
Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley
Basil Plumley was born in 1920 in West Virginia. He enlisted in the US Army on 31 March 1942 as a private and volunteered to join the US paratroopers. He was assigned to the 82nd ‘All American’ Airborne Division and fought with the unit throughout World War II. He made all four combat jumps with the division in WWII including Sicily, Salerno, D-Day and Market Garden. He remained in the army after the war and participated in another combat jump during the Korean War with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
Plumley met Hal Moore at Fort Benning while Moore was testing experimental parachutes. He soon attained the rank of Sergeant Major and together with Moore began training their battalion in the new 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile). The Sergeant Major was known affectionately by his soldiers as ‘Old Iron Jaw’ owing to his being a hardened veteran.
In 1965, Plumley entered his third war when he went into action with the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Ia Drang Valley. During the battle, Plumley stood with his Colt .45 Automatic blasting the enemy if they came too close. Plumley’s rough commands were heard over the chaos of the battle and his stalwart nature gave the men someone to rally behind. Like Lieutenant Colonel Moore, Plumley was among the last to leave the Ia Drang Valley.
Plumley retired as a Command Sergeant Major having earned an impressive amount of awards, including a Silver Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster, a Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster, a Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and various other medals.
Flames of War/Vietnam War/United States of America/Box Sets
Flames of War/Vietnam War/United States of America/Infantry