The Battle of Ia Drang was the
first major battle between the United
States Army and the North Vietnamese Army-NVA (People’s Army of Vietnam-PAVN).
It comprised two main engagements. The first involved the 1st
Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment and supporting units, and took place
November 14–16, 1965 at LZ X-Ray, located at the eastern foot of the Chu Pong
massif in the central highlands of Vietnam.
The second engagement involved the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment
plus supporting units, and took place on November 17 at LZ Albany, farther
north in the Ia Drang Valley. It is notable for being the first large
scale helicopter air assault and also the first use of B-52
strategic bombers in a tactical support role.
The aim of
this paper is to study the leadership traits of Harold G.Moore and to exploit
his positive and negative leadership traits as a lesson to be learnt and use
their ideas in recent modern-day air warfare and conflict.
The scope of
this paper will cover the following
Principle of his Leadership Style.
Learnt in Relation to the Principles Chosen.
HAROLD G.MOORE BACKGROUND
Lt Gen Harold G.Moore was born on 13 February
1922 at Bardstown, Kentucky. Hecommissioned as a second lieutenant at West
Point in 1945. He involved in Korean War 1954 and Vietnam War 1965.He is best
known for his leadership in the first major battle between the US and the
People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN). Moore and his late wife, Julia Compton Moore,
have 5 children. Moore selected Infantry as his branch and joined the 187th
Airborne Regiment in Sendai, Japan. In June 1952, Captain Moore
deployed to Korea. Over the course of the next 14 months, he would command a
rifle company and heavy mortar company in the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th
Infantry Division, and seeing action in some of Korea’s fiercest battles of
attrition on Pork Chop Hill, T-Bone, Alligator Jaws and Charlie Outpost.
After two years at West Point, he attended the Naval Postgraduate School and
later worked in the Pentagon in the Air Mobility Division, part of the Chief of
Research and Development, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for
Operations and Plans. Kinnard would be LTC Moore’s Division Commander in
Vietnam five years later and would shape Moore’s command style. In June
1964, LTC Moore received a by-name request from the newly promoted Brigadier
General Harry W. O. Kinnard, commanding general, 11th Air Assault Division
(Test), to serve as a battalion commander. Following retirement from active duty in 1977, he
worked as the Executive Vice President of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort in
Colorado. In 1981, working with his co-author, Joe Galloway, he turned his
attention to the research that underpinned their 1992 New York Times
Bestselling book on the Ia Drang battles, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young. In
2002, the book was the basis of the acclaimed movie, We Were Soldiers, where
Mel Gibson portrayed Hal. After being devastated by the loss of his wife,
Julie, in 2004, Hal withdrew from public life but worked with Joe Galloway to
produce the 2008 sequel to the first book; We are Soldiers Still: A Journey
Back to the Battlefields of VietnamHe passed away at his home
in Auburn, AL on February 10, 2017.
CHOSEN PRINCIPLE OF HAROLD G.MOORE
are guidelines that have tested and proven over the years by successful leader.
In our research, we found that Harold G.Moore have principle on Brad Sugars 10
principles of leadership.
a. Know yourself and seek self improvement
b. Be technically proficient
c. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your
d. Make sound and timely decision
e. Set the example
f. Know your people and look out for their well being
g. Keep your people informed
h. Develop a sense of accountability, ownership and
responsibility in your people
Ensure tasks are
understood, supervised and accomplished
Train your people as
To determine the
quality of Harold G.Moore leadership, the principle that guided into his
actions must be analyzed in order to be guide for other leaders in performing
their duties. Harold G.Moore was military general who required of leadership
skill at high levels. When each of these areas has been assessed individually,
it will then be possible to draw conclusions about the quality of Harold
G.Moore leadership and how it either assisted or hindered the accomplishment of
his mission. It will also be possible to determine if his exercise of
leadership has any applicability to the problem faced by leaders today and in
the future. Harold G.Moore has adopted various principles in his leadership as
a leader but we will examine two principles that most outstanding in him. The
chosen principle is as discussed below.
SEEK RESPONSIBILITY AND TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTION
Seeking responsibility and
take responsibility for the actions are very important leadership traits for a
leader to possess. A true leader
seeks responsibility and takes pride in his actions and backs them up. Related
with Harold G.Moore, we can see some of his responsibility on his communication
within his troops, example of “I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I
swear, before you and before Almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will
be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to set off, and I
will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So
help me God.” (Hal Moore).
The most important
principle for next-generation leader is to lead by example. Leaders are not
there to tell people what to do, but to show them how and why to perform the
specific task. The core idea of leadership is the ability to inspire people and
in order to do that you can’t just bark orders. If you want people to buy into
your vision, then you need to show them why the vision is worth working for
with your action and behavior. What we can relate with Harold G.Moore about
this principle is his contribution during his service at 82nd
Airborne Division. He joined Airborne test Section, a special unit testing
experimental parachutes. During training, he volunteers
himself to become a jump tested experimental parachute and other airborne gear.
With that event, he become an example to others.
TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE AS TEAM
Team is somehow the most
important resource for each leader. Embraced your team and devote your energy
to care about its unity each and every day. As long as your team splendid
nothing can stay on your way to success. Make sure that all people in your team
consider themselves as members of a strong unified family. For the Harold
G.Moore, he treat his subordinate like a family even during training or war
especially with his Sgt Major Basil L Plumley. His friendly behaviors have made
their people as team without care about his level of rank.
As conclusion, from the 3 of
Brad Sugars principle that we had choose,
by using Be, Know Do model (BKD) of leadership, Harold G.Moore was
fulfill the requirement to become an excellent leader. The character and competence the BE and the
KNOW underlie everything a leader done.
Harold G.Moore demonstrates
his character through his behavior. One of his responsibility as a leader is to
teach values to his men. Harold G.Moore always talk about honor, loyalty and
selfless service to motivate their men before go to battlefield. He also
teaches their men of the value thru the action and example such as:
“From that visit I took away one
lesson: Death is the price you pay for underestimating this tenacious enemy.” ? Harold G. Moore, We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young: Ia Drang-The
Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam
“War is absolutely the last card any national
leader should play, and only when every other alternative has been exhausted.
If the hand was being played by an old soldier, a war veteran, I can assure you
he would guard that war card to the bitter end and play it reluctantly and with
the fear and trepidation of experience.”
? Harold G. Moore, We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the
Battlefields of Vietnam
A leader must have a certain level of
knowledge to be competent. That knowledge is spread across four skill domains
that is interpersonal skill, conceptual skill, technical skill and tactical
skill. Related to Harold G.Moore, he have all the skill by example for the
interpersonal skill he always be with the man along the daily work and also
training part. He very closely to the subordinates to give a way for them to
feel free with him and he try to understand the way of subordinates. The 2nd
is conceptual skill to understand and apply the doctrine to the subordinates.
Before Vietnam war, he studied about the enemy and situation first then briefly
to the man. The 3rd is technical skill is how to use the asset or equipment.
He also studied about capacity of the helicopter that use for the war. The last
thing is about tactical skill that shown how he facing trouble situation that
is in a tough time and critical
situation he think a kind of go into a sort of a (unintelligible) zone (ph) and
blank out all the horrible brutality which is going on around him, being aware
of it nevertheless but realizing that was a commander he responsible for
preserving as many American lives as he can and killing as many enemy as he
Now, in the smoke and the dust, which
limits visibility and the terrible heat – that compounds the situation. The men
screaming and yelling, giving orders in three languages – English, Spanish,
Vietnamese; wounded men screaming for medics and for their mother, about to die
he never found it difficult to keep. Once, he was eight seconds from hitting
the ground, but he knew he make it in on my reserve if he could get it open. He
never really been concerned when he been tough situations.
Train soldier know what they
supposed to do, but under stress their instinct might tell them to do something
difference. The exhausted, hungry, cold, wet, disorientated and frightened
soldier is more likely to do wrong thing stop moving, lie down, retreat then want
not under kind of stress. This is when the leader must step in when thing are
falling apart, when they seems to be no hope and get the job done. Related to
Harold G.Moore he face the hard situation during Vietnam War. He didn’t get any
sleep along the battle. For the first day of the battle, there are only two of
his companies were on the ground and need to face out of 1000 People of Vietnam
Army Nations who were wanted to kill his company. No men were to cover their
company from rear. However, after the third company was landed, he uses his
ability on the decision making to defense their troop in three lines and
surprise the enemy. ,
When analyzing the
character traits of a leader it is important to assess both positive and negative
traits to ensure that lessons can be learned from both examples. This analysis
can be used to educate the grow subordinates into future leader. Harold G.Moore
showed numerous exemplary leadership traits, most of them are positive traits
fit for a leader and even the negative traits discuss later have a positive
side to them. Some of positive traits that Harold G.Moore possessed were as
a. Courage – Lt. Gen. Harold G.Moore whose fortitude saved most of his
outnumbered battalion in 1965 in the first major battle between American and
North Vietnamese troop. He was phenomenal man of great strength and character,
courageous and like a father to his troops who got most of his boys. On the
first day of battle at LZ X-Ray, the helicopter only can drop 80 of Moore’s 429
men at a time, once every 35 minutes. The PAVN had 2000 veteran soldiers on
ground and 6000 more were just half-day’s march away. However, as a courageous
leader, he able to manage their troops into the battle. Furthermore, his
attitude that make him to be the first person also shows of his courage value. He volunteers himself to become a jump tested experimental
parachute and other airborne gear. On his first jump, however, the parachute
hung on the tail of C-46 aircraft. He was dragged, twisting and trailing behind
the plane, at 110 miles per hour, 1500 feet above drop zone.
b. INSPIRATION: He delivered on a
vow that endeared him to his troops: “I’ll always be the first person on the
battlefield, my boots will be the first boots on it, and I’ll be the last
person off. I’ll never leave a body.” other times the example
was making sure that the lower enlisted Soldiers at first.
c. RESPONSIBILITY: He will not leave
their men. Three months earlier at Fort Benning, Ga., he had promised his men
that none would be left behind on a jungle battlefield. Later, helicopters were
so full of dead and wounded men that blood drained out of the cracks in the
fuselages.Julie Moore change policy to notify the family.
d. MOTIVATED LEADER: The day before
battalion was departing for Vietnam, He held a dress formation on the parade
ground with families of his troops attending. He addressed the group with a
e. SERVICE BEFORE SELF: He didn’t get any
sleep along the battle. He also never thought about his wife and five kids back
A true military leader, to put into writing
his negative traits really pushed this research deep to find any if there are.
The only traits that would make Harold G. Moore less than perfect was only the
based on our research. The 3 negative traits that Harold G.Moore is as
a. Unreliable –
Harold G. Moore gave bad impression of his president to their man. He thinks
that his president is well spoken without known of the reality. “Troops in
battle don’t fight for what some president says on TV,”. Moore said. “They
don’t fight for mom, the flag or the apple pie, they fight for one another,
they fight to stay alive and they become brother for life.”
b. Taking A Risk to Complete A Task
– Harold G Moore always take a risk to
become first. For example, when he with the 82nd Airborne Division
he joined the Airborne Test Section a special unit testing experimental
parachutes. His main chute hung up with at the tail of C-34 aircraft with speed
110 nm/h at 1500 feet above ground level, however he able to cut off his main
parachute and safely landed at landing zone using a backup chute.
– Harold G. Moore are overconfident with
himself that he has a good knowledge in academic, professional army officer
trained in all the army school and been through battle in Korea War as infantry
company commander of two infantry companies. He never did any bargaining with
biggest lesson learnt that very significant to be emphasis is seek responsibility
and take responsibility for any action that we do it. As a leader we must give
a fully responses toward our job and always be responsibility toward our men.
Not only by given task and leave it. Harold G.Moore was command his battalion
very well with his responsibility. In the battlefield, if we lost, don’t blame
our subordinate. But blame yourself for not training them properly or giving
Besides having a good
responsibility, you also need to be a good example for your subordinate. This
could be prevail during the battle of Ia Drang when Harold G.Moore become the
first person who step off from the helicopter to the battlefield and follows by
his company. For set example is not only to be used for the war. It also need
to be used for daily time. As an officer, we need to show our good attitude and
work to our men. So, it will give a good impression toward our organization.
In order to win a
battle, we need to train our people as a team. In other words, quality as a
team will give significant impact on the outcome. During the battle of Ia
Drang, Harold G.Moore company with 190 men was meet of 1000 North Vietnamese army.
However, their team were sustain in fierce battle for 45 minutes before get support
from artillery and air support. As we can see, quality is more important than quantity.
A good team is come from our people. The quality of people is come from how we train
them and treat with respect.
In conclusion, this essay
has reviewed Harold G.Moore providing an analysis of his behavior against the leadership
principle while he served as a commander of 1st Battalion, 7 Calvary.
He can be describes as a charismatic leader. He had clear vision and knowledge of
the path for execute his strategy so he is the one who be the inspiration and morale
toward their men to achieve the mission.