Saturday, August 20, 2005

1st Cavalry Division

I was drafted and inducted into the Army on December 14, 1965, twelve days after the battle in the Ia Drang Valley. I clearly remember standing with my fellow inductees, at ease, in formation at Ft. Benning, Georgia. A rumor passed through our ranks that there were already a large number of 1st Cav. widows on post. I had celebrated my 19th birthday ten days before the start of the Division's Vietnam history, which included the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. The Battle of Ia Drang would become famous in the book, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young. That was a lot to absorb for a nineteen year old kid and that day I stood in formation at Ft. Benning has stayed forever in my memory. I didn't have to go to Vietnam. But, the 1st Cav. did and I have always felt a connection to all of those other 19 year old kids who went and didn't return. I feel like I owe it to them, to mention what they did and who they did it with-brave and honorable men all.

1st Cavalry Division units have served the nation from 1855 to the present; building a history rich in pride with solid ties to the traditions and heritage of the United States Cavalry.

The famed 1st Cavalry Division was baptized by fire and blood on the western plains in an era of horse-mounted cavalry. Dubbed the "First Team" by Major General William C. Chase, the division has always strived not only to be the first, but to be the best.

The division's roots date back to 1855 when the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was organized. Redesignated as the 5th Cavalry in 1861, this unit participated in a number of famous Civil War engagements, including Bullrun, Antietam, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Appomattox

The division went home in 1965, but only long enough to be reorganized and prepared for a new mission. Within 90 days of becoming the Army's first air mobile division, the First Team was back in combat as the first fully committed division of the Vietnam War.

Their first real combat test came during the Pleiku campaign ; 35 days of continuous air mobile operations beginning October 29, 1965. The troopers destroyed two of the three regiments of a North Vietnamese Division, earning the first Presidential Unit Citation given to a division in Vietnam. (from the 1stCavalry site: ( )

IWe Were Soldiers Once ... and Young is a book by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway.The book is about the Vietnam War and deals mainly with the role of 1st Cavalry Division, 7th Battalion in the Battle of Ia Drang. This battle was the first large-unit battle of the Vietnam War; previous conflicts involved small units and patrols (squad, platoon, and company sized units).

Moore, Harold G.; and Galloway, Joseph L. (1992) We were Soldiers Once...And Young: Ia Drang--The Battle That Changed The War In Vietnam (1st ed.). Random House. ISBN 0679411585.

The movie We Were Soldiers, directed by Randall Wallace and starring Mel Gibson (as Moore) is based on the book. The book called attention to the fact that, quote: "Every damn hollywood movie got it wrong." This is what led to the brith of the We Were Soldiers movie, where, Randal Wallace was, quote: "Determined to get it right this time."

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