Alpha 2-7 Cav Vietnam
Searchable A/2-7 Cav Roster
7th Cavalry.Com Website
The First Team Insigna (Patch)
The First Cavalry Division Association Website
David Floyd, Webmaster
A/2-7 Cav NAM 69-70
Website Established April 2004









Upated:
June 2017/JFB

Dear Brother Troopers,
Your Family Members and
Friends:
MY THANKS TO EACH OF YOU,
who, since we first published this website to
the Internet in 2004, have generously shared
your personal photos, information,
memories, memoriums, posted comments in the
guest book, sent emails, provided excellent
technical advice, supportivness, suggestions
and other assistance.

THIS SITE IS FOR EVERYONE!
YOUR HELP IS ALWAYS WELCOME,
NEEDED AND WANTED!
If you have photos, memories, videos,
website links, or other items you want
posted and/or, suggestions email me at:
webmaster@alpha2-7cav.com
Or, my sister:
Jenni Floyd Balis, U.S. Navy, Retired








A/2-7 Website Designer/Editor
jennibalis@yahoo.com

All information/photos on this site are
posted by request and with permission.
For sourced online information, authors,
photos, website links, etc , when the owner
information is available the
acknowledgement/recognition is
stated/shown within the posting. If you or,
someone else deserves credit for any
postings or, if you think an item should not
be posted on this site email me or, Jenni
and we will address your issue.

We do not publish telephone numbers,
email addresses, home or mailing
addresses; any exceptions are by request
and with permission only. Please
contact me for additional information.

NOTE: When you send photos please, if
possible include, for historical purposes,
any pertinent information you may recall
such as, dates (day, month, year),
location(s), and names!

LOST PHOTOS: If anyone emailed photos
to be posted and you do not see them
posted PLEASE resend them to me or, to
Jenni. Somehow, I've either lost them or, I
accidentally deleted them from my
computer. I apologize and hope no one is
upset. As I recall, these photos were
possibly from 69-70 and that some were of
1st Platoon Troopers.

When you sent me postal mail or email me
or, Jenni copies of photos or,
other information please email me or,
Jenni if you are not notified of the posting
or, if do not see your items posted onto the
website within a reasonable amount of
time.
GarryOwen and Welcome Home!
Alpha 2-7 CAV Vietnam
Website Established April 2004
By: David Floyd NAM 69-70
& Jenni Floyd Balis
© Copyright 2004- Indef/DBF
"All Rights Reserved, 2004-Indef"
David Floyd, 20004.
Sourced from: charlie2-7.org
Click Huey for:
"God's Own Lunatics"
By: Joe Galloway

Last Commander of A/2-7 Cav NAM
Last Shots Fired
Last Boots on the Ground









I served as a Platoon Leader under Robert Powell in a previous Vietnam tour when he commanded Company C, 1-503 Inf 173rd Abn
Bde in 1968. When Robert Powell took over A/2-7 Cav in 1970, he adopted the moniker of “Cold Steel Alpha” for the company and
required each soldiers in the company carrying an M-16 Rifle to have his bayonet fixed at all times. To my knowledge, no other rifle
company in all of Vietnam had such a policy. Indeed, there were usually very few bayonets carried in the field much less fixed. His
rationale was to build up a sense of esprit in a unit that had a morale problem before he took over.

Robert Powell also assigned names to each Platoon in lieu of the standard 1st Platoon, 2nd Platoon and 3rd Platoon. We had
Marauders, Raiders and Headhunters. Platoon call signs were “Marauder Six” – Platoon Leader, “Marauder Five” – Platoon Sergeant,
“Marauder One” – 1st Squad Leader, “Marauder Two” -2nd Squad Leader and “Marauder Three” – 3rd Squad Leader. The same call-
sign system applied to the Raider Platoon and the Headhunter Platoon. If you were a Radio Operator, your call sign had a “Romeo”
appended to it. Thus, the call sign of the radio operator for the Headhunter Platoon Leader was “Headhunter Six Romeo.”

When I assumed command of A/2-7 Cav, we had three platoons with three squads each. Each squad had a PRC-77 FM Radio, an
M-60 Machine Gun, an M-203 Grenade Launcher and the rest armed with M-16 Rifles. Platoon Leaders carried an XM-177E1 Carbine
and the Platoon Headquarters consisted of the Platoon Leader, his Radio Operator, an attached Platoon Medic and the Platoon
Sergeant. Platoon field strength varied between a rare high of about 40 personnel to a low of about 18 personnel. Average was about
32 personnel. We did not have the strength to have two separate fire teams in each squad, but we made-up for it with an M-60 Machine
Gun team organic to each squad. When maneuvering it was always by squad.

The Company Headquarters in the field consisted of 6 personnel, the Company Commander, the First Sergeant (our company was the
only company that had its actual First Sergeant in the field with his troops, all other companies had the First Sergeant in the rear with
the Company XO, Company Clerk, and Company Supply Sergeant), the Artillery Forward Observer and three Radio Operators: one for
the Battalion Net and one for the Company Internal Net.These two Radio Operators stayed within arms-length of the Company
Commander so he could operate on either net. The third PRC-77 was on the Fire Support Net and that Radio Operator stayed within
arms-length of the Forward Observer.

The company did not carry any crew served weapons other than the M-60s. We did carry a number of LAWs and lots of Claymores,
Smoke Grenades, and Fragmentation Grenades. A Rifleman carried by Company SOP: 20 M-16 Magazines (400 rounds) two Smoke
Grenades, two Fragmentation Grenades and a Claymore. Every Squad carried: a D-Handle Shovel, 3 Entrenching Tools, 3 Machetes
and 2 LAWs. Each Platoon Headquarters carried an Entrenching Tool and a Pick Axe. One Platoon carried a climbing rope, one
platoon the Starlight Scope and one platoon the Demo Kit. The Company Headquarters also carried the Secure Device to allow for
encrypted voice communication (it cut your radio range by about a third) and a 292 Antenna Head (it increased your radio range by
about a third if hoisted up into a tree and connected by coax to the radio).

Although the Signal Operating Instructions (SOI) issued each month published randomly generated alpha-numeric call signs for your
unit, we used the SOI call signs only on the Battalion Net and the Fire Control Net. Technically, we were required to use the SOI for the
Company Internal Net. However, we were only issued 2 SOIs carried by the Battalion Net Radio Operator and the Fire Support Radio
Operator. It just was a bridge too far to try and get all 13 Company Net Radio Operators and corresponding leaders familiar enough
with the SOI to not inflict confusion in communication when it mattered most.

Routinely, Rifle Companies operated in the jungle for a 15 day period hunting and humping. Then, 5 days back on the Battalion firebase
as base guard company (there were four Rifle Companies per Rifle Battalion). Usually there were two Log days while in the jungle for
15 days when one or two Hueys would conduct a 4 hour or so resupply.

At the very end, I made sure that I was the last man in the Company with boots on the ground in enemy territory when we returned to
Long Bin to stand-down. I had the last Huey wait until I emptied my XM-177E1 on full automatic into the wood-line as the last shots fired
in anger by the A Company in Vietnam. Purely symbolic, but what the hell. You may be pleased to know, that for the year that A/2-7 Cav
was commanded by Robert Powell and myself, the Company recorded more enemy KIA than any of other 35 Rifle Companies organic
to the 1st Cavalry Division.

KENNETH P. BERGQUIST
Brigadier General, US Army, Retired

Click to visit  Brigadier General Bergquist's A/-27 Cav's Webpage

Email: kenneth.bergquist@gmail.com


Posted: February 2015/JFB
My Name is Kenneth Bergquist
I was the last Commander of A/2-7 Cav in Vietnam serving from late
October 1970 and until deactivation in late March of 1971.

I replaced Robert Powell, who served as the Company
Commander the preceding six months.
A Walk in the Sun
A Vietnam War Documentary on the Events
of
November 1965
LZ Albany Battle of the Ia Drang And includes
some of the brave Troopers of Alpha 2-7 Cav
as depicted in
"We Were Soldiers."

Produced by:
The Military History and Multimedia Classes
Lorain County JVS, 2010

Music "Army Strong"
By:The United States Army Field Band
Posted February 2015/JFB
Ia Drang Valley
1965: Where the US Truly Went to War
Article in the Stars and Stripes   
A wounded trooper of the1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry is
attended to by fellow troopers during the fight for
Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley
stripes.com/news/special-reports/vietnam-at-50/
1965/ia-drang-valley-where-the-us-truly-went-to-war-1.376662
Sourced from The 7th United States Cavalry
Association:
7th Cavalry Website
Posted November 2015/JFB
My A/2-7 Cav Memories
From: David Floyd NAM 69-70
Please Assist Me In Filling In The
Gaps!!
Dear Brother Troopers:
For historical purposes, I have, finally,
after all of these many years, written
down some of the memories I have of
my tour in Vietnam during 69-70.
Since these are my memories, they
are only from my point of view. I am
sure there are accounts of events
which are not complete or totally
accurate.
So, hopefully, some of you, my
Brother Troopers, who may have also
witnessed these events will help me in
correcting any inconsistencies; assist
me in filling in any gaps; or, perhaps
you can help by adding more
information to what I have written.

I keep wondering how much of what I
remember really happened! It was
often so surreal. Like are these
events war stories I have heard? Or
did they occur as I remember?
Click to visit my NAM Memories

















Please Email any information to me at:
webmaster@alpha2-7cav.com

Postedt: April 2013/JFB
David Floyd NAM 69-70.
From: Jenni Floyd Balis
A/2-7 Cav Vietnam Website Designer/Editior:
I am always in process redesigning and updating
this Navagation Page.
So, please stay tuned and visit again soon!
????  RTO's Where
Are You Now  ????
We Honor Your Service and Miss Your
Friendship
Posted: March 2014/JB
Trying To Locate
Brother Troopers
Who Served as RTO's
With A/2-7 Cav NAM 66-67
Click to Visit Page
Submitted by Bill Hoffman
A/2-7 Cav
Postedt: August 2013/jb
4 Men On Flying Trapeze
The downblast from a
hovering Chinook's twin
blades sways the ladder as
troops of A Co, 2nd Bn., 7th
1st Air Cav Div make their way
upward during training
exercises at the division Fire
Support Base Pershing.

Published in: USA
Pacific Stars and Stripes
Wednesday Dec. 9, 1970
NAM Christmas 1969 on
Firebase Jamie
Submitted by: Ray Horner
A/2-7 Cav














Posted December 2013/JB
Graveyard at LZ 4
Battle of Cu Nghi on the Bong Son Plain
Between January 28-31, 1966
Battalions of the 7th and 12th Cavalry, 1st Cav Division
Won a Hard-Fought Round with the NVA and VC
"Operation Masher"
Posted January 2016 as per request from RIchard Abell A/2-7 Cav/JFB
Click link below to read article
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=144360
Tom Huebl
A/2-7 Cav NAM 1969










Posted: February 2016/JFB

Submitted by: Richard Abell, A/2-7 Cav NAM
Posted: February 2016/JFB
Beer Run, Vietnam 1968
At a time when the Vietnam War was at its height, one man,
John "Chickie" Donohue, snuck back into the war zone to find
his 3 closest friends and buy them a beer.

Click link below to watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4WAUmyKDq0&feature=youtu.be

Submitted By:
SGT Mike Kovitch, RTO  A/2-7 Cav NAM











Fifty years ago, on February 18, 1966,

I was inducted into the U.S. Army on Ponce de Leon Ave in the
old converted Sears Building in Atlanta, Georgia.

There were hundreds of us there that particular day and none
of us were happy.
There was no military lottery yet and the Army and Marines
were drafting everybody, or so it seemed.  

Little did I know what would be in store for me the next two years.
So long ago, and still I remember much of it to this day.

This was to be the first time in my life I truly felt like  just a
number, just a piece of meat. Basic training would begin in just
a few days as we were off that evening to Ft. Benning GA., my
duty station for the next few months.

In a month I would turn 21 and on that very day, a Saturday
night, when everyone else was out on the town, I was pulling
K.P. What a way to spend your 21st birthday day. I was pretty
depressed, and little did I know just how depressed I would get
in the coming months.

I can look back and laugh now, but I wasn't laughing much then.
None of us were. My war had begun.
Fifty years. Boy! That makes me feel old for sure.
Ha! When I now look at photos of me on Alpha, I almost don't
recognize myself.
We all looked so young. Just kids, all of us. Glad the nightmare
is over.

Click here to visit Mike's Updates, Photos information and More

Posted: February 2016/JFB
Vietnam War Statstics
Click underlined text link below
SOBERING STATISTICS FOR THE VIETNAM WAR
Submitted by:
Richard Abell, A/2-7 Cav Vietnam 1970
Posted March 2016/JFB
Operation Byrd A/2-7 Cav Information
Click to view link
Photo sourced from Facebook and Submitted by:
David Collins Alpha 2-7 Cav NAM












A Radioman comforts his friend who just survived
a battle during Operation Byrd in which his platoon
Alpha 2-7 Cav 1st Cav Division Airmobile 1966 was
nearly wiped out.
Posted: March 2016/JFB
Submitted by:
David R. Collins A/2-7 Jul 69 - Jul 70

I found this picture and thought others might be interested.

During Operation Masher/Whitewing in late January 1966, Captain Joel
Sugdinis (squatting in foreground) and his command group, Alpha 2-7 1st
Cavalry Division, calling artillery against an NVA position. Their assault
was stalled by intense enemy fire on LZ 4 in the Bong Song District.

Photo Credit:
Page 77
The American Experience in Vietnam,
By: Clark Dougan and Stephen Weiss
Boston Publishing Company 1988         


Posted: May 2015/JFB
David Floyd, Webmaster
webmaster@alpha2-7cav.com
Jenni Floyd Balis, Website Designer
jennibalis@yahoo.com
A/2-7 Cav NAM 69-70
Photos submitted by
Paul Redinger

Posted April 2016/JFB
On 6 May 1966, 1LT Martin J. Hammer, 2nd Platoon Leader of A Company, 2-7th
Cavalry earned the Distinguished Service Cross near the village of Than Binh,
Vietnam. 1LT Hammer was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by President
Johnson during his visit to Vietnam on 1 October 1966.














Citation
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service
Cross to Martin J. Hammer (OF-101931), First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for
extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed
hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On 6 May 1966, First Lieutenant Hammer was serving
as 2d Platoon Leader, Company A, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile),
near the insurgent-held village of Than Binh when they became engaged with a force of
North Vietnamese estimated to be of battalion size. As the company moved in on the
insurgents, the 2d Platoon moved from its reserve position to block an avenue of escape
around the company's right flank.

Despite the increased volume of insurgent fire, Lieutenant Hammer led his platoon across
more than 150 meters of sniper infested area to an effective blocking position against the
insurgent's withdrawal. While moving from squad to squad, he was wounded in the wrist.
Requiring help, Lieutenant Hammer braved the fire to direct a unit that had been sent up to
help his beleaguered platoon and was wounded a second time. Later the insurgents
launched a suicidal grenade attack on the 2d Platoon's left flank and Lieutenant Hammer
single-handedly repelled the attack. Discovering that one of his men had been wounded, he
again braved the insurgent's fire and dragged him to safety. While directing the 1st Platoon
that was sent up to reinforce his line, he received a serious shrapnel wound in the chest but
still refused evacuation in order to remain and direct his men during the remainder of the
fight. Only after his platoon was in its new position and the wounded taken care of did he
allow himself to be evacuated.

First Lieutenant Hammer's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with
the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit,
and the United States Army.

Headquarters, US Army, Pacific, General Orders No. 216 (September 8, 1966)

Posted A/2-7 Cav Vietnam: JFB/May 2016
Alpha 2-7 Cav Vietnam
Mini Reunion
May 29, 2016
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Click to Visit Page
Posted June 2016/JFB
Peter J. Nigido


NAM Photos 1970


Click to visit Peter's page

Posted November 2015/JFB
"Brothers in War"
Produced by: National Geographic
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/galleries/the-boys-of-67/at/charlie-sheen-reads-2080554/

Commentary by: Mike Kovitch, RTO NAM July 66 - July 67
Posted with permission: March 2017/JB
Recently, I stayed up until midnight watching a documentary called "Brothers In War," a story
about 160 men in Charlie Co 9th inf. who trained as a unit and then went over to NAM also as a
unit, sometime in Jan 1967. I remember that dark cloud hanging over me at that time, as I was in
country also, but with the 1st Cav, farther north than where they were in the Mekong Delta. I
thoroughly enjoyed the 2-hour documentary. But, was sad watching their KIA and wounded stats
at the end of the program. In their year in NAM, they had over 100 men wounded and suffered 26
KIA. That left, roughly 30 men or less that had not been wounded in action during their tour.

The documentary  went on to explain that unlike most soldiers who went over as replacements
(that includes me and everyone in Alpha at the time), they went over as a unit, highly unusual
during the Vietnam War. It reminded me also, when I first arrived in Nam, there were roughly
150,000 of us and when we rotated a year later, there were almost 400,000 troops in country, the
biggest single year build up of the war.99% of us were draftees at that time.

I remember watching the news at Ft. Carson, my last duty station before mustering out in
February of 68, seeing the weekly KIA news reports hovering between 250-300 every week. I
think I need to visit the Wall and have a good cry while I pay my respects to my fallen comrads.
So, so sad and such a waste. I cannot comprehend 58,000 of us gone forever and I will never be
able to get a handle on that or the effect it had on all those that served. I always have to watch
these shows by myself, why I'm not sure, but when one of these programs is well done, I get
engrossed watching the experience of others who served as did I and have a hard time leaving the
screen in front of me. I am reminded of the horrific sounds and sights but have to concentrate to
remember that the pungent smells of patrolling and battles were just as bad.

What the news media is rarely able to show you as you listen to the gunfire from you armchair is
the ricochet of those bullets cascading off everything around you, from branches to the ground, to
whatever. I remember thinking to myself after my first firefight that pitched battle is nothing like you
had seen on TV for so many years. Nothing, including my training, prepared me for that reality. I
am so glad the war was finally over before my brother Mark came of military age. He was 17 in
1973. I was then 28 and my war had been over for 5 yrs.
From: Joe Galloway:
For those who asked for a copy of the text of my Eulogy to Gen. Hal Moore here it is:
















Eulogy for lt. Gen. Hal Moore Feb. 17, 2017
We are gathered here today to bid a fond farewell to the finest combat commander i ever met in 40 plus years of covering
Americans at war….from 1965 to 2006.

I know for absolute certain that hal moore is sitting with julie looking down on us and laughing like hell because he put one last
one over on his pal joe galloway. Many years back he insisted on us shaking hands on a deal that whichever one of us died first
the other would agree to preach his funeral. I was pretty sure the deck was stacked against me but as all those years rolled past
we all began to wonder if hal was going to outlive all of us. He knew better and all i can do now is my duty. A promise is a
promise. But i swear i can hear him laughing as i stand here before you.

Besides being my best friend for the last half century hal moore was my co-author in writing and publishing two books.
Partnering in writing a book is at least as frought with possible dangers as the institution of marriage….and yet we remained
best of friends throughout.

The year that hal’s beloved wife julie died i marked the next new year by sending an email to hal that read: i did not want another
year to pass without telling you how much you have meant in my life….and how much i love you.

He responded several days later with an email painfully punched in his computer one letter and one finger at a time; julie had
done all his correspondence to that point. What hal said was this: what there is between us transcends all other relationships.
You are my best friend! We placed our lives in each other hands in battle and there is only pure trust between us!

We have not come here to mourn the passing of a great man. We have come to celebrate the life he lived….the people he loved….
the good times and laughter that we all remember when we think of hal moore.

I first met lt col hal moore one morning in early november 1965 when we had all spent a wet, miserable night in our foxholes on a
high mountain plateau east of plei me special forces camp. We had endured a long hot walk in the sun and that cold night. I had
shivered and shook all night long and finally the sun was coming up and i quickly got out my c4 plastic explosive, pinched off a
tad, lit it and began boiling a canteen cup of water for my coffee. Then four combat boots appeared on the edge of my foxhole.
There stood hal moore and his alter ego sgt maj basil plumley.

Moore took one look at me and told me: in my battalion we all shave in the morning and that include raggedy ass reporters. I
look at my cup of hot water and dug out my razor and soap. Plumley had an evil grin on his face as he enjoyed that scene.

It was hal moore who green-lighted my entrance into the hell that was landing zone xray a few days later. I heard his voice over
the radio when captain matt dillon told him : “that reporter galloway wants to come in with us tonight.” Hal’s response: “if he’s
crazy enough to want to come in here and you’ve got room bring him!”

I dodged the other reporters hanging out at lz columbus until it got near dark and they caught a ride back to pleiku where they
could get a nice dinner and a hot shower and a warm bunk. And i got a ride with maj. Bruce crandall into the pages of history.

After the fighting died away at noon on tuesday november 16 hal and i walked away from the chaos of loading up and moving
out. I told him i wasn’t sure i could write this story. He said: you’ve got to, joe! You’ve got to tell the american people how my
troopers fought and how they died here!

From that day forward we were blood brothers. An unlikely and improbable couple – a professional military man and a raggedy
ass reporter for united press international. When hal began planning a new operation he would send word to me to get to
an khe….or he would send a helicopter to fetch me.

Let’s fast forward through ten years of hard research….finding an interviewing over 250 individuals on both sides of the
battle…to the point where we sat down and started writing we were soldiers once…and young at my farmhouse in the northern
virginia countryside. Hal and julie were staying at son steve’s home 15 miles away in woodbridge. But we were laboring away on
the book 16 or 18 hours each day….seven days a week.

In december of 1991 we were done and hal was going to catch a train with julie back to auburn. He stood outside my home,
shaking his head, and declared: now i know why virginia was famous for slavedrivers!! He claimed i had shackled his leg to my
dining room table and even kept him from conjugal visits to miss julie. All i could do was grin.

When the book was published we began the first of three grueling cross-country book tours. Hal had fallen on the ski slopes at
crested butte and shattered his hip. The docs were impressed with the bone strength of this elderly gentleman and decided to
just put in screws and glue it all together. We set off on the tour with hal on crutches and in ever increasing pain.

Each day was the same. Up at 3am in some cheap motel and off to the airport. A new city with 12 or 15 interviews, a lunch
speech, and another cheap motel. Before long hal began grousing over the early wakeups and began blaming me. I told him to
suck it up, using one of his favorite dictums, that he had been in the army and west point for 37 years total and he had gotten up
early every day of those years. Hal shook his head and told me: that’s right joe and i have been slowly reclaiming all those lost
hours of sleep. I had just gotten to the korean war when you interrupted my program!!!

The real delight was when miss julie joined us for a stop or two on the book tour. Hal had to behave when she was around and
she knew it. I always delighted when we passed through the main gate of this or that army base and julie sighed and loudly
declared: home again! Safe in the arms of holy mother army!! And she meant it too.

When i made a particularly emotional speech julie would tell me: joe galloway you made me cry again. It ruins my makeup.
You’ve got to stop that!

I called the moore residence one morning to read to hal the prologue to our book that i had written early that morning. Hal was
off getting the mail so i read it to julie. At the end there was silence. Then julie said: joe galloway you may live to be 100 years old,
and i hope you do, but you will never write anything finer than this in your life! I knew then i had knocked it out of the ballpark.

Hal and i made two research trips back to vietnam to interview the commander who had done their best to kill us all in the ia
drang valley. On a third trip with forrest sawyer and an abc crew we finally achieved hal’s lifelong dream of a return to the ia
drang battlefields. Hal had told me years before that one day he wanted to go there, to walk the perimeter of those foxholes
around lz xray and, more than that, he wanted to spend the night on that battlefield. I told him the north vietnamese would never
allow that. He said something to the effect of hide and watch, joe.

That magical day finally came true and we filed off the old russian hind helicopter abc was paying a fortune to charter for us. At
the end of a long hot day walking that ground and being interviewed on camera it was time to leave. The helicopter would have
to take two round trips to get us all back to pleiku. We sent most of the vietnamese and most of the american veterans out in the
first lift. It was still in sight when hal said: joe, tell the boys to gather up a bunch of firewood and fill all our canteens from the
creek. I asked why? He said never mind just pass my orders. Besides us there were four us veterans, a vietnamese interpreter,
the abc crew. I gave the orders and former capt. Larry gwin asked me: joe, has the heat got to the old man? I said never mind,
just do as he says.

That chopper had not made it back to pleiku before the most awesome monsoon clouds rolled in over us. I had the only poncho
and it was seized and placed over our wood pile. We just stood there in a blinding rain like a bunch of jackasses in a hailstorm.
There would be no helicopter coming back for us in the dark now. I knew hal moore had arranged this whole thing in one of his
talks with god.

When the rain stopped we built our fire and sat back and watched a clear sky full of stars overhead. Suddenly there was a
meteor shower like nothing any of us had ever witnessed. Every few seconds another flash across the sky. It went on for an
hour or more. We all took it as a sign from all the souls who had died in this lonely wilderness. They were telling us that they
were at peace and so should we be. So should we be!

That night with my back against one of those little scrub trees i napped. When i would wake up i would see the figure of hal
moore walking the perimeter, communing with his beloved troopers who had held the line until death claimed them. All that night
he patrolled the perimeter. Back in pleiku lt gen nguyen huu an, hal’s opposite number in the battle, was walking the floor of his
hotel room worried sick that something would happen to us out in the valley. He had called the defense ministry trying to get
them to order the chopper pilots to fly back out in darkness. What he heard was: general, you mean to tell us that you have let an
american general, an american reporter and a network film crew get stranded out in a highly secure zone??? He had reason to
worry about us.

I was at julie’s bedside the night before she passed away. She awoke and told me: oh joe. We have come so far together and still
have so far to go! Her death took a lot of the joy out of hal’s life and brought loneliness into it for the first time ever. He talked of
wanting to die when we sat outside talking in the garden of the hospice. I told him he couldn’t do that. We still had work to do.
Hal asked what work? I told him we had to write the follow-on book to we were soldiers. He perked up and we got through 18
months of writing we are soldiers still and another round of book tours.

I could go on with this story telling all afternoon but it is time to wrap it up.

Hal moore: you changed my life. You made my life much stronger and better. You taught me how to build character. How to
follow a moral compass. How to always stand for what was right. I have loved you as a brother and as a father. You were my
captain in battle. We stood side by side fighting off an enemy determined to kill us all and thanks to you and your leadership we
prevailed. You taught me how to forgive our enemies and indeed to make friends with them long years later. I have loved you for
51 unbroken years and i will carry your memory and your example with me all the days that are left to me.

I would like to close with this Native American prayer of farewell:

Thank you for what you gave to me.

Thank you for what you took from me.

Thank you for what you left with me.