LTG Hal Moore has passed away last night at age 94. He served his country with distinction and valor for over 32 years during the wars in Korea and Vietnam where he was immortalized as a Battalion Commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during the week-long Battle of Ia Drang.
Encircled by enemy soldiers with no clear landing zone that would allow them to leave, Moore managed to persevere despite being significantly outnumbered by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces that would go on to defeat the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry only two-and-a-half miles away the next day. Moore’s dictum that “there is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success” and the courage of his entire command are credited with this outcome. Blond haired Moore was known as “Yellow Hair” to his troops at the battle at Ia Drang, and as a tongue-in-cheek homage referencing the legendary General George Armstrong Custer, who commanded as a lieutenant colonel the same 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn just under a century before.
Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism at Ia Drang.After the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, Moore was promoted to colonel and took over the command of the Garry Owen (3rd) Brigade.
After his service in the Vietnam War, Moore served at the Pentagon as the military liaison to the Assistant Secretary for International affairs in the Office of Under Secretary of Defense.
In his next assignment the Army sent him to Harvard University where he completed his M.A in International Relations in 1968.
Having completed his work at Harvard, Moore reported back to the Pentagon to work with the Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Operations. He then helped draft the Army plan for the withdrawal of two brigades of the 9th Infantry Division to the United States as a part of the Vietnamization of the war effort.
On August 31, 1968, Moore was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In July 1969, he was assigned as Assistant Chief-of-Staff, Operations and Plans of the Eighth Army in South Korea where tensions were high from incidents along the demilitarized zone and drug use and racism among Eighth Army troops were at an all-time high.
Shortly after becoming Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division Moore was promoted to major general in 1970 and he and his family moved to Camp Casey, South Korea. He was charged by General John H. Michaelis, Commander, United States Forces Korea with cleaning up the drug abuse problem and racial strife that was prevalent at the time in the 7th Division. His plan established Officer’s Leadership Schools for company grade officers and a NCO Leadership School for staff sergeants and below as well as issuing an “Equal Opportunity Policy”. He backed up the policy with the promise to punish those leaders who discriminated based on race, ethnicity or creed. As a part of the reformation of division morale he established several different athletic programs, including football, basketball, and boxing.
As Commanding General of the Army Training Center at Fort Ord, California in 1971–1973, he oversaw extensive experimentation in adapting basic and advanced individual training under Project VOLAR in preparation for the end of conscription and the institution of the Modern Volunteer Army.
In August 1973, Moore was assigned as Commanding General, US Army Military Personnel Center (MILPERCEN), and in 1974 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Department of the Army; his last assignment before leaving the Army. He dealt with Army recruiting issues after the termination of the draft as well as the orderly drawdown of forces after the close of the Vietnam War.
Moore’s next assignment was to become the Commanding General, U.S. Army Japan but he elected to retire instead. Moore retired from the Army August 1, 1977 after completing thirty two years of active service.