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ABC TV Day One Program

After reading the book in 1993, ABC officials decided to produce a television piece for the "Day One" Monday night show hosted by Forrest Sawyer (link to view the show is below).

During the summer of 1993, ABC inteviewed several veterans of the Ia Drang battles in New York. In October '93, the Ia Drang Veterans, Forrest Sawyer, Terry Wrong (Producer), Quyen Thai (Asst. Producer), and two 2-person TV crews flew to Vietnam.

The veterans are listed below. Included are their military ranks, duty positions, and Ia Drang Battlefields they fought on:
 

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Resolve to Write

Joe Galloway and Hal Moore stayed in touch with each other over the years and in 1976 shook hands on a promise to write a book on the X-Ray Battle. Both men were busy; Moore in the Army and Galloway with UPI - there was little time for research. By 1983, Moore had left the Army and his job at the Crested Butte Ski Area and was ready to do research. Galloway was still working with UPI but soon changed to a job in Washington, DC with U.S. News and World Report.
 

 

 

In April 1983, Moore and Galloway met for 3 days to plan details. They resolved to do three things:

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1990 Trip

In the summer of 1990, U.S. News sent Galloway and Moore to Hanoi to do research with Vietnamese military officials in connection with a story to be written on the 25th anniversary of the Ia Drang Battles - and hopefully to return to the Ia Drang with the PAVN commander. They could not pull off the Ia Drang visit but were able to talk at length with Sr. General Vo Nguyen Giap and Major General Hoang Phuong, Chief of PAVN Military History. Gen Phuong was on the ground in the Ia Drang Battles as a Lt. Col Historian. Also during that visit, they contacted Sr. General Chu Huy Man, who declined to talk with them. They believed that Man was the principal battle commander who was Moore's PAVN counterpart.

They talked with each officer for 5 hours; 15 hours total. it was not until they got to Hanoi that they learned that Lt. Gen An was the on-the-scene PAVN commander giving the orders at X-Ray and Albany as a "Sr. Lt. Col"; not then-Brigadier General Man.

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1991 Trip

In early 1991, Random House Publishers contracted with Moore and Galloway for a book on the Ia Drang. Whereas the Oct 1990 story covered primarily the X-Ray fight, the two coauthors agreed that the Albany battle had to be covered in detail also. Research and writing went into high gear that summer and fall. In November, they returned to Hanoi for research with each of the following:

  • Sr. General Chu Huy Man (Commanding General (then a Brigadier), Central Highlands forces 1965-66
  • Lt. General Nguyen Huu An (Operational Commander, Highland Forces in the Ia Drang as a Sr. Lt. Col)
  • Major General Hoang Phuong (Historian)

They talked with each officer for 5 hours; 15 hours total. it was not until they got to Hanoi that they learned that Lt. Gen An was the on-the-scene PAVN commander giving the orders at X-Ray and Albany as a "Sr. Lt. Col"; not then-Brigadier General Man.

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1997 Trip

In 1997, Hal Moore returned to the battlefield for one last trip with CAV veterans of the Ia Drang battles. The associated pictures show the landing zones just prior to being converted to agricultural use.  Plantations exist on the two sites now.

Left to Right: Veterans of the Xray 1965 battle stand on the remains of the Plei Me airstrip on Dec 3, 1997. Bill Franklin (Plt Ldr C/1/7), Hal Moore (Cdr, 1/7), Paul Winkel (Huey pilot), Dick Merchant (Asst Opns Officer, 1/7), Clinton Poley (Machine Gunner, C/1/7)

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Movement to Albany

Albany. 17 Nov 65

A B-52 strike of 800 500 pound bombs (200 tons) is headed for the near slopes of Chu Pong Mountain above X-Ray early on 17 November scheduled to drop at 11:17 AM. To get out of the danger zone, both Cavalry Battalions are ordered out of X-Ray. 2/5 CAV leads enroute to the Artillery position at LZ Columbus. 2/7 CAV follows with orders to break off shy of Columbus and head for a small clearing 1.5 miles to the Northwest. 2/5 CAV reaches Columbus and goes into position without any problems. The head of the 2/7 CAV column captures two PAVN soldiers at 11:57 AM 100 yards east of Albany.

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Albany Setup

The 2/7 CAV Battalion Command Group and A Co 2/7 CAV reach Albany after interrogating the two PAVN prisoners. All Company Commanders are called forward and begin arriving at the clearing. The column is 550 yards long. C Company and A/1/5 put out flank security. PAVN soldiers of the fresh 8th Bn, 66th Regt (which had not seen action) deploy down the Northeast side of the column. Survivors of the 33rd PAVN Regiment deploy at the head of the 2/7 column. 

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Albany Contact

At 1:20 PM, PAVN mortar rounds explode in the clearing and down the length of the column of American companies followed by a violent assault which fragments the column into small groups.

When the firing begins, the Cavalrymen drop into the tall 3-5 foot high elephant grass where it is impossible for the soldiers of either side to identify friend or foe except at extremely close range. Within minutes, the situation becomes a wild melee, a shoot-out, with the gunfighters killing not only the enemy but sometimes their friends just a few feet away. When the firing begins, Captain George Forrest, commander of A Co 1/5 CAV (attached to 2/7 CAV), turns on his heels with his 2 radio operators, runs back 500 yards to his company and "circles the wagons". His two radio operators are killed beside him during that run.

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Terrain at Lz Albany

The photo gallery shows the terrain at Albany in December 1997.  There were very few pictures taken during the battle.

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Lz Xray Day 1

Battle Animation - Initial Assault and Contact

Battle Animation - Main Battle

Lead elements of the under strength 450 man 1st Bn, 7th Cavalry air assault into a small clearing in scrub jungle below the 2300 foot Chu Pong Massif. Within an hour, a fierce battle is underway between the American Air Cav troopers and the aggressive 9th Bn of the 66th Regiment of the Peoples Army of Vietnam - North Vietnamese Regulars. The American Commander, Lt. Col Moore, fighting on the ground with his men, is faced with three on-going tasks to be accomplished simultaneously:

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