SIGNED BY MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT BRUCE CRANDALL, AS WELL AS BY TWO OF HIS FELLOW OFFICERS
MOORE, Harold G. and GALLOWAY, Joseph L. We Are Soldiers Still. A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam. (New York): Harper, (2008). Octavo, original black paper boards, original dust jacket. $400.
First edition of this sequel to the acclaimed We Were Soldiers Once And Young, widely regarded as one of the finest Vietnam memoirs, signed on the half title by Bruce Crandall, winner of the Medal of Honor for his valor as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, as well as by two fellow officers also mentioned in the text, Bud Alley and Jim Lawrence, with a laid-in promotional printing for a veterans event also signed by Crandall.
"Sometimes a book is so good that it cries out for a sequel. Such is the case for We Were Soldiers Once and Young, a masterpiece that Lt. Gen. Harold Moore and Joe Galloway published in 1992. That book, of course, was subsequently made into a popular film. In this worthy successor, Moore and Galloway describe, in moving detail, the profound effect the Battle of Ia Drang has had on the rest of their lives. Fought in November 1965, it pitted Moore's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment against several regiments of People's Army of Vietnam regulars. War correspondent Galloway was with Moore's troopers, experiencing the struggle more as combatant than observer. Although both of these men went on to experience many other battles and, in Galloway's case, other wars, Ia Drang was their signal moment… The bulk of this sequel recounts their six trips back to Vietnam, starting in 1990 and culminating in 2005. Along the way, they met with and befriended some former enemies, including the famous Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap and Lt. Gen. Nguyen Ho An, Moore's counterpart at Ia Drang. Moore and Galloway conducted many interviews with these and other North Vietnamese commanders, along with North Vietnam's official historian, adding much to our knowledge about the perceptions and actions of the communist side of the war in 1965… As time unfolds, and the authors return repeatedly to Vietnam, the reader sees Vietnam transition from a weary, stagnant communist satellite to an economically revitalized, post–cold war nation-state. For instance, the first time the authors traveled to Hanoi, there were almost no restaurants. A few years later, after the fall of Soviet Union, Hanoi teemed with restaurants, shops, cafés, and traffic. Such observations make this one of the finest works in English on Vietnam since the cold war. The book concludes with General Moore's ruminations on leadership, combat, war itself, and his long military career, all of which are fascinating. He is quite honest—as is Galloway in an earlier chapter—about his opposition to the Iraq war. Both men are gifted writers. From start to finish the book is well written, with excellent storytelling. I recommend it highly" (John C. MacManus, Military History Quarterly). With 16 pages of photographs. This copy is signed on the half title by Bruce Crandall "Bruce Crandall Snake 6 MH 15 Nov '65"; Bud Alley "Bud Alley 11/17.65 HHC 2/7"; and Jim Lawrence "Jim Lawrence XF, Cv. D, 2/7 LZ Albany." All three are mentioned in the text. Bruce Crandall (who has also signed a promotional item from Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day) received the Medal of Honor for flying 22 missions into enemy fire and evacuated more than 70 wounded during the Battle of Ia Drang. Crandall also resupplied US Forces, despite harrowing conditions. He flew over 900 combat missions during the Vietnam War. A core element in the Battle of Ia Drang, Crandall is mentioned on 12 pages of We Are Soldiers Still lauded as "one of the most experienced pilots in Army Aviation." Bud Alley was also present at the Battle of Ia Drang as an untrained second lieutenant (under an experimental program). He was one of the ground forces who became pinned down by enemy fire at Landing Zone Albany during a failed march to an unspecified extraction zone. He went on to write The Ghosts of the Green Grass, a piece of historical nonfiction about the events of the battle relying on testimony by those who were there. Jim Lawrence was a first lieutenant and platoon leader during the ambush at LZ Albany. Lawrence was badly wounded and lay besides his best friend as he died. After the war, he spoke extensively on the battle, hoping to educate others on one of the Vietnam War's greatest tragedies. Both Lawrence and Alley are mentioned in the text as part of a group of a dozen or so lieutenants and captains who wrote and sang war ballads at the Garry Owen Officers Club to deal with the pain and confusion of the Vietnam War.