The definitive biography of Harold G. Moore, hero of the Vietnam War and author of the bestselling memoir of the battle at Ia Drang.

Hal Moore, one of the most admired American combat leaders of the last fifty years, has until now been best known to the public for being portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie We Were Soldiers. In this first-ever, fully illustrated biography, we finally learn the full story of one of America’s true military heroes.
A 1945 graduate of West Point, Moore’s first combats occurred during the Korean War, where he fought in the battles of Old Baldy, T-Bone, and Pork Chop Hill. At the beginning of the Vietnam War, Moore commanded the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry in the first full-fledged battle between US and North Vietnamese regulars. Drastically outnumbered and nearly overrun, Moore led from the front, and though losing seventy-nine soldiers, accounted for 1,200 of the enemy before the Communists withdrew. This Battle of Ia Drang pioneered the use of “air mobile infantry”—delivering troops into battle via helicopter—which became the staple of US operations for the remainder of the war. He later wrote of his experiences in the bestselling book We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.
Following his tour in Vietnam, he assumed command of the 7th Infantry Division, forward-stationed in South Korea, and in 1971, he took command of the Army Training Center at Fort Ord, California. In this capacity, he oversaw the US Army’s transition from a conscript-based to an all-volunteer force. He retired as a lieutenant general in 1977.
Hal Moore graciously allowed the author interviews and granted full access to his files and collection of letters, documents, and never-before-published photographs. 
A riveting true story of tank warfare in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm under the command of Captain H. R. McMaster.

As a new generation of main battle tanks came onto the line during the 1980s, neither the United States nor the USSR had the chance to pit them in combat. But once the Cold War between the superpowers waned, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein provided the chance with his invasion of Kuwait. Finally the new US M1A1 tank would see how it fared against the vaunted Soviet-built T-72.
 
On the morning of August 2, 1990, Iraqi armored divisions invaded the tiny emirate of Kuwait. The Iraqi Army, after its long war with Iran, had more combat experience than the US Army. Who knew if America’s untested forces could be shipped across the world and then contest the battle-hardened Iraqis on their home ground? The Kuwaitis had collapsed easily enough, but the invasion drew fierce condemnation from the United Nations, which demanded Hussein’s withdrawal. Undeterred by the rhetoric, the Iraqi dictator massed his forces along the Saudi Arabian border and dared the world to stop him. In response, the United States led the world community in a coalition of 34 nations in what became known as Operation Desert Storm—a violent air and ground campaign to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait. Leading this charge into Iraq were the men of Eagle Troop in the US Army’s 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
 
Commanded by then-Captain H. R. McMaster—who would go on to serve as National Security Advisor in the Trump administration—Eagle Troop was the lead element of the US VII Corps’ advance into Iraq. On February 26, 1991, Eagle Troop encountered the Tawakalna Brigade of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard. By any calculation, the 12 American tanks didn’t stand a chance. Yet within a mere 23 minutes, the M1A1 tanks of Eagle Troop destroyed more than 50 enemy vehicles and plowed a hole through the Iraqi front. History would call it the Battle of 73 Easting.
 
Based on hours of interviews and archival research by renowned author Mike Guardia, this minute-by-minute account of the US breakthrough reveals an intimate, no-holds-barred account of modern warfare.
The true story of the US Army legend who organized “Blackburn’s Headhunters” against Japan in WWII and went on to initiate Special Forces operations in Vietnam.

The fires on Bataan burned on the evening of April 9, 1942—illuminating the white flags of surrender against the dark sky. Outnumbered and outgunned, remnants of the American-Philippine army surrendered to the forces of the Rising Sun. Yet US Army Captain Donald D. Blackburn refused to lay down his arms. With future Special Forces legend Russell Volckmann, Blackburn escaped to the jungles of North Luzon, where they raised a private army of 22,000 men against the Japanese. His organization of native tribes into guerrilla fighters would lead to the destruction of the enemy’s naval base at Aparri.

But Blackburn’s amazing accomplishments would not end with the victory in the Pacific. He would go on to play a key role in initiating Army Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia, spearheading Operation White Star in Laos as commander of the 77th Special Forces Group and eventually taking command of the highly classified Studies and Observations Group (SOG), charged with performing secret missions now that main-force Communist incursions were on the rise.

In the wake of the CIA’s disastrous Leaping Lena program, in 1964, Blackburn revitalized the Special Operations campaign in South Vietnam. Sending reconnaissance teams into Cambodia and North Vietnam, he discovered the clandestine networks and supply nodes of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Taking the information directly to General Westmoreland, Blackburn was authorized to conduct full-scale operations against the NVA and Viet Cong in Laos and Cambodia. In combats large and small, the Communists realized they had met a master of insurgent tactics—and he was on the US side. Following his return to the US, Blackburn was the architect of the infamous Son Tay Prison Raid, officially termed Operation Ivory Coast, the largest prisoner-of-war rescue mission—and, indeed, the largest Army Special Forces operation—of the Vietnam War.

During a period when US troops in Southeast Asia faced guerrilla armies on every side, America had a superb covert commander of its own. This book follows Blackburn through both his youthful days of desperate combat and his time as a commander, imparting his lessons to the new ranks of Army Special Forces.
A main selection of the Military Book Club and a selection of the History Book Club
 
With his parting words, “I shall return,” General Douglas MacArthur sealed the fate of the last American forces on Bataan. Yet one young Army Captain named Russell Volckmann refused to surrender. He disappeared into the jungles of north Luzon where he raised a Filipino army of more than 22,000 men. For the next three years he led a guerrilla war against the Japanese, killing more than 50,000 enemy soldiers. At the same time he established radio contact with MacArthur’s headquarters in Australia and directed Allied forces to key enemy positions. When General Yamashita finally surrendered, he made his initial overtures not to MacArthur, but to Volckmann.
 
This book establishes how Volckmann’s leadership was critical to the outcome of the war in the Philippines. His ability to synthesize the realities and potential of guerrilla warfare led to a campaign that rendered Yamashita’s forces incapable of repelling the Allied invasion. Had it not been for Volckmann, the Americans would have gone in “blind” during their counter-invasion, reducing their efforts to a trial-and-error campaign that would undoubtedly have cost more lives, materiel, and potentially stalled the pace of the entire Pacific War.
 
Second, this book establishes Volckmann as the progenitor of modern counterinsurgency doctrine and the true “Father” of Army Special Forces—a title that history has erroneously awarded to Colonel Aaron Bank of the European Theater of Operations. In 1950, Volckmann wrote two army field manuals: Operations Against Guerrilla Forces and Organization and Conduct of Guerrilla Warfare, though today few realize he was their author. Together, they became the US Army’s first handbooks outlining the precepts for both special warfare and counter-guerrilla operations. Taking his argument directly to the army chief of staff, Volckmann outlined the concept for Army Special Forces. At a time when US military doctrine was conventional in outlook, he marketed the ideas of guerrilla warfare as a critical force multiplier for any future conflict, ultimately securing the establishment of the Army’s first special operations unit—the 10th Special Forces Group.
 
Volckmann himself remains a shadowy figure in modern military history, his name absent from every major biography on MacArthur, and in much of the Army Special Forces literature. Yet as modest, even secretive, as Volckmann was during his career, it is difficult to imagine a man whose heroic initiative had more impact on World War II. This long overdue book not only chronicles the dramatic military exploits of Russell Volckmann, but analyzes how his leadership paved the way for modern special warfare doctrine.
 
Mike Guardia, currently an officer in the US 1st Armored Division is also author of Shadow Commander, about the career of Donald Blackburn, and an upcoming biography of Hal Moore.
Three stirring military portraits—including a biography of the Vietnam War hero who wrote the New York Times bestseller, We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.
 
Hal Moore: A heroic commander in the Vietnam War, Harold G. Moore cowrote the New York Times–bestselling memoir of the battle at Ia Drang and was portrayed by Mel Gibson in the film We Were Soldiers. This “outstanding” and definitive biography expands on the account of that pivotal battle to encompass Moore’s distinguished military career from the Korean War through his courageous and invaluable service in Vietnam (Armchair General).
 
Shadow Commander: In World War II, US Army legend Donald Blackburn escaped from Bataan along with Russell W. Volckmann and organized the guerrilla fighters known as “Blackburn’s Headhunters” against the Japanese. He would go on to play a key role in the Vietnam War, revitalizing Army Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia, spearheading Operation White Star in Laos, and eventually taking command of the highly classified Studies and Observations Group (SOG). Blackburn was also the architect of the infamous Son Tay Prison Raid, officially termed Operation Ivory Coast, the largest prisoner-of-war rescue mission of the Vietnam War.
 
“A follow-up to a fine bio of Russell Volckmann, this tale of guerrilla warfare spans from Bataan to Vietnam.” —World War II Magazine
 
American Guerrilla: Here is Russell Volckmann’s own story, from his refusal to surrender at Bataan to raising a Filipino army of more than twenty-two thousand men and leading a guerrilla war against the Japanese for the next three years. When General Yamashita finally surrendered, he made his initial overtures not to General Douglas MacArthur, but to Volckmann. The progenitor of modern counterinsurgency doctrine, Volkmann wrote the field manuals that became the US Army’s first handbooks outlining the precepts for both special warfare and counter-guerrilla operations, making him the true “father” of Army Special Forces.
 
“[Volckmann’s private army] waged arguably the most successful guerrilla campaign of the entire war . . . Mr. Guardia argues, convincingly, that Volckmann deserves the title of ‘father’ of Special Forces.” —The Washington Times
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