Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Interview with Mike Guardia, Author of Hal Moore - A Soldier Once and Always

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Ia Drang and the start of the Vietnam War. Hal Moore captured our attention when his exploits in the Ia Drang battle were recounted in his memoir We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, and commanded our respect in the memorable Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers.” Now, his life is covered in full by celebrated author Mike Guardia in Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always.  This remarkable biography gives readers an up-close look at both the personal and military life of an extraordinary American hero. 

1.  Why did you decide to write this book?

"My introduction to Hal Moore was the film We Were Soldiers which I saw opening night in 2002.  I was very favorably impressed because here was the first film I had ever seen to portray the Vietnam veteran in a positive light.  For years, my generation had grown up on such fare as Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, and Casualties of War - all of which portrayed the Vietnam veteran as malicious, mentally unstable, and a misfit in modern society.  We Were Soldiers, however, had no political agenda.  It was an honest an intimate portrayal of the men who fought valiantly in Southeast Asia. 

I was particularly impressed by Mel Gibson's portrayal of Hal Moore...and I was determined to learn as much as I could about Moore and his leadership style.  In the years following the film's release, I read the books "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" and "We Are Soldiers Still."  Yet, I surprised to learn that no one had written biography of Moore himself.  That's when I decided to take up the project."

2. What makes Hal Moore always a soldier?

"There's an old saying in the Army: 'Once a soldier, always a soldier."  Being in the Army is much more than a job; it's a lifestyle and a culture unto itself.  It never really leaves you (even after you retire and/or separate after your term of service).

3.  How are some ways people can show respect for those who have been in the military?

"The biggest ways to show respect for veterans is to thank them for their service."

4.  What do you hope readers take away from this book?

"I hope that readers will gain an even deeper respect and appreciation for the man behind We Were Soldiers.  His impact on the Army goes far beyond the Ia Drang Valley.  His service in Occupied Japan, the hilltop battles of Korea, and re-building the post-Vietnam Army are simply remarkable.  Even more of his leadership philosophies and ideals will be discussed in my next book, "Hal Moore on Leadership" which I anticipate being complete by the end of 2016."

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