We Were Soldiers, an Open Letter

Dear Colonel Love…..

Tonight I received an unexpected phone call from a good friend ( A Major in the Reserves, Mike Deault, that knows I fought in the RVN in the 1st Cav… as a Platoon Leader )…..He scammed two early viewing tickets to the movie “WE WERE SOLDIERS ” at the Ft.Belvior Military Theater….. he asked me if I wanted to go….

Earlier this month ( after thinking about it for almost 3 weeks ) I finally went and saw “Blackhawk Down “…as I had been in the exact same area going Medical Relief 4 and 1/2 months earlier( protected by a platoon of young stud Marines commanded by a giant {6’ 6”} of a man Major Mike Collier ) with Larry Jones “Feed the Children ” operatives… in a rather tumultuous time there….we were shot at during the Med Mission and even attacked by Adides people as I drove to the airport days later resulting in injuries of several Marines…. there was turmoil and firing everywhere….and a lot of death … and the smell of death… and rot everywhere…..The point being… it took me awhile to go see the movie…..as I really wanna by-pass the realities of that nasty event….and what led us there.

So, I agreed to go to tonight’s movie with great reservation…. to see a chunk of what I experienced in my youth…. where I turned 21 in the Bong Song…..Vietnam……I left the movie….all I could think of is how you and LTC.Hal Moore were so similar….deeply religious, courageous, led by example w/ the deepest of Professionalism and Knowledge…..you knew how to extract the best and the most from your men through a firm but fair Leadership…..I am so very grateful to GOD that you were my Battalion Commander….as was my then retired “Brown Shoe ” Army LTC Father…..who knew you through my letters to him at home during that arduous time….

You were an inspiring Leader. I used many of your examples as I matured…. some kept my alive in later years in the other 26 conflicts I went to. In particular, I remember the “Love walk & look” ….which I later used in El Salvador when I did my Reserve Duty in that particular hard conflict. Shoulders back, chin out, a longer gait, looking into the eyes of Salvadorian or Philippine or Colombian Soldiers… or our our Troops…. sitting on the platforms of the UH-IH’s … as you boarded with them…. the Look was “lets go kick some ass”………….your emphsis on trainning….it goes on and on….plain LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE stuff.

When you see the movie….. know that your men always looked at you with that same respect and admiration…..as they were looking at Colonel Moore…..

When you finally decide to go see the movie, it will make you proud of all our service.

Gratefully, Your former 3rd Platoon Leader, C Company 2/5th, 1 Airmobile Calvary….”Ready Sir ” ANDY MESSING