“…It is November 1965. The Ia Drang Valley. The nearest town, Pleiku, a remote Vietnamese province capital. And west of town, beyond the stilted long-huts of the Montagnards, flat scrub jungle cover the hills by the Cambodian border. A smugglers’ haven, and now the infiltration route for the first North Vietnamese regulars to invade South Vietnam.
American regular infantry, the first sent to Vietnam as the war escalates, have come to this border country to hunt the People’s Army of Vietnam. They are the men of the First Air Cav, the first Army infantry division to ride into war in helicopters. The leading unit is Lt. Col. Hal Moore’s 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. Driving their choppers into a landing zone designated X-ray, a few miles from the Cambodian border, on the 14th of November, 1965, they land on top of a North Vietnamese Army base. A ferocious battle ensues that lasts three whole days. Hal Moore’s battalion several times comes within inches of being overrun. In the end, reinforced to brigade strength, the U.S. troops destroy the better part of a North Vietnamese division at X-ray. Seventy-nine Americans are killed, 121 wounded, a total of 200 U.S. casualties, the highest toll of the war till then…but there are roughly two thousand North Vietnamese casualties…”
—Jack P. Smith, soldier and future Emmy award-winning correspondent for ABC News