Veterans of The Battle of Ia Drang to speak in Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn —
On March 27, 28, and 29 there will be a homecoming celebration for Vietnam Veterans in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Bud Alley is one of the organizers. He fought in three of the battles that were among the deadliest for U.S. forces in the War in Vietnam.
"We thought we were going over to help some farmers, defend their farms against these aggressive communist." Mr. Alley said. "We didn't know what a communist was .'''
The Battle of Ia Drang had the most American casualties in the war. It was also the first offensive for US forces.
"We got 155 Americans dead on the battle field. We got 134 more of us wounded out of 320," Mr. Alley said. "The single most purple hearts ever awarded to a single unit for a single day's battle for Vietnam. "
General Hal Moore and Joe Galloway wrote a book about the battle of Ia Drang, and a movie was made based on the book. That movie We were Soldiers will be shown 3 times on Tuesday March 28th at the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga at 10AM , 1:30 and 4PM. After each showing there will be a panel discussion with some of the men who fought in that battle. Bud Alley says this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"Jim Lawrence, he's going to be here. Jim was shot in the head in the battle of LZ Albany," Mr. Alley said.
Joe Marm received the Medal of Honor for what he did in the battle. He will be in Chattanooga for the event. Joe Galloway, Sgt Ernie Savage, and several other veterans of that battle will be here. Bud Alley and all of these men will tell the stories of what they lived through 51 years ago.
"We were just so thankful, number one when Joe Galloway wrote the book," Mr. Alley said. "For Hal (Moore) as the leader to go back and find all of his men, and all of us that were a part of it ... that was really the first connection that most of us had had since most of us left Vietnam."
The organizers have set up a Facebook page for more information.