COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — On Thursday, Fort Benning will be renamed in honor of Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his wife, Julia.

There will be a lot written and said about the Moores at this historic moment. The battlefield exploits of Moore and his men in 1965 were well documented by famed war correspondent and journalist Joe Galloway and in the 2002 Hollywood movie “We Were Soldiers.”

Hal Moore was a soldier’s soldier. Julia Moore was the bedrock back home during Vietnam. And Joe Galloway was a reporter’s reporter. He talked his way on the battlefield in the Ia Drang Valley.

Greg and Dave Moore got to witness the special relationship between their father, a respected U.S. Army officer, and Joe Galloway, a free-lance reporter who found himself in the middle of the first major battle of the Vietnam War.

That relationship was forged in November 1965.

“When he received the request for a reporter to come into the landing zone, he actually did say, ‘If he’s crazy enough to want to come, bring him in,’” Dave Moore said Tuesday at the National Infantry Museum. “That wasn’t the first time he met Joe. Joe had been on a couple of other operations before. They got to know each other in a way that my dad trusted. Joe and in a way that if any reporter was crazy enough to come into this hot landing zone, bring him on.”

Author Karen Spears Zacharias’ father was killed in Vietnam and she was close friend of Galloway’s. She tells the same story with a different twist.

“And he was getting a lot of pushback and one of the guys went to Hal Moore and asked … you know, it was a hot landing zone … this journalist guy wants to go with us? He said, ‘You know, if he’s crazy enough to go, let him go. Let him go,” she said via Zoom from her Oregon home.

More than 270 American soldiers lost their lives over the first three days of intense fighting.

Ron Milam is a Vietnam veteran turned military historian at Texas Tech University. He knew Galloway well.

“Joe said, from his perspective, you can’t tell the story if you’re not there,” Milam said. “And to tell the story just based on what somebody told you. He said, I embraced those battles not as a soldier, but I embraced watching these men — these brave young men — perform in a battle situation. And I needed to be there to be able to tell the story.”

Nearly three decades after the battle Galloway’s friendship with Moore had grown into a kinship. They were brothers.

And they worked together to tell the story of Ia Drang in the books “We were Soldiers once … and Young” and “We are still Soldiers.”

“He and Joe would do the core research,” Dave Moore said. “My dad would do the first draft and Joe would call it an after-action review. And Joe would then — through my mom’s typing, my mom typed the whole book and then sent it to Joe.”

Galloway was a masterful storyteller.

“Joe would turn it into a book,” Dave Moore said. “He would add the prose, He would add the readability. And through that back and forth of those reading those first-hand accounts, they formed a team that built “Were Soldiers Once … and Young,” as well as “We were Soldiers Still.” And combined conferences, and a relationship built of love of two unlikely partners that lasted a lifetime.”

Hal Moore died in 2017. Galloway delivered the eulogy. Galloway passed away in 2021.

Milam knows what Galloway would be thinking as Hal and Julia Moore’s names go on Fort Benning.

“He would give great respect for the decision makers that had said, ‘We’re going to do this. And eventually, people, if they don’t understand now, eventually they’ll understand why we did this ‘” Milam said. “He’d have great respect for them. We will also say that this is the Vietnam War era finally, finally being recognized for the things that they have done.”

Milam quotes what Galloway, a native Texan, said at the dedication of a Vietnam Memorial in Austin.

“ … He said they may not have been the greatest generation, but they were the greatest of their generation,” Milam said. “And I think that’s a wonderful line.”

ant to play someone like Hal Moore?