545th Military Police Company
We were Soldiers and we were there
As of January 26, 2012
Almost everyone has seen the movie We Were Soldiers – some of us
more than once! What most you don’t know is that the 545th MP Company
was no stranger to COL Hal Moore or his unit which were part of the 3rd
Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. The 3rd Platoon in particular was
very familiar with the units in the 3rd Brigade.
The Real COL Moore The Movie LTC Moore
According to the history books, on the
morning of Sunday, November 14, 1965, approximately 400 young soldiers
led by Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson in the movie)
were transported via helicopter to Landing Zone "X-Ray" in the Ia Drang
Valley, known also as "The Valley of Death," deep in the interior of
South Vietnam. There Moore and his men found themselves surrounded and
outnumbered five to one by the North Vietnamese. The savage battle that
ensued over the following 48 hours was the first major encounter between
the armies of North Vietnam and the United States.
The battle also marked the first
systematic use of helicopters for battle purposes, under fire.
Helicopters became known as the new cavalry, and in fact, Moore's unit
is called the First Battalion of the Seventh Cavalry. The idea that his
unit is the same as that of General Custer gets a lot of play. To
emphasize the possible parallels between Moore and Custer, the movie
opens the film with a massacre of French soldiers at the hands of the
Vietnamese in 1954. Later in the film, Moore contemplates his mission by
staying up late at night studying reports about the French massacre and
stories about Little Big Horn. Custer comes up again during the battle,
when Moore wonders what went through Custer's head when he first
realized he had led his men into a slaughter.
Moore and his men are in a desperate
situation, surrounded and outnumbered deep in the enemy's homeland, like
Custer. Custer's enemies, however, outnumbered his troops 10 to 1, twice
that facing Moore's men. More importantly, Custer did not have the
benefit of air and heavy-artillery support from several miles away, or
doubtless he would have lived to tell tall tales about his heroism.
The 3rd Platoon of the 545th MP Company often picked up POW’s from
COL Moores unit and had many other official contacts with them as well
as all the other units of the 3rd Brigade.
After the action at LZ
X-Ray, LTC Moore was promoted to Full Colonel and given command of the
3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
On July 4, 1966, GEN
Westmoreland, LTG Larsen, and MG Norton arrived at the Special Forces
Camp at Dong Tre during Operation Henry Clay for the Change of command
ceremony for the 3rd Brigade. COL Moore turning the unit over to COL
Charles D. Daniels and the 545th MP Company had Security Duty for this
Seen here below are members of the 3rd
Platoon commanded by their Platoon Leader, 1LT William A. Rampmeier.
1LT Rampmeier (who is a member of our
association) is the 545th MP Officer on the left rendering honors to COL
Hal Moore as he proceeds to the parade field near the air strip.
General William C. Westmoreland and members of
his staff are escorted to the Parade Field by a 545th MP
as he walks
them through the security gauntlet and Guard of Honor towards the Parade
GEN Westmoreland followed by COL Daniels, LTG
Larsen and other members of the general’s party
The Change of Command Ceremony commences Note
the 545th MP perimeter guard in the foreground
GEN Westmoreland pins the Distinguished
Service Cross on COL Moore
GEN Westmoreland pays respects and says
farewell to COL Moore.
And the 545th Military Police Company was
SFC Jimmy Waynick our Association Chaplain
with LTG Hal Moore as he appears today.
Inscription reads “To the members of the First
Team’s Finest” and signed Hal Moore
General's Moore and Casey.
LTG Harold Moore Video on Leadership.
(To hear and see this
video properly turn off the audio at the top of the page)
CPT MP USAR (Ret)
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX