The first draft of all history is written in the memories of the participants in and witnesses to any event. We have sought, through the interviews for this book, to tap that resource on the Ia Drang battles before it is forever lost. Joe Galloway began the process on the battlefield itself, for the stories he wrote then. And although I was not aware of it at the time, my work on this book began only a few days later, when I sat down to write my after-action report.
The authors remained in close personal touch during the years after 1965; in March of 1983, we began our research. That month, our written questions were mailed to a scattering of Ia Drang veterans, and the first replies came back. In May 1983 I conducted my first taped interviews, with Bob Edwards and Ray Lefebvre.
We agreed from the beginning that we would make every effort to return to Vietnam to revisit the battlefield and interview the North Vietnamese commanders who had fought against us. That goal was realized, in part, during two trips to Hanoi—in August-September of 1990, and again in October-November of 1991. We were granted interviews with Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap and Major General Hoang Phuong, chief of the Institute of Military History, on the first trip; and with Senior General Chu Huy Man and Lieutenant General Nguyen Huu An and again with General Phuong on the 1991 visit.
We talked for more than two hours with General Giap; for four hours each with General Man and General An; for six hours with General Phuong. All were tape-recorded. The discussions in every case were cordial and professional, and General Phuong was remarkably generous in sharing with us his 1965 Ia Drang diaries and sketch maps.
The men who fought in X-Ray and Albany have told their stories in hundreds of statements, written and taped, and in hundreds of hours of personal and telephone interviews. Many of those who were interviewed or provided written accounts are not mentioned by name in the text because the events described are the summation and essence of the research to which they contributed time and substance. We are no less grateful to them for their invaluable help. The names of all who contributed to this research are listed below.
American Military and Ex-Military
Dick Ackerman, Russell Adams, Warren E. Adams, Hank Ains-worth, J. L. (Bud) Alley, Jr., Roger K. Bean, Bill Beck, Larry Bennett, William Bercaw, Charlie Black, Clarence W. Blount, Toby Braveboy, David Bray, Ervin L. Brown, Thomas W. Brown, Galen Bungum, Vincent Cantu, Robert S. Carrara, John A. Cash, James P. Castleberry, John F. Clark, J. D. Coleman, Kenneth A. Cone, Bruce Crandall, Ronald W. Crooks, Dennis Deal, Myron F. Diduryk, Gregory P. Dillon, Kenneth Duncan, John H. Dutram, Robert E. Edwards, Jim Epperson, John A. Fesmire, George Forrest, Ed Freeman, Larry M. Gilreath, James T. Godfrey, Ewing P. Goff, Melvin Gregory, S. Lawrence Gwin, James F. Hackett, Bobby J. Hadaway, James Hall, Harold Hamilton, Ernest B. Hamm, Steven Hansen, Dallas Harper, Charlie W Hastings, Robert Hazen, John A. Hemphill, John D. Herren, Sam Hollman, Jr., John Howard, Otis Hull, Hans Hundsberger, Joseph H. Ibach, Jimmie Jakes, Alex S. Jekel, Robert Jemison, George W. Jennings, Thomas L. Keeton, George H. Kelling, Glenn F. Kennedy, Douglas Kinnard, Harry W. O. Kinnard, Fred J. Kluge, Richard T. Knowles, Ted C. Kolbusz, Leland Komich, Stanley R. Larsen, David A. Lavender, L. R. (Ray) Lefebvre, Andrew Le Valli, James L. Litton, Riccardo Lombardo, Nick Lorris, Charles R. Lose, William Lund, Henri Mallet, Walter J. Marm, John C. Martin, George McCulley, Robert A. McDade, George J. McDonald, Jr., Robert McMahon, Richard Merchant, E. C. Meyer, Carmen Miceli, Troy Miller, Jon Mills, Frank Moreno, Ramon A. (Tony) Nadal, Lorenzo Nathan, Jr., Arthur J. Newton, Walter A. Niemeyer, George J. Nye, Larry Owen, Ernest E. Paolone, William F. Parish, D. P. (Pat) Payne, Basil L. Plumley, Clinton S. Poley, John S. Pritchard, Enrique V. Pujals, Robert L. Read, Cyril R. (Rick) Rescorla, Dan Robinson, Edward C. Robinson, George Rogers, William N. Roland, Stanley Rothstein, Gordon P. Rozanski, C. Ernie Savage, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, James Scott, Pat Selleck, John R. Setelin, James H. Shadden, William Shu-cart, Benjamin E. Silver, Ron Sleeis, Donald J. Slovak, Jack P. Smith, James W. Spires, Robert Stinnett, John Stoner, Joel E. Sugdinis, Dudley Tademy, Ray E. Tanner, Henry Thorpe, Robert L. Towles, Walter B. (Buse) Tully, Robert B. Tully, Arthur Viera, Jr., Bruce M. Wallace, Jon Wallenius, Richard B. Wash-burn, William C. Westmoreland, Paul Patton Winkel, Jr., Peter J. Winter, Herman L. Wirth, James Young, Jerald D. Zallen, Jack Zent
Mrs. Sara Elliott, Mrs. Barbara Geoghegan Johns, Mrs. Betty Jivens Mapson, Mrs. Catherine Metsker McCray, Edward Dennis Monsewicz, Mrs. Karen Metsker Rudel, Mrs. Delores Diduryk, Mrs. Frank Henry, Miss Camille Geoghegan
Former Government Officials
Robert S. McNamara, Will Bundy, Harry McPherson, Walt Whitman Rostow, Leonard Unger, Barry Zorthian
Wayne F. Hyde, Julia C. Moore, Kornelia Scott, Malcolm McConnell, Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett, Robert Poos
Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap, Senior General Chu Huy Man, Lieutenant General Nguyen Huu An, Major General Hoang Phuong