- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

FORT BENNING, Ga. (AP) - Fort Benning will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first major battle of the Vietnam War next week with a series of educational and memorial events Monday and Tuesday on the base, base officials said.

The Battle of Ia Drang was fought Nov. 14-18, 1965. It was the first major firefight with the North Vietnamese Army, and it took place in two parts of south Vietnam. The battle was featured in the major motion picture “We Were Soldiers Once And Young.”

A number of those involved in the battle will be returning to Fort Benning for the anniversary events, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported (https://bit.ly/1PEB2lA).

Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said he is using the anniversary as a teaching moment for young Army leaders.

Retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, the lieutenant colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang, lives in Auburn, Alabama.

Moore, 93, will not be able to attend but his family will be represented at the events, said his son, David Moore.

One of the pieces of the commemoration will be a leadership series for Fort Benning soldiers, the Columbus newspaper reported. There will be two leadership lessons, one running from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and the other from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Panels will include soldiers who were in the fight. Those who will participate are: retired Col. Ramon “Tony” Nadal; retired Command. Sgt. Maj. Southern “Buddy” Hewitt; retired Sgt. 1st Class Clyde “Ernie” Savage; retired Col. Joe Marm; retired Lt. Col. Bill Franklin; retired Maj. Joel Sugdinis; Bud Alley Jr.; Jim Lawrence; Larry Gwin; and Joe Galloway, co-author of “We Were Soldiers Once And Young.” The two lectures are open to the public.

Galloway will also speak at a dinner Tuesday night at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center. The cost of the dinner is $35, and it is open to the public.

Prior to the dinner at 5 p.m., there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Infantry Museum Vietnam Memorial.

Earlier in the day, there will be the presentation of commemoration plaques to the families of Moore, the commander during that battle, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, the chief enlisted man under Moore. Plumley died three years ago.

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Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, https://ledger-enquirer.com

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