Lieutenant General Hal Moore- Hero of the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam, Paratrooper, and warrior- has died at the age of 94.

Born in Kentucky on February 13, 1922, Moore dreamed of attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. Believing his chances of acceptance would be increased in the big city, he moved to Washington DC and began attending the George Washington University while he waited for an appointment. At one time, Moore was actually offered a slot at the US Naval academy, which he turned down. By convincing two congressmen to trade their two appointment slots, Moore finally was accepted into West Point. Taking an infantry slot, he graduated on June 5, 1945.

Following his graduation, Moore made his way through various Airborne units, as well as seeing combat as a heavy mortar company commander in Korea. But it was the Vietnam war that would put his battlefield prowess to the test.

Moore was famously portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie “We Were Soldiers,” which was universally acclaimed for it’s realistic and gripping action scenes depicting then-Colonel Moore fighting for his soldiers’ lives in a desperate fight against overwhelming odds at Ia Drang , the Vietnam war’s first major fight between the forces of the United States and the North Vietnamese regular army.

Moore was a pioneer of the Air Cavalry, a method of using helicopters to quickly transport troops in and out of combat. In the battle at Ia Drang, shortly after landing and beginning their patrol, Moore’s forces captured an NVA deserter, who revealed that hidden in the valley was a force of more than 1,600 North Vietnamese troops, compared with Moore’s force of less than 200. As his men began to take fire, beginning the conflict that would last more than four days, Moore recognized that securing the LZ, a football-field sized piece of land denoted LZ X-Ray, would be the difference between life and death. The NVA, realizing that they could not withstand American air support due to lack of anti-aircraft weaponry, relied on the “human waves” to close with the Americans and engaged in fierce, close-range combat, much of it hand to hand.