We Were Soldiers
CRIS303 – B01
We Were Soldiers
We Were Soldiers is a movie written and directed by Randall White. It is based on a book, We Were Soldiers Once…and Young: Ia Drang, the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Lt. Col. Hal Moore and Joe Galloway. It details the account of both men, as well as the men under Moore’s command during the battle of the Ia Drang Valley. The battle takes place early in the Viet Nam War and the movie provides a historical, as well as dramatic recount of the battle and the lives of the men who fought it.
A narrator begins the movie by retelling the story of the French ...view middle of the document...
The movie demonstrates the care that Lt. Col. Moore has for his men by praying in the hospital chapel with Geoghegan. This care is also displayed by Geoghegan, who tends to wounds suffered by one of his men, Private Godboldt, during training.
Once they are deployed into battle, these men are led by Moore and they fight for their lives for nearly four days. Geoghegan is killed in battle while attempting to rescue Godboldt, who had been critically injured. Crandall continues to deliver ammunition and supplies to the men during intense combat, and Joe Galloway (Barry Pepper), a UPI reporter, arrives to report on the battle. Galloway represents himself to be a noncombatant at the time, but as the fighting intensifies, and the Americans are being overrun, he picks up arms to help his new comrades. He befriends Pfc. Jimmy Nakayama (Brian Tee), who is later critically injured by a stray napalm bomb. Nakayama is burned severely and screaming as Galloway helps to load him onto a medivac helicopter for extraction.
There are countless individual instances of battlefield trauma depicted in the film. Interestingly, the script does not focus solely on the efforts of the American soldiers, but also those of the NVA fighting the battle. One particular NVA soldier is followed periodically until he is killed while attempting to kill Lt. Col. Moore. The story also depicts the efforts of the wives of the men fighting the battle. As men begin to die on the battlefield, the Army delivers death notifications via taxi drivers. Julie Moore (Madeline Stowe) is Hal Moore’s wife and she and Barbara Geoghegan deliver the notifications until they receive notification of the death Geoghegan’s husband. These women are exposed to trauma with each notification they make.
The movie ends with the 7th Cavalry defeating the NVA. Lt. Col An lifts a small American flag and remarks to a younger NVA soldier, that now that the Americans are involved in the war, many more will die.
Exploration of Crisis
The predominant crisis depicted in We Were Soldiers involves death, grief, and life-threatening fights for survival by the soldiers who fought at the battle of Ia Drang. It is interesting to note that Ia Drang is translated into the Valley of Death. As the soldiers are fighting for their lives, they have brief periods of cease-fire to allow for brief recovery, only to be followed by more moments of intense terror as the fighting continues. The physical wounds suffered by the soldiers are only the visible symptoms of this crisis. Invisible wounds suffered as a result of the reaction to the abnormal circumstances these men are exposed to may lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD occurs in individuals who have experienced, witnessed, or were confronted by an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury to themselves or others. Their response involves feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror (Friedman, Resick, Bryant,...