Vietnam War Veteran to Present Experiences in 1965 Battle of Ia Drang Valley

lz_xrayMel W. Gunderson of Black Hawk will present his US Army experiences in the Battle of Ia Drang Valley’s Landing Zone X-Ray on November 14, 1965, as part of the 1st Cavalry Division in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Sponsored by the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group, the free family event will take place on Saturday, December 10 at Ellsworth Air Force Base’s South Dakota Air and Space Museum, starting at 9:00 AM.

It was the first major battle of the Vietnam War. Enemy strength was tragically underestimated. A captured soldier soon revealed that “there were three North Vietnamese Army battalions on the Chu Pong Mountain – an estimated 1,600 North Vietnamese troops compared to fewer than 200 American soldiers on the ground at that point,” according to Wikipedia.

Gunderson was with journalist Joseph L. Galloway who, with Ia Drang commander LTC Harold G. Moore, wrote We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, since made into a movie starring Mel Gibson.

Special December 10 meeting addition. Rapid City Pearl Harbor survivors Steve Warren (US Navy) and Stan Lieberman (US Army) will be presented 75th Anniversary Commemorative Medals.

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Woodrow Wilcox


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