Combat Reporter, UPI (United Press International)
Service: Spring 1965 – Spring 1975
In the early 1960s Joe Galloway was a fresh, young reporter fascinated by accounts of the growing political and social turmoil in Vietnam, so he began writing letters to his editor begging for a transfer to Southeast Asia. If his generation was going to fight a war in Vietnam, Galloway was going to cover it from the frontlines. In the spring of 1965 Galloway got his wish. As the first American ground troops began streaming into the country, UPI transferred him to South Vietnam, and assigned him to cover the blossoming conflict. By November he would be embedded with the command unit of the 1st Cavalry Division in the midst of the first major battle of the Vietnam War – the Ia Drang Valley. He would go on to serve a total of four tours in Vietnam – returning in 1971 to cover Operation Lam Son 719, in 1973 for the release of the POWs, and in 1975 for the fall of Cambodia and, ultimately, South Vietnam. Galloway became one of the most influential reporters of the period and went on to co-author ‘We Were Soldiers Once…And Young’ based on his experience at Ia Drang. Joe Galloway would spend more than 20 years working as a foreign and war correspondent for UPI, causing General H. Norman Schwarzkopf to refer to him as “the finest combat correspondent of our generation.” In 1998 Galloway was awarded a Bronze Star with V for Valor for rescuing wounded soldieries under fire at Ia Drang. He is the only civilian to receive a combat medal from the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.