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Galloway and the Plei Me Incident

In Joseph Galloway’s article in the Soldier of Fortune Magazine September of 1983 he talks in depth about his time in the besieged Plei Me in South Vietnam.  It was an amazing story as it had a little bit of everything, except that he wasn’t there on the ground.

In Galloway’s own Soldier of Fortune article he said he left late on October 25, 1965 on foot.  The UPI story on October 25, 1965 has Galloway in a Helicopter flying overhead of Plei Me.  In his UPI story he reports in general terms about what was going on below him.  How can someone who hadn't even left the area have written a story and had it published?  He couldn’t have of course.  He was overhead in the afternoon of October 25, 1965 not in Plei Me as the relief hadn’t gotten there until dusk of October 25, 1965.  This is his first important Pleiku Campaign story and he had already lied.

Galloway said he was a machine gunner there for two days, ordered by Major Beckwith the head of the Special Forces.  Two things wrong with that, one a Special Forces Commander isn’t going to order a civilian to do anything and two, Galloway had never trained as a Machine Gunner.  When leaving the area he said the Major came up to him and gave him a M-16 and ammunition for him.  There is no way that happened as every M-16 had a serial number and they were tightly controlled and counted by each Army unit. 

There was an earlier article done in March of 1983 in the Soldier of Fortune Magazine.  This one was written by Robert L. Oles with a sidebar by Bob Poos.  Oles never mentioned Galloway and Bob Poos went one better and said there was only one reporter in the Plei Me siege.  His name was Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams.

When you read the Editor’s note about Galloway’s article in the 1983 Soldier of Fortune Magazine they say it was just before the deadline.  That means’ they most likely didn’t have time to fact check it at all.  Poos was the Executive Editor for Soldier of Fortune Magazine and only states that Galloway was on the ground at X-Ray.  He never mentioned Plei Me.  That says volumes of course.  Poos had two chances to say Galloway was at Plei Me both in the March and September Soldier of Fortune issues and both times said nothing.

Please read the AP article November 16, 1965 versus the Galloway article for November 16, 1965 and compare the detailed AP report vs. Galloway's.  The AP had very specific details about what became the Lost Platoon and Sergeant Savage.  Galloway is very vague with only Lt Col Moore and no other name, not even Plumley on the 16th.  On the 17th Galloway starts getting more information but still no names beyond Plumley. 

Galloway mentions Plumley for the first time on the 17th but why not before as he claimed he got there on the 14th.  If that's true why wasn't Plumley mentioned in the November 16th article?  

Galloway has built up a cottage industry over the death of American Soldiers killed in the Ia Drang Campaign.  He started writing fiction back in September of 1983 with the story “If You Want a Good Fight…” in Soldier of Fortune Magazine.  But before that, let us go back to his original articles in November 16, 1965 while working for the United Press International (UPI).

In Galloway’s first Ia Drang story he inserts himself into the battle.  In the second paragraph of his story “U.S. Soldiers Grit Teeth in Viet Hell” November 16, 1965 he stated “Get Down You Fool” we shouted instead of “Get Down You Fool” they shouted” on November 16, 1965 article.  Galloway has intertwined himself into the 1st Cavalry Division folklore ever since.  He has infected both the 1st Cavalry Division history and a segment of the general public for 51 years now with his lies. 


Brian Siddall

June 26, 2016
Updated September 21, 2016

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