Leadership Quotes from LTG Hal Moore

General Hal Moore may be more well known to many as the character portrayed by Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers.  Be that as it may, General Hal Moore was an excellent example of an Officer and a leader.  He led the the 1st BN 7th CAV Regiment in 1965 during the Vietnam War (which was depicted in the movie We Were Soldiers).  I’m sure you remember his famous quote: “…When we go into battle, I will be the first one to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off.  And I will leave no one behind.  Dead or alive, we will come home together.  So help me God.”

I’d like to take a moment and share a few other quotes that I enjoyed:

  • “Three strikes and you are not out!  There is always more you can do to influence any situation in your favor.”
  •  “A Leader must ask, ‘What am I doing that I should not be doing and what am I not doing that I should be doing?’”
  •  “A Leader must be visible and exhibit confidence under any set of circumstances.  The determination to prevail must be felt by all.”
  •  “When there is nothing going wrong, there’s nothing going wrong except there is nothing going wrong!  A leader must always be ready.”
  •  “Always trust your instincts.  Instincts and intuition give one an immediate estimate of a situation.”
  •  “Everything in leadership boils down to judgment.  Intelligence and good character does not imply one has good judgment.”
  •  “Study history and leadership qualities.  Pay special attention to why leaders fail.”
  •  “A person of authority does not automatically become immediately respected or trusted-it is earned.”
  •  “Every person in an organization is an important and necessary to a mission as the next person.  That goes from the top to the bottom.”
  •  “Instill the will to win!  There can be no second place trophies on display…awarded or accepted.”
  •  “Always remember to never deprive a person of their self-respect. NEVER!”
  •  “To do well in any field of endeavor, it is an advantage to work with good people.”
  •  “Strive to have one or two people around you who are totally trustworthy.”
  •  “Spend quality time with the team, learning who they are and what motivates them.  Create a family.”
  •  “Great leaders learn to lead self first.  Before you can lead others, leading self successfully must be accomplished day in and out.”

Final Thoughts

As you can see, LTG Hal Moore is a leader with great wisdom.  I hope these quotes have in some way inspired you to be a better leader. I’d also love it if you shared your favorite quote by LTG Hal Moore.  Just leave a comment to do so.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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7 thoughts on “Leadership Quotes from LTG Hal Moore”

  1. I worked for Hal Moore from 1971to 1974 at FT Ord, CA. He was the best leader I eve knew. He sent me out of a meeting to develop a course for field grade officers to increase their empathy, perceptivity and sensitivity so that we could heal the divisions resulting from the Vietnam war that were hurting our soldiers as well as getting them in trouble. We developed a Leadership and Management Development course that led to development of the Org Effectiveness program and school.

  2. I love the quote about depriving someone of their self-respect. A lot of leaders make the mistake of being bullies instead of motivators. While there is nothing wrong with being hard nosed, you have to know where to draw the line. Brow beating a soldier who is already broken will not only take his motivation and confidence, but his dignity as well. Everyone makes mistakes and a good leader will be constructive in his criticism, help build his soldier back up and help to insure he doesn’t make the same mistakes again.

  3. I have always loved great quotes. These quotes from Hal Moore are rated up in my list. Some of the ones that really caught my attention are:

    #4 always be prepared; when things are going great, something bad could happen at any moment.

    #7 if we look at why leaders fail, we can do the exact opposite.

    #9 all are part of an overall body. If you are the ear, the little toe is just as important.

    #11 second is the same as last. Winning carries the only prize.

    The last one is the most important in my opinion. If you cannot lead yourself, how can you lead anyone else?

  4. I just recently watched We Were Soldiers and loved it, what a great portrayal of what it was like to be on the fighting side of the Vietnam War. It is crazy to think that LTG Hal Moore and his troops had no idea what to expect and were a part of such a terrifying and awful war. It was touching to see the part where Mel Gibson (LTG Hal Moore) near the end of the battle step off the field. He lived up to his promise to his troops, and it must have been such an honor to serve with and for him.

    My favorite quote that you mentioned was “Study history and leadership qualities. Pay special attention to why leaders fail.” I think that is a great way to learn, by watching someone fail and taking their experiences and applying them to your own life. Hal Moore was an inspirational leader, it was neat to read all of his quotes. Thanks for the post!

  5. That is a great point, Chuck about the janitor and the CEO… I think often there is a grave unbalance when it comes to compensation in that respect, but it is true. I also use that same mindset when evaluating Soldiers. In my opinion, if I can look at my organization and ask…”Would my job be harder or easier if this person was gone?” If I can honestly assess that my life and job would be harder then I KNOW that person is worthy of promotion!

  6. I would have loved to serve with Hal Moore, in any capacity. This guy was a great leader who overcame huge odds in Vietnam. My favorite Hal Moore quote from this list is: “Every person in an organization is an important and necessary to the mission as the next person. That goes from top to bottom.” I always used to tell my troops that the job doesn’t make the person, it just reveals who they are. And I also realize that if a CEO and Janitor went on a vacation in the same week, the janitor would be missed more! The bottom line is that we are all part of a team and if we don’t do our job properly, the whole team can fail.

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