Fort Moore would simultaneously recognize Hal Moore‘s life, a decorated and highly regarded commander of the Vietnam War and his wife, Julie Moore, who was equally distinguished as a leader of Army family programs who changed how the military cares for the widows of fallen soldiers. Hal and Julie Moore are buried together in the Fort Benning Cemetery. Each is honored with a special permanent exhibit at the Fort Benning Infantry Museum. Hal Moore is featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in its section on the Vietnam War.
Hal Moore: Appointed from Georgia, Hal Moore graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1945 and retired as a Lieutenant General after 32 years of active service. Notable assignments included occupation duty in Japan, serving with the 82d Airborne, testing experimental parachutes, NATO, and multiple Army staff assignments.
During the bloody outpost battles of the Korean War, Hal commanded Rifle and Heavy Mortar companies, served as a Regimental S3 and Division Assistant G3, earning two Bronze Star Medals for Valor. In Vietnam, Hal commanded at the battalion and brigade level with the 1st Cavalry. Hal is best known for his leadership in the first major battle of the Vietnam War in the Ia Drang Valley. After a three-day bloodbath, the enemy quit the field, leaving over six hundred of their dead. Hal was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the fight. Hal assumed command of the 3rd Brigade and led it through several campaigns in 1966. Often on the ground sharing the risks with his troopers, he earned another Bronze Star Medal for Valor and individual awards of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
In 1969, Hal assumed command in Korea of the 7th Infantry Division, followed by command of the Training Center at Fort Ord, CA in 1971. In both assignments, he solved deeply rooted racial unrest and redeveloped unit-level combat effectiveness. In 1974, Hal served as the DCSPER, where he rebuilt an NCO Corps almost destroyed by the Vietnam War.
Julie Moore: The daughter of an Army Colonel, Julie Moore lived every aspect of military family life, starting with her birth in an Army hospital at Fort Sill in 1929. Julie is most noted for her leadership supporting Army wives and families responding to the flood of casualty notifications after the Ia Drang Valley battle. The Army was unprepared and callously had taxi drivers deliver the telegrams. Julie was horrified with the practice and followed every taxi to offer comfort to the widows and attended every local funeral of every soldier lost in combat in her husband’s command. Through her efforts, the Army changed its policy and had uniformed personnel deliver the notices – a practice that continues to this day. The Army established the Julia Compton Moore Award in 2005 to recognize civilian spouses of soldiers for outstanding contributions.
Finally, Julie would experience a mother’s anxiety with sons on active duty during the Invasion of Panama, the Gulf War, and Iraq/Afghanistan. Julie was always an active supporter of Army Wives Clubs, daycare centers, and other military community support organizations, eventually leading many groups. A life-long Red Cross volunteer, Julie began helping soldiers in this capacity as a teenager. Her work and contributions led to the recognition of her as one of the “Influential military wives from the Revolutionary War to today (Link to article).”
Upon retirement, Hal Moore co-authored “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young” – a national bestseller consistently included in official military reading lists, as well as two additional books on his Vietnam experience and leadership. These books were the foundation for Hal’s next twenty years giving countless professional development seminars and working with veterans to heal Vietnam’s wounds. Generations of future leaders benefited from Hal Moore sharing his experiences and hard-won lessons on leadership. As a command team, Hal and Julie Moore welcomed all veterans “back into the perimeter” and always had the patience to listen, support, and impart love to all the Nation’s Service members. They recognized there was never enough they could do for veterans and co-founded the Ia Drang Scholarship fund – 322 recipients/$1,823,519 in funding so far.
Additional national awards recognizing Hal Moore’s contributions include the “Doughboy Award,” the highest honor for dedication and service to the Infantry in 2000 and the Distinguished Graduate Award in 2003 by the United States Military Academy. However, he was most proud of being selected as an honorary NCO by the Non-Commissioned Officers Association in 1971.
Summary: Fort Moore will uniquely honor the families of slain soldiers and highlight the military spouse’s invaluable contribution to combat readiness. There can be no better or unique way to inspire the men and women who will train at the renamed Fort Moore, and particularly to provide recognition to the widows of our Nation’s slain, than to name Fort Benning for the couple that exemplifies America’s highest standards of command and compassion — Hal and Julie Moore.