MILITARY MATTERS: Exclusive Look Inside Home of LTG Hal and Julie Moore, New Namesakes for Fort Benning
AUBURN, Al. (WTVM) - Fort Benning will become Fort Moore later this year. The story of the namesakes is told best by their children. News leader 9 got an exclusive tour from their kids of the East Alabama home of Lt. General Hal Moore and his wife Julie.
The house they used to live in is filled with military memorabilia – like duffel bags from when he went to Korea and Vietnam - from one of the most famous soldiers of the Greatest Generation, who is having Fort Benning soon renamed after him and his wife.
As we saw on our exclusive tour of the former Auburn home of Lt. General Hal Moore, the couple’s honors cover walls, but the stories from some of their 5 children cover even more.
“Every time I come back and look at this (honors on the wall at parents’ old house like the Distinguished Service Cross), I nod my head and go thank you dad, thank you mom for making sure I grew up with values and honor,” Stephen Moore, son of LTG Hal & Julie Moore, said.
Their oldest son Greg Moore said, “And we’re so pleased that Fort Benning will be renamed Fort Moore to honor them, their values and character, but also - more broadly - the military family.”
Too humble to want Fort Moore to be just about him, it’s also for their family and Julie, recognized as one of the most influential wives since the Revolutionary War, leading the initiative to change casualty notification procedures.
“I think if you were to ask dad, would you want Fort Benning to be named after you, he would say no...but once you include the family, by adding Julie Moore, boy he would be all in on that,” son Stephen Moore also said.
As we looked at a calvary jacket and military hat worn by LTG Moore, it’s a reminder that he wore a lot of hats in his 30+ years in the Army - as a paratrooper, fighting infantry in the Korean War, and in the Calvary when he led 400 American soldiers into the first bloody battle of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Ia Drang.
That battle in Vietnam was depicted in his book “We Were Soldiers Once And Young.” I interviewed General Moore in this same house 20+ years ago when the film came out. Posters of that movie, starring Mel Gibson, cover one wall in the house, near a framed appreciation letter from then Governor Ronald Reagan.
Another treasure in their house is a souvenir pistol still in its holster that LTG Hal Moore brought back from Vietnam, as an official war trophy, with ammunition still in there.
“Hal Moore, people think of him as an extraordinary military hero. To our family, he was like Clark Kent, in the sense that he would open his military blouse and underneath would be a t-shirt saying Captain Fun,” son Greg Moore said. “If you ever saw my parents together, you always see a loving couple.”
Their oldest son also says, even in the terrifying war time, their dad and mom maintained normalcy for their family, along with feeling a lifetime obligation to his soldiers and their families.
“When he came back from Vietnam, he did his best to visit the widows,” son Stephen Moore said.
These days, many people put military coins on the headstones of Hal and Julie Moore in the Fort Benning cemetery, where they’re buried alongside his troops.
“Dad was always about the soldiers - so if seeing his name on Fort Benning would cause people to do research into what was going on during the Korean War...and realize how spectacular his soldiers were and how honorably they performed,” son Stephen Moore added.
There’s a plaque from West Point in their home library that has a quote from Hal Moore: “Hate war but love the American warrior.” It is not far from a jacket worn by all Ia Drang veterans. Ultimately, the goal is that Fort Moore represents those warriors along with Hal and Julie, an opportunity to tell a story of bloodlines – both war and family.
“I believe the Command is actually excited to be able to tell their story as inspiration to the new recruits to identify with,” LTG Hal Moore’s oldest son Greg Moore said.
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