The Passing of Julie Moore
A friend of mine sent this to me today (came out last week)...
The passing of Julie Moore, wife of LTG ret Hal Moore, "We were soldiers....
By Joseph L. Galloway
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON---There is mourning in a number of small corners of the country
this week. With a dozen new American soldier and Marine deaths in Iraq over
the weekend there are shattered lives in a dozen new towns. And at Fort
Benning, Georgia, this week we are laying to rest one of the finest Army
wives who ever walked.
Julia Compton (Julie) Moore, 75, was an Army daughter, an Army
wife and an Army mother. In the dark days of November, 1965, she did the
hardest duty of all: She visited the small bungalows and trailer houses
around Columbus, Georgia, to offer her sympathy and support to new widows
whose husbands had died in action in the Ia Drang Valley of South Vietnam.
In those early days of the war the Army was overwhelmed by
hundreds of death notices for unsuspecting families. It had forgotten how to
do this right, so the Western Union telegrams were handed over to taxi
Julie Moore was horrified when one taxi driver pulled up to the
small house where she and the five young children of Lt. Col. Hal Moore,
commander of the 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry in Vietnam, were living. It took
her a long, long time to answer the doorbell, a lifetime really, and then
the driver apologized, said he was lost and asked her where he could find
Mrs. Moore followed in the wake of that taxi and others to comfort
the new widows and orphans of a war that would, itself, ultimately be
orphaned and abandoned. She also raised unshirted Hell with the Pentagon
about so callous a method of notifying the families. Within two weeks the
policy was changed and a new one instituted, requiring that an officer and a
chaplain personally deliver the sad news. It was also a small beginning of a
concern for Army families that has grown into a major program throughout the
Mrs. Moore was a true hero in the book her husband and I wrote
about that time in Vietnam and in America, We Were Soldiers Once.and Young
and the movie based on that book, We Were Soldiers. Madeline Stowe played
the role of Julie Moore on the silver screen, and Mel Gibson portrayed Hal
The love story on film couldn't hold a candle to the real love
story behind this story. How the dashing West Point graduate swept the
lovely college coed off her feet, and married her beneath an archway of
How she brought forth five children, and raised them largely
without a husband who was away following wars or rumors of wars. He fought
in Korea; commanded two Infantry companies on places like Pork Chop Hill and
Old Baldy. He fought in Vietnam, commanding first a battalion in the Ia
Drang Valley, then a Cavalry brigade all over the central part of South
Julie Moore was an Army brat herself, born at Fort Sill, Okla.,
only child of Col. And Mrs. Louis J. Compton. She would see two of her three
sons follow their father to West Point and the Army, and one of them fight
in Panama and the Persian Gulf War with the 82nd Airborne.
In January of 1991 I phoned the Moore home to give Hal Moore the
news that I was leaving early the next morning on a military flight to Saudi
Arabia to get in place for the coming ground war. Miss Julie said, "Joe, I
am so very upset and worried about this thing. My son Davy is over there
I expressed surprise that the normally unflappable Mrs. Moore was
upset. "Julie, you sent your husband off to two wars, so why worry now?" She
responded: "Joe Galloway, you don't understand a thing. You can replace a
husband. You can never replace a son."
Julia Compton Moore died last Sunday, in the early afternoon,
surrounded by her grieving husband and her two daughters and three sons. I
said my goodbyes at her bedside the day before. Her eyes lit up and she
whispered: "Oh, Joe, we have come so very far together, and we still have so
far to go."
This week we are burying Julie Moore in the Fort Benning Cemetery,
near her mother and father, and in the middle of the 7th Cavalry troopers
whose wives she comforted and whose funerals she attended in 1965. Her grave
is beside that of Sgt. Jack E. Gell of Alpha Company 1st Battalion 7th
Cavalry. She will rest in the arms of the Army she loved so long and served
GarryOwen, Miss Julie. Godspeed.