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Mrs. Julie Moore

Posted by john h on 4/22/04 at 11:31 (149352)

Passing Of Mrs Julie Moore
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 drivers.
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 this address.
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 Army.
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 Moore.
(Joe Galloway was shown in the film as the young reporter/photographer,
thrust into the battle)
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 drawn
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 Vietnam.
Julie Moore was an Army brat herself, born at Fort Sill, OK, 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 now.'
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 so well.
'Garry Owen', Miss Julie. Godspeed.

Re: Mrs. Julie Moore

Necee on 4/22/04 at 11:49 (149353)

What a wonderful story John.

This not only reminds us all of the courage, bravery and strength of our dear soldiers, but the women in their lives as well, who give so much.

Thanks for sharing,


Re: Mrs. Julie Moore

Suzanne D. on 4/23/04 at 17:12 (149438)

It was inspiring to read about Mrs. Moore's life, John. Thanks for sharing the article.

Suzanne :)