In May 2023, Fort Benning in Georgia will be renamed Fort Moore in honor of General Harold (Hal) Moore and his wife, Julia (Julie) Moore. General Moore was a decorated veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Mrs. Moore grew up in a military family, married an officer, and became a military parent when two of her sons chose to serve. She was widely recognized for her work supporting military families.
For Reuben Dickenson, the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Telemynd, this change is close to his heart: He knows the Moore family personally. Dickenson, a veteran, is volunteering to help plan the official renaming ceremony scheduled to take place on May 11, 2023.
The Fort Benning Name Change
The push for Fort Benning's new name was initiated in 2021 when the Department of Defense followed a Congressional order to rename military sites named after Confederate personnel. Fort Benning was named for Georgia native Henry Benning, who served in the Confederate Army, though he never served in the United States military. The Naming Commission solicited proposals for a Forte Benning name change and other facilities and considered them throughout 2022.
The Moores' five children were instrumental in proposing the name change for the Georgia Army base. Fort Benning has special significance for the family. They lived on the base during the General's service during the Vietnam War. Later, their son David was stationed at Fort Benning during his own Army service, and he currently works there as a civilian employee. Both General and Mrs. Moore are buried in the Fort Banning Post Cemetery. They were laid to rest there because General Moore wanted to be surrounded by the troops he led in Vietnam.
The Moore family was adamant that the name change reflects the contributions of both Julia and Hal. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, David remarked, "We felt that by nominating them both it creates the opportunity for the Army to honor something bigger than just a name — to honor the Army family."
About Hal Moore
Hal Moore was a West Point graduate who went on to serve on active duty for 32 years. His early service included time in Japan following World War II, where he trained in the airborne jump school in Tokyo. He was given command of a heavy mortar company in combat during the Korean War, where he earned two Bronze Star Medals for Valor.
After the Korean War, Moore returned to the United States, where he taught at West Point, and underwent additional training before reporting to Fort Banning to command a division that would become the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and 1st Cavalry Division. He was deployed to Vietnam, where he led troops in the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle of the war. Vastly outnumbered, Moore and his troops spent three days surrounded by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces. The American troops suffered heavy casualties but eventually drove the PAVN forces off, thanks to artillery action and air support.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism at Ia Drang, another Bronze Star Medal for Valor, and individual awards of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. Moore's leadership earned him the nickname "the General Patton of Vietnam."
After Vietnam, Moore assumed command of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea, followed by command of the Training Center at Fort Ord, CA. There he addressed racial unrest among service members to improve unit cohesion. In 1974, Hal served as the DCSPER, where he focused on rebuilding the NCO Corps.
He later wrote a successful memoir of his experience in Vietnam called "We Were Soldiers Once…And Young." It was adapted as the movie "We Were Soldiers," starring Mel Gibson.
Hal Moore and his co-author Joe Galloway used the profits from the book to establish the Ia Drang Scholarship Fund. The fund offers scholarship money to descendants of dead or surviving veterans of Ia Drang battles. The fund has distributed $1,823,519 to 322 recipients.
About Julia Moore
Julia Moore, known as Julie, was born on an Army base in 1929. Her father was a colonel, and she grew up as part of a military family. She met Hal Moore at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where they married and had their first of five children. A lifelong Red Cross volunteer, Julia Moore was also an active part of the social and community life of every duty station. The family moved 28 times over 32 years, but Julie always made connections in each new community. She often hosted gatherings for other Army wives and made sure families got the support they needed. She was active in Army Community Service, including Officer and NCO Wives' Clubs, Advisory Councils, Post Thrift Shops, daycare centers, and Boy and Girl Scout troops.
When her husband was deployed to Vietnam, she learned that death notifications were being delivered by cab drivers hired to drop telegrams off with military spouses. Horrified, she took steps to learn where the notifications were being sent so she could be there when families learned of their loss. She ensured they had a compassionate person with them at their most difficult moment. That experience led her to advocate for better notification procedures, going to the Pentagon to make her case. Thanks to her efforts, an officer and a chaplain are always present when a family learns of a service member's death.
In 2005, the military created the Julia C. Moore Award. The annual award is given to civilian spouses who demonstrate outstanding "contributions to the health and welfare of the Army Family."
The Moore Family Overjoyed
When the Naming Commission announced the decision to rename Fort Benning after the Moores, they explained that the couple exemplified the life experience of military families: "Their story is representative of millions of other military families throughout our history, who have often endured many travels and movements, putting the nation's needs ahead of their personal preferences. If it's a truism that families serve right alongside their service members, the Moore family lived that experience to the fullest. Their stories exceptionally exemplify the service of modern military families."
Steve Moore, the Moores' second son who retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel, told Stars and Stripes how he felt when he learned his parents would be honored this way. "I just broke down," he said. "And the reason I felt that deep emotion was I knew what [my parents] had gone through and overcome in a life of service to the nation.… And so, I said to myself through the tears, 'Finally, the Army is going to recognize what service in a military family has always been.'"
Military Families and Telemynd
Reuben Dickenson, Telemynd's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, is delighted about the honor bestowed on the Moore family. A West Point graduate and Army veteran himself, Reuben is a friend of the Moore family and supported the proposal to rename the base in their honor. He is looking forward to the official naming ceremony.
"Julia Moore understood the strains that military families face. The life of military service is rewarding, but it is also a challenge. The spouses and children of active duty service members have unique mental health needs," Reuben commented. "Julia understood that from her own experience. She lived a life of compassion and service to her fellow family members. I believe I am following her example at Telemynd, where we try to bring that spirit to the care we offer military members and their families."
To learn more about the process of renaming the future Fort Moore, you can visit "Fort Moore: Recognizing the Contributions of the Military Spouse and Family," a website about the Moore family and the proposal to rename the base.
The official ceremony is scheduled for May 11, 2023. It will be held in Doughboy Stadium on the base. More details about the ceremony and Fort Benning news and updates will be available closer to the event date.