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Julia Compton Moore

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Julia Compton Moore February 10, 1929 - April 18, 2004 AUBURN, AL - Mrs. Julia Compton Moore, 75, whose extraordinary care for the wives and families of fallen soldiers was portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers," died in the arms of her family in Auburn, Alabama on Sunday, April 18th. The cause of death was cancer. Born at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on February 10th 1929, Julia ("Julie") Compton Moore was the only child of Army Colonel Louis J. Compton and Elizabeth Boon Compton. Since the age of 12, Mrs. Moore has sent the men she loved to war. Her father fought in Europe in World War II, her husband was wounded in Korea and Vietnam, and one of her sons fought with the 82nd Airborne Division in Panama and the Gulf War. Her early and life-long experience with separation and the risk of loss in war provided her a unique empathy with, and understanding of, the lives of families in war. Mrs. Moore was married under crossed sabers in 1949 to Hal Moore, who later commanded the first battalion, 7th Cavalry in the battle of the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965. The Ia Drang was the first major engagement between the forces of the United States and the forces of the People's Army of Vietnam. Over 1,000 Vietnamese were killed, at the price of 121 American lives. The impact of this battle at home in Columbus Georgia, where Julie lived with her five young children, was depicted in the 2002 Paramount release, "We Were Soldiers," and brought to millions of Americans the carnage of combat and its terrible toll on families. Notices of combat deaths in Columbus were delivered to wives and families typically isolated in small apartments, trailer parks, and one-room walk-ups. Mrs. Moore challenged and stopped the Army's impersonal practice of delivering these notices by taxi. Assuming the responsibility required by her position as the commander's wife, she personally comforted each bereaved family and attended every funeral of every soldier lost in combat under her husband's command. Pressed by this example, the Army instituted the practice of delivering compassionate notices through uniformed personnel, and built support networks for the families of slain soldiers. These practices have become standard throughout the military. In 2002, Mrs. Moore wrote: I was a stay-at-home Mom, volunteering with the Red Cross and Army Community Service. My main love and focus has always been the Army family and especially our Child Care Centers. Not very exciting when I write it down but I have loved every minute (well maybe not every minute, like when the dog throws up on your carpet just as the doorbell rings with the General arriving for dinner, or a child falls out of the tree and breaks his arm minutes before you are due at a reception in your honor, or the movers lose all the trousers to your husbands uniforms etc. etc.) and wouldn't trade with the wife of any other profession. Mrs. Moore was a graduate of Chevy Chase Junior College, Chevy Chase, Maryland and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a member of the Pi Phi Sorority, prior to her marriage. Wherever her husband was stationed, Mrs. Moore became an integral part of the community, serving as a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader, Cub Scout Den Mother and Red Cross volunteer in the Army hospitals. She supported the day care centers and worked with the wives clubs to take better care of the enlisted soldier and his family. Mrs. Moore was especially active in setting up the Army Community Service organizations that are now a permanent fixture on all army posts and which assist each soldier as they process into their new duty stations. Mrs. Moore is survived by her husband of 55 years, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Harold G. Moore, and their five children: Greg Moore of Dallas, Texas; Lt. Col. (Ret.) Steve Moore of Richmond, Virginia; Julie Moore Thompson of Granbury, Texas; Cecile Moore Rainey of Denver, Colorado; and Lt. Col. David Moore of Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. She has twelve grandchildren. Mrs. Moore maintained homes in Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado and Auburn, Alabama. Mrs. Moore will be buried at the Post Cemetery in Ft. Benning, Georgia, alongside the men of the 7th Cavalry whose funerals she attended in 1965 and 1966, and whose families she sustained through their sudden and terrible loss. Funeral Services will be held at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Auburn, Alabama at 9:30 a.m. (CST) on Thursday, April 22nd. Visitation will be at the Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika, Alabama from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 21st. In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to the Ia Drang Scholarship Fund, 302 N. Main Street, Copperas Cove, Texas 76522.
Published in Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on Apr. 21, 2004
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