Fort Benning, a U.S. Army base named after a Confederate commander who stood at the forefront in advocating for Georgia’s secession from the Union, was renamed after a famed Vietnam war hero on Thursday morning.
The base’s new name, Fort Moore, honors Army Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” Moore, a 1945 graduate of West Point who wrote a memoir of his experience at the Battle of Ia Drang Valley, co-written with journalist Joseph L. Galloway, that was later adapted into a major motion picture, according to the Army. At the request of the Moore family, the redesignation also commemorates Moore’s wife Julia, noted for her leadership of Army families and contributions toward changing the way the service notifies loved ones after the death of a soldier.
“Fort Moore recognizes Hal Moore’s life as a decorated and highly regarded commander of the Vietnam War and his wife, Julie Moore, who was equally distinguished as a leader of Army family programs who changed how the military cares for the widows of fallen Soldiers,” the Army said on a page about the couple.
Moore earned a Distinguished Service Cross while commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division at the three-day long battle of Ia Drang Valley in 1965, which killed 234 Americans and wounded 250 more, according to the Army.
After the battle, Julie Moore followed taxi drivers to ensure that telegrams alerting families of soldiers who were lost made it to their recipients and took steps to comfort families. Her work caused the Army to change its policy, and today the service employs uniformed personnel to deliver the notices.
Hal Moore’s book, “We Were Soldiers Once… and Young,” remains on the Army’s reading list to this day and was adapted into a 2002 film starring Mel Gibson.
He died in 2017 at the age of 94 and was buried alongside Julia Moore and his troops from Vietnam at Fort Benning, according to the family.
Formerly Fort Benning, the installation houses the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence and the U.S. Army Ranger School.
Gen. Henry Benning served as associate justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, arguing that states’ highest courts should hold the same level of constitutional authority as the federal Supreme Court, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. He presided over the state’s secession commission for a brief period and later rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Civil War.
On Monday, the Army changed the name of Fort Hood in Texas to Fort Cavazos. In total, nine Army bases will be renamed in 2023, based on recommendations from the Department of Defense’s Naming Commission, which proposed changes to remove titles and insignia referencing the Confederacy.
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