Larry Moore was in his early twenties when he led a group of teenage paratroopers into combat on Hill 875 in Vietnam.
“That’s the thing that reminds me of Vietnam is how hard we fought. And we were out numbered 7 to 1,” recalled the now 78-year old decorated U.S. Army veteran sitting in his home office in Knoxville surrounded by flags, photos, and other memorabilia from his military of service.
“If you crawl or you kneel or you stand, you’re going to get killed. They had snipers all over everywhere,” said Mr. Moore, who saw a dozen paratroopers killed and two others listed as “missing in action” during the almost five-day battle in November of 1967. The bloody fight, and what he witnessed during that week at war, deepened the bond he feels with other veterans.
When asked what comes to mind when he thinks of Vietnam, he said, “Losing my men, especially the one that died in my arms.”
In addition to our on-camera interview, Mr. Moore took time to answer the following 10 questions about the impact of his military service on the rest of his life.
- What one person influenced you most in life?
My mother, Goldie I (Kendall) Moore supported me greatly. She was very supportive of the military services. Her support started at a young age for me when she would ask me to go to town and buy some poppies to wear for one week during poppy week. She took me many times when she heard of military convoys were going to pass through my small town where we lived and they were most always vehicle convoys from the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Dad was always at work like I was when I was a father making a living. Mother had three brothers in WWII and her dad was a member of the U.S. Cavalry Corps.
- Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?
Absolutely! A person does more so once he or she fights an enemy of our great country. For me, I have so much pride for my Country that I’m very emotional and get tears in my eyes when people downgrade and say bad things against our great Nation, or burn our great flag, or when they don’t honor the Pledge of Allegiance, or respect our country’s national anthem. Those anti-defective people will later in life have major hurt in their hearts for what they are doing now, being anti-government, etcetera. I love my great country and will fight an enemy to my death to defend the Red, White and Blue!
- How can people thank you for your service?
By keep doing what they are doing! The “Thank You For Your Service” tripled from strangers since the 9/11 incident to our country and being backed by television networks like WBIR and anchor members like John Becker and the others who do a great job in delivering the news to us citizens. I likewise thank a veteran for their service when they can be identified. TO ALL VETERANS: Please wear your military ball cap so others will know you served, and that gives them the opportunity to see you and thank you, and it allows us to do the same- it is not just one way!
- How do you honor your fellow service men and women?
Yes I do! My family (wife, daughter and son) pays forward when we identify a military family or veterans driving through a fast order restaurant like McDonalds or a restaurant we will pick-up the cost of their meal. I honor them by wearing my uniform on special days like Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the 4th of July. I and the family participate placing “Wreaths across America" during the Christmas season. Further, my wife and I have donated a monthly allowance for several years to the “Wounded Warrior Project” to help our fighters and their families. I verbally thank them and shake their hand and a friend and I take one World War II Soldier who is over 98 years old out for a dinner meal at his choosing. His name is PFC Clinton Riddle who fought at Normandy during the war whom lives southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee
- How do you think this generation of military men and women are different or similar to your generation?
They are more educated in general than my generation. They are just as patriotic, brave and willing to fight an enemy who attacks our great Country – I know, two of our grandsons served. My son could not because he lost two kidneys and the military would not take him into the service. One grandson and family has ten years in the U.S. Coast Guard and the other resides in Indiana with his family and he was assigned four and a half years with the 101st Airborne Division. He was slightly wounded just prior to completing his second deployment.
- What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?
Very much! Serving just over 20 years, it helped me to be the best you can be in every endeavor that I face in the military and or as a civilian (veteran) during life, to be good to others including your own family and always be ready to help others in need, but still be cautious.
- Does your family have a history of military service?
Yes, all the way back to and include the Revolutionary War (1st Lt. William Moore, 3rd Virginia); Jesse A. Moore, the Black hawk War (Private); Civil War Private James M. Moore, 18th Illinois; My brother Richard Moore (deceased) and 9/11 -- our grandsons.
- Would you encourage younger generations in your family to join the service?
Yes, it is a great opportunity to be part of something (a team) larger than yourself and family, it allows for the establishment of friends forever and being on your own and away from your parents after graduation from school gives you the opportunity to mature. It also develops your life-long, day-to-day knowledge of being accountable for your actions and being self-responsible for your actions as a citizen, to other citizens.
- How has your opinion of war changed?
It has all that much. However, should we get in another war lets go all out and get it over with and bring our troops home. Continue to use more technology on the enemy and then send in the paratroopers, ground troops and armor / artillery, etc. Train incoming military personnel in all branches on becoming experts in computer and what they can do.
- How did your military experience shape your religious faith?
I have always had a great religious faith to support my men on the battlefield, my family and all through the Vietnam war I carried a small bible in my left breast pocket of my jungle fatigues. I always removed the bible and conducted platoon level prayer before and after battle.
My faith was strengthened during the third day of battle on Hill 875 when to my surprise I had an interface with an angel – my battlefield angel! It asked me if “I was ready to go, if so, for me not to worry about my family, that they will be ok.” I told the angel that I was not ready and as big as the battle was things got quite for a few minutes.
I learned from this short interface with this angel that my 27 years on earth only seemed like a year long at best. I have never forgotten this great encounter and thank about the angel often.
- Major Larry Moore