Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reader Comment:


An email from Byter Leo:


Do we know what happened to the Colonel and to the other photographer Frank Filan?

Robert Moore:

Moore became a bailiff at the Montgomery County Courthouse, a job he held into his 80s.  He became a well-loved character anbd was full of stories he told.

His son, also Robert, enlisted in 1966 and served in Vietnam, where he was seriously injured by a mine.  He nonetheless survived.

Wife Dorothy had a stroke and was also not expected to live but she came out of her coma, albeit with the mind of a 2 year old. Her husband drove a great distance top see her regularly.  About a year after the stroke he walked into the room and she said “Hi, Bob, how are you?”  Her memory had amazingly come back.  Doctors were unable to explain it.

In later years Dorothy battled cancer and their daughter, Nancy, battled MS.  Dorothy died in 1981 aged 71.  Nancy died in 1984 from injuries susatained in a motor vehicle accident when her car slid on ice into the path of a truck.

Robert Moore was a secret alcoholic, believed to stem from mental turmoil caused by the axe murders of his  uncle, aunt, four cousins and two visiting children in 1912 when Robert was 7.  The axe murders, still an unsolved crime, tormented the Moore family.  It split the town into two camps with accusations and innuendo by each against the other.  That lasted for years and young Robert, having lost his playmates, also had to cope with the murders, the ongoing discussion and the continued fear.

Nancy shared his drinking. 

Eventually diabetes forced him to curtail his drinking and he lived to see the birth of his great-grandson.

In 1990 he took a position of honour in the community sendoff as the local area’s Red Oak's Guard unit, the 1168th Transportation Company, headed off to fight in the Persian Gulf in December 1990.

Not long afterwards he suffered a stroke and died in 1991.

An honour guard from Offutt Air Force Base provided a 21-gun salute at the cemetery, where Moore was buried between his wife and parents, 80 yards uphill from Nancy's grave and just in front of the long headstone for the six Moores who were slain with the infamous axe.

Robert Moore and Earle “Buddy” Bunker, who took the Pulitzer award winning photograph, became firm friends.

Robert Moore spent four decades in the Army and National Guard, retiring in 1963 as a brigadier general. He spent five years on active duty during World War II, first leading troops in battle in North Africa and then starting a combat command course for officers at Fort Benning, Georgia.  In civilian life he was still frequently referred to as “General Moore”.

Frank Filan:

Newspaper report 23 July, 1952:

Frank Filan, whose dramatic picture of Japanese bodies on blasted Tarawa won him a Pulitzer prize in 1944, died last night of a brain tumor. The veteran of 22 years with the Associated Press was one of the nation's top news photographers. Filan had scores of brushes with death. He made 16 amphibious landings during three years in the Pacific as a war cameraman. On Tarawa he got his prize winning shot under enemy fire with a borrowed camera. His landing craft was sunk approaching shore. Filan wasn’t worrying about his equipment going down with it, he was carrying a drowning Marine to shore.  In the ten days hell he rescued many more wounded Marines under fire.  It earned a commendation from Admiral Chester Nimitz for his inspired devotion.  It’s sad that Filan died at 47.

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