S1c Fred Kenneth Moore
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S1c Fred Kenneth Moore
Fred Kenneth Moore was awarded the Navy Cross — the service’s second highest honor — for his “exceptional courage, presence of mind, and devotion to duty and disregard for his personal safety” during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Moore, a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona, remained at his station on 5-inch open-air anti-aircraft gun No. 1 even though he had been ordered to take cover when Japanese strafing became intense. He was killed when a bomb ignited the ship’s forward powder magazines less than 70 feet away, destroying the ship.
Mr. Moore was born Dec. 17, 1921 just south of Campbell, a town of about 600 about 50 miles northeast of Dallas. His father, also named Fred Moore, was a Baptist minister and his mother, Frances Gray Moore, was a homemaker. The son, one of three children, attended schools in Hunt County. He played football at Lone Oak High School and graduated in 1939.
He worked at a drugstore in nearby Greenville, the county seat, until he enlisted in the Navy in July 1940. He went aboard the Arizona in October.
Mr. Moore’s mother launched a destroyer escort, the U.S.S. Moore, in December 1942 in Houston at a ceremony attended by Navy Secretary Frank Knox.
U.S. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, a Texan, eulogized Mr. Moore and spoke to his mother: “We watch today while a ship goes down to the sea in freedom’s cause. Meeting fire with fire, blast with blast, she is dedicated to the protection of men who go to face a like ordeal on foreign soil.
“It is not easy to tell you, courageous American mother, what is in our hearts. The price your son paid is reckoned in a brighter currency than words. So, too, the silent agony that tears do not wash away. That is why we are trying to speak to you in action rather than in words — to you and to the other mothers who go hand in hand with you through the days ahead. We are trying to say it in the launching of warships rather than in speech.”
Mr. Moore’s body was recovered and he is buried at Forest Park Cemetery in Greenville, where his parents are also buried.
Sources: The Kilgore (Texas) News; the Greenville (Texas) Herald Banner; application for military headstone or marker; Navy muster roll; Naval History and Heritage Command. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.
Navy Cross Citation
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Seaman First Class Fred Kenneth Moore, United States Navy, for exceptional courage, presence of mind, and devotion to duty and disregard for his personal safety while serving on board the Battleship U.S.S. ARIZONA (BB-39), during the Japanese attack on the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941. Despite orders from his gun captain to take cover, Seaman First Class Fred Kenneth Moore remained at his undermanned station with two other members of his anti-aircraft gun crew under heavy enemy strafing. He assisted in keeping the gun in operation until he was killed at his station by an explosion. The conduct of Seaman First Class Moore throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.