Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Joshua Moore remembered

Pfc. Joshua Moore had seen a lot of death in Iraq -- from suicide bombings aimed at civilians to roadside explosions that killed his Army friends.

Having witnessed the precariousness of life, the 20-year-old Moore, known as a happy-go-lucky kid in his southern Kentucky hometown, planned his own funeral just in case.

Yesterday, his family was preparing to carry out those last wishes.

Moore was killed this week in the Baghdad area when an explosive device hit the Humvee in which he was riding with several other soldiers, according to his father, Jeff Moore. His death came in one of the deadliest months of the Iraq war for U.S. troops, with at least 126 casualties.

The Pentagon had not yet confirmed his death.

In his native Logan County, Moore was remembered for his outgoing, fun-loving nature, his faith and his easy way with schoolchildren who had corresponded with him.

"He could light up your world. He was just special," said Jane Wells, Moore's seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, who kept in contact with him through the years.

Moore grew up in rural Logan County, a few miles from Russellville and Lewisburg. He returned home on leave a few weeks ago, taking time to visit Lewisburg School to meet students who were his pen pals.

"They felt sort of like he was their hero," said Barrett Nelson, the school's principal.

Moore's stint in Iraq added a serious side to his personality, Wells said. "He said, 'I've seen more death than I ever thought I would see in my life,' " Wells recalled him saying.

Moore told his former teacher he had taken out extra life insurance to help care for his sister's children. He also prepared a DVD with funeral instructions if the worst happened.

He picked out the music and asked that another Logan County soldier who enlisted when he did be among the soldiers firing the rifle salute at his graveside, Jeff Moore said.

The young soldier talked openly about the dangers in Iraq, the roadside bombs and snipers. "He talked that it could happen," his father said.

A week before returning home on leave, Moore was in another military vehicle that struck an explosive device, his father said. He had suffered ear problems from that blast.

During his visit home, he was asked by friends about American involvement in Iraq and whether he wished he'd chosen another vocation, his father said. Joshua Moore always replied he had no regrets about joining the Army and believed in the U.S. mission.

"He honestly felt like they were doing good," his father said.

During his short time at home, Joshua Moore also bought a 2005 GMC pickup truck and spent lots of time customizing it.

"That was his pride and joy," said his father, who was building a garage for the truck.

His son enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from Logan County High School in 2005. He worked briefly at a Bowling Green factory before joining the military. His long-term goal was to become a Kentucky State Police trooper, his father said.

Joshua Moore was stationed in Germany until deploying to Iraq about a year ago.

Wells said Moore's tour of duty in Iraq originally was supposed to be over when he returned home on leave recently. But his stint was extended a few more months, resulting in his return to Iraq, she said.

His family is planning to hold his funeral in the Lewisburg School gym.

From the Courier Journal

Related Link:
Joshua M. Moore dies 'of wounds suffered when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device'