PHOTOS COURTESY NATIONAL ARCHIVES/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
For his actions in Khe Sanh,
Whit Moore was posthumously
awarded the Bronze Star with
Combat V to denote heroism
— the fourth highest military
decoration for valor. Right,
from top: A corpsman patches
up a Marine wounded slightly
during a mortar attack. The
mortar round hit very close
to his hole but he was only
grazed by a small piece of
shrapnel. . Corpsman of “H” Co.
aids wounded Leatherneck of
the Second Battalion, Fourth
Marines on Operation Saline II
in the Quan Tri Province.
Supported by a close circle of friends and
family, and with inspiration from his men-tors
at Wilmington’s St. Andrews-Covenant
Presbyterian Church, Whit cruised through
high school at Carolina Military Academy
and entered Montreat College in North
Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
How he came to be on a battlefield in
Vietnam might best be answered by his love
of country. Above all, he was a patriot. His
father, a respected Wilmington banker and
civic leader, served as a Navy officer in World
War Two, and Whit’s tenure at military
school only strengthened his affinity for duty.
Whatever the reason, when the Vietnam War
was at its height in 1968, he left college to
serve his country and volunteered for the rig-orous
Navy Hospital Corpsman School.
Navy corpsmen, also known as combat
medics, are trained as emergency medical
technicians and take their skills to combat
zones. Often risking their own lives, they are
the first responders to injured Marines in bat-tle.
More than just caregivers, battlefield med-ics
act as one-person triage units performing
many of the same trauma tasks as emergency
room doctors only under extraordinarily peril-ous
conditions. After graduation from corps-man
school, Moore completed a tour of duty
in Spain before receiving orders to join the
3rd Marine Division in Vietnam.
On January 11, 1968, he joined the 3rd
Marines at the Khe Sanh Combat Base in
Quang Tri Province — one of the deadliest
places in the country and during the worst
of times for American forces — the Tet
Offensive. The offensive was a coordinated
series of North Vietnamese attacks on South
Vietnamese cities and outposts that took place
from January 30, 1968, to March 28, 1968.
Khe Sanh was a major target. The main U.S.
forces defending Khe Sanh were two regi-ments
of U.S. Marines pitted against two
divisions of the North Vietnamese Army.
Vietnam 21 Nov 1966, 3rd MarDiv 5-1722-66. Photog: LCpl. E. L. Cole Defense Dept. Photo (Marine Corps) Vietnam 12 March, 1968, 3rd MarDiv SLF-A-46-367-68. Photog: Cpl. L.P. Brown. Defense Dept. Photo (Marine Corps) Vietnam January 1968 3rd MAF SLF-004-7-68. Photog: Cpl. Wolfe. Defense Dept. Photo (Marine Corps)
“When 2nd Squad of b-l became
pinned down, HN Moore fear-lessly
moved through the heavy
barrage to provide aid to the
A wounded Marine of the 2/5 is being taken off a helicopter and placed in an ambulance
for evacuation to an aid station. This man was injured by a mine while on Operation
Praria near the DMZ, R.V.N.