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Sports Heroes Who Served: NASCAR Legend Served in Europe During WWII

July 28, 2020 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Sports Heroes Who Served is a series that highlights the accomplishments of athletes who served in the U.S. military.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing — NASCAR — is well known to stock car racing fans and has produced many legends.

A man wearing a cap and headphones stares into the distance.
Bud Moore
Bud Moore, a NASCAR owner, is seen at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., in 1985.
Photo By: Courtesy of Ted Van Pelt
VIRIN: 850615-O-ZZ999-001

One of the NASCAR greats is Bud Moore, World War II veteran and owner-operator of Bud Moore Engineering from the 1960s until it shut down in 1999. Moore won the NASCAR title in 1957 as crew chief for racer Buck Baker, and as a car owner he won titles in 1962 and 1963 with driver Joe Weatherly. His team won three NASCAR Grand National Series championships and 63 races. 

His career was legendary. Moore was inducted into the Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 2002; the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009; the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011; and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2013.

A small group of people watch as a man in a cowboy hat leans down to talk to the driver of a race car.
Bud Moore Engineering
A 1983 photo shows the Bud Moore Engineering No. 15 car, which was driven by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.
Photo By: Courtesy of Bud Moore
VIRIN: 830615-O-ZZ999-001

Military Service

After turning 18 during World War II, Moore was drafted into the Army on June 2, 1943. His basic combat training was at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. He then reported to Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he became a machine gunner assigned to 1st Platoon, D Company, 1st Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division.

Moore and others from his division were reattached to the 4th Infantry Division, which landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. The then-19-year-old almost drowned before hitting the beach when he stepped into a hole in the seabed with his heavy combat gear weighing him down.

In a historic photo, a group of soldiers in combat gear wades through the hip-deep water as they head to a shoreline.
Utah Beach
Soldiers wade ashore on Utah Beach in Normandy, France, on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Photo By: Army
VIRIN: 440606-O-ZZ999-001C

After clearing the beach of Germans, Moore joined Army Maj. Gen. George S. Patton at Periers, France. 

In December 1944, Moore participated in the Siege of Bastogne, Belgium, providing support for the besieged 101st Airborne Division.

Later, Moore's unit crossed the Siegfried Line, a series of German fortifications erected before World War II along Germany's western frontier. They went as far as the Rhine River in Germany, but they withdrew to Verdun, France, because they overextended their supply lines and the Germans counterattacked in what is now known as the Battle of the Bulge.

In a historic photo, soldiers on the ground watch as paratroopers descend from the planes flying above them.
Siege of Bastogne
On Dec. 26, 1944, soldiers and paratroopers participate in the Siege of Bastogne in Belgium.
Photo By: Army
VIRIN: 441226-O-ZZ999-001C

During the battle, Moore captured a number of German soldiers and was later awarded a Bronze Star for his role in the operation.

His unit continued through Germany and into Czechoslovakia, where Moore was promoted to sergeant and was awarded a second Bronze Star. Besides the medals for valor, he also received five Purple Heart Medals for the wounds he suffered.

Moore was honorably discharged from the Army on Nov. 15, 1945.

He died in 2017 in his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, at the age of 92.

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Sports Heroes Graphic
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Photo By: DOD
VIRIN: 200706-D-ZZ999-903