Robert R. Moore, Sr.

Bob was best known for his heroism during World War II, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest medal for valor. He joined the Iowa National Guard, Company F, in Villisca in 1922, prior to graduating from VHS. In 1935, he and his brother took over the family drugstore in Villisca after their father died. Moore’s Drug Store was a fixture in Villisca and a popular anchor for teenagers.

In early 1942, then-Captain Moore led Company F (assembled mostly from volunteers in the Villisca and Nodaway area) as some of the first American troops to land in England for training. His unit was sent to Algiers as a part of the Allied invasion force in North Africa. In February of 1943, with his battalion trapped behind enemy lines, the command was thrust upon Bob (then a junior-ranking Major) after the commander was wounded and the second in command was captured. He refused to surrender. Instead, he personally directed their successful escape from behind enemy lines by marching over 300 men under his command in organized columns to deceive the German lines that they passed through. His leadership saved many families in the Villisca area from the trauma of having a son killed or captured during the war.

After he was wounded in a mortar attack in April of 1943, he returned to Villisca on leave. His homecoming at the Villisca Depot is the well-known subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that appeared in Life magazine. He then assumed new responsibilities for training officers in the U.S. He was among an elite group of military leaders who were asked to develop a course instructing other officers in small unit tactics. These operational procedures remain as the foundation of small unit tactics in today’s U.S. Army.

In 1946, Bob completed his active duty with the Army and returned to Villisca where he once again operated Moore’s Drug Store with his brother. He became involved in many community service organizations in Villisca and Montgomery County. He also remained in the Iowa National Guard until he retired in 1962 as a Brigadier General.

Robert R. Moore, Sr., a 2013 member of the Villisca Bluejay Hall of Fame, died in 1991.