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  • Writer's picturePhil Wilhelm

Veterans Day Tribute: WWII Army Surgeon, Dr. Moore

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

On November 11, 2020, the city of Asheville, N.C. had to rework the way they went about holding their Veterans Day celebration due to the pandemic. In City Hall via live streaming technology, city officials and members of the Buncombe County Veterans Council honored the men and women who fought and died for our country and the citizens of this nation.

Allan Perkal, the master of ceremonies and former U.S. Air Force introduced the keynote speaker, PJ Moore, MD, a 100-year-old World War II Army surgeon, and a member of the Fletcher Seventh-day Adventist Church. Moore is retired from Mountain Sanitarium and Hospital (later named Fletcher Hospital, then Advent Health: Hendersonville) on the Campus of Fletcher Academy. Asheville, NC, Mayor Esther E. Manheimer honored Dr. Moore with a proclamation naming November 11, 2020 as “PJ Moore, MD Day” in the City of Asheville.

Dr. Moore was drafted in 1942, his junior year of medical school at Loma Linda University, and tasked to the medical teams caring for soldiers on the front lines many from the Battle of the Bulge. Performing innumerable amputations, delivering over 1,000 babies and performing over 30,000 other surgeries, when he retired in 2016 at the age of 96 he was the oldest practicing physician in North Carolina.

In his address, Dr. Moore took the audience on a journey back 78 years ago—back to his memories of entering the war. But not before he took a moment to thank his Lord and Savior for the ability to serve his country and his community for so many years. His entire junior class of 80 students from Loma Linda University School of Medicine was drafted into the military. They had to keep up with their education while still participating in military training exercises.

After finishing his senior year which was cut short, Moore ended up serving a straight surgical internship on inactive duty (rather than the usual full rotation that gives a resident experience in different areas so they can then determine their specialty.) Moore felt that this was his calling by God to become a surgeon.

After his internship ended, Moore spent some time at the Lawson General Hospital outside of Chicago, IL, which was one of three amputee centers in the United States. The wounded he cared for in his ward were from the front lines in the Battle of the Bulge, where many others had lost their lives. These patients required re-amputations from field amputations or from infected injuries which were worsening. Part of his own method of recovery for his patients was to teach them to play golf.

Returning to North Carolina and separating from the service, Dr. Moore transitioned into civilian medical service for the next 70 years of his life. Dr. Moore also acted as a hospital director, medical director, chief of staff and held many other positions. During this time he and his wife, Dee Moore, raised five childtime, all of whom attended Fletcher Academy. Four of his children are currently serving in the medical field in various capacities, and one is a university mathematics professor who taught at Southern Adventist University during the 1990s and early 2000s. After 57 years of marriage, in 2005, Dee passed away from complications from Alzheimers Disease. In 2008, Moore remarried. He and his wife, Elaine, reside in the Hendersonville, N.C. area.

— by Phil Wilhelm, Fletcher Academy Principal, and Courtney Herod, Associate Director of Communication for the Carolina Conference

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