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Mount Ayr Record News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
February, 1943

"Fight All the Harder As Dick Would Have Done"

Mr. and Mrs. Art MOORE are in receipt of a letter, under date of March 1, from Lt. Comdr. Chas. E. McCombs, USN, formerly of the U. S. S. Monssen, which related more information concerning the death of their son, Richard Ewing MOORE, fireman, second class, U. S. naval reserves, who died November 13 [1942] of wound following action in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country.

This letter reads, in part, as follows:

"My Dear Mrs. MOORE:

"Your letter of February 4th has been chasing me about for sometime and has just been received. I am sorry to have appeared negligent in answering you. However, my days have not been idle. I have answered over 50 letters and have at least 25 more to write. I find that fighting naval battles are easier than answering these letters.

"Please accept my deepest sympathy in our mutual loss of your son. Dick was a fine young man and a good and reliable man. We did our best to get off all the living survivors and many men risked their lives repeatedly to help their shipmates. Unfortunately, seven of our boys died after we got them off of the ship and looked after them in the water throughout the night, or the doctors and hospital corpsmen who took care of them after we were pulled out of the water the next morning. We were in the water six hours.

"I am sorry that I have no record and cannot remember now what Dick's wounds consisted of, but only a few engineers got off.

"He was buried with military honors in grave two, row 61 of the First Marine Division Cemetery on Guadalcanal [near Henderson Field]. I'm sorry I can't give you the name and address of one or more of the boys who might be able to give you more particulars.

"We had a happy ship and I'm sure Dick was happy in his work. He had many friends among both officers and men. Our last mail was received on November 7 and contained letters posted up to about October 15th. Some earlier letters were still missing, however.

"Ours was a fighting ship with a fine reputation. We were in lots of fights and always made ourselves felt. I am sorry that I can't give particulars, but I can say that we were in the Coral Sea, Midway, Tulagi on August 7th, Santa Cruz, in and out of the Solomons frequently. We went in fighting and we went down fighting, but not before we had dealt many fatal blows to that despicable enemy. Be assured that we gave more than we took.

"I know how you must feel, because I've seen this happen before. Carry on and fight all the harder; that is the way Dick would have done. Let me know if I can help in any way, and I know God will comfort you.

"Sincerely, Chas. E. McCombs, Lt. Comdr. USN, U.S.S. Monssen."

NOTE: Fireman 2/C Richard "Ewing" MOORE was born December 18, 1918, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur R. "Art" MOORE of R.R. 2, Mount Ayr. He was wounded in action and died as a result of those wounds on November 13, 1942. There is a headstone for FM2/C MOORE at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Iowa.

USS Monssen (DD-436) served as the anti-submarine screen for USS Hornet (CV-8) which headed to Japan with the Doolittle Raider's B-25s. She was engaged during the Solomon Islands campaign. During the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, USS Monssen was hit by 39-some shells and caught on fire. She sank to the bottom of Ironbottom Sound. During a 1992 expedition, oceanographer Robert Ballard found her, still in an upright position and her gun turrets still trained in battle positions.

During post-war years, every gravesite at the Marine Cemetery was exhumed. The bodies were either re-interred at Manila American Cemetery (Punchbowl) or returned to the United States for reburial. Today the cemetery is abandoned.

Submission by Theola Weeda

Transcription & notes by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2013



Fireman 2/C Richard Ewing MOORE, born December 18, 1918, of R.R. 2, Mount Ayr, Iowa, and son of Mr. Arthur R. MOORE, served during World War II with the U.S. Navy. Fireman 2C MOORE was K.I.A. November 13, 1942.


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