Family donates WWI items to museum
February 9, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Moore family has a rich history of service. Family members have served in the Civil War, the Spanish- American War, World War I and World War II. Now, some of the military-related items that have been passed on through generations have found a new permanent home at the Basic Combat Training Museum.
The family presented photos, uniforms, a campaign ribbon, helmets and other items from World War I that belonged to Ralph Moore Sr. to the museum Tuesday.
"We decided between us this is the best place (for the items), because otherwise (they're) going to be scattered anywhere, we just have no idea where," said Ralph Moore Jr., the son of the World War I veteran.
Ralph Moore Sr., a Sumter native who died in 1974, trained on what was then Camp Jackson in 1917, the year the installation was established. He was assigned to Company E, 105th Regiment of Engineers, 30th Division and later fought in France.
Henry Howe, the museum curator, said the items are a valuable addition to the collection administered by the Army Center for Military History.
"Items from World War I are rapidly disappearing. It's nice to be able to capture that history before we lose it," Howe said. "To be able to tie a name to a uniform gives it a whole lot more precedence than just a uniform off a shelf. It ties the person to the item which gives us personality, which gives us the individual story, and it's a story we want to know."
Col. Craig Currey, Fort Jackson's deputy commanding officer, said he hopes young Soldiers who visit the museum on Family Day will learn from that personal history.
"Ideally, they're showing their parents -- and learning themselves -- more about the Army. They're learning more about Army traditions, Army heritage," Currey said. "If they see better exhibits they understand these are real people, these are (their) relatives from the past who served and fought for the nation. It's a great thing."
Maj. Gen. James Milano, Fort Jackson's commanding general, said the personal stories that are associated with the items make them especially meaningful.
"To me the most valuable things are artifacts that mean something to people, (like the ones) you are very generously providing to us," Milano told the Moore family. "This is going to be fantastic. We are certainly going to appropriately display them."
However, museum visitors who are eager to see the new exhibit on display will have to be patient.
"We need to take a good assessment and determine the vulnerability, or the problems the items may have for any type of exhibit," Howe said.
He estimated the evaluation process to take up to six months.