Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Army training accident ends life of promise

Hamilton athlete, Sgt. Moore also loved learning

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Army Sgt. Benjamin Franklin Moore II moved through a life of achievement - cut tragically short last week by an accidental gunshot - with the dignity of a self-made man.

The former Hamilton High School sports star and Miami University wrestler showed uncommon maturity at a young age and was much more than a successful athlete, family, friends and school officials say. The 25-year-old soldier was killed in Texas on Friday in an Army training accident.

Moore was remembered Monday as loyal to his Hamilton family, an avid reader of classic books, and an athletic and academic achiever always looking for more challenges. He had joined the Army in hopes of financing his continued education later.

"He was a true athlete, and athletics were very important to him - but not as important as education," said Erin Moore, one of his two sisters. "He turned down several athletic scholarship offers so he could stay closer to home and attend Miami. He wanted to go to law school."

Kathy Teague, a longtime family friend, said his youth was marked by prideful determination and maturity.

"He was such a little man as a young boy. The best word to describe him was dignity. ... He always carried himself with dignity," said Teague, who is assisting the Moore family. They departed Monday for Fort Hood, Texas, where Moore, a new father, was fatally wounded in the back when an M-16 rifle carried by another soldier fired in what appears to be an accidental shooting.

A military memorial service will be held in Fort Hood later this week then Moore's body will be returned to Hamilton for a funeral with full military honors. Funeral arrangements are pending.

A 1996 Hamilton graduate, Moore was a three-sport star during his senior year, excelling in football, wrestling and track. One of his career highlights was scoring the winning touchdown as Hamilton upset Princeton on its home field on Oct. 27, 1995, while he piled up 176 rushing yards. Moore's senior leadership helped the Big Blue finish a surprising second in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC).

In wrestling, he was a two-time GMC champion and co-Most Valuable Player his senior year. He wrestled in the state tournament.

"He was focused not on the moment, but what was coming down the road. He was a tough kid who was very coachable and dependable," said John Ross, Hamilton's athletic director. "There was no doubt he was going to make something of himself."

In 1999, after his sophomore year at Miami, he joined the Army as a way to pay for college.

He married Shauna Moore a little more than a year ago, and she gave birth to their daughter, Hannah, 2 months ago.

E-mail mclark@enquirer.com

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