Alumni Spotlight: Captain George “Mack” Moore
On March 8, 1970 Captain George “Mack” Moore (BPA 66) was returning from a night mission over North Vietnam when his plane struck a runway obstacle and burst into flames. Moore spent more than three years in various military hospitals, 4th and 5thdegree burns covering 70 percent of his body. He left the Air Force as a triple amputee and began heroically re-building his life.
Born in Oxford on Feb. 5, 1944 George “Mack” Moore spent his early life hunting, fishing, attending church and school and playing high school sports. A former classmate and friend of Johnny and Frank Kinard, sons of former Ole Miss football coach Billy Kinard, Moore experienced Ole Miss football up close.
After graduating high school in 1962, he attended The University of Mississippi, pledging Kappa Sigma fraternity. Upon graduation, Moore was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and became a fighter pilot. Though he served two tours of duty in Vietnam he was no stranger to the skies. One of his first words as a child was “airplane”, and he had a private pilot’s license prior to entering the military.
Following his accident, Moore went back to school to increase his chances of meaningful employment and remarried in 1974. “I knew I had to be better than any able-bodied person,” says Moore.
He graduated from Arizona State University in 1976 and was hired by the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Moore joined the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in 1981 and worked his way through the ranks to his current position as the medical center director at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, La.
“I’ve always been willing to do any kind of work,” says Moore of his career. “I get to work before eight and leave after six. I’ve done it that way for 25 years.”
While working for the VA, Moore earned a Masters in Healthcare from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1986.
Moore’s years as a patient in military hospitals left him with an acute sense of patient and veteran satisfaction. His motto, “Take one day at a time,” is an inspiration to fellow veterans and co-workers.
Moore has been recognized numerous times for a life of sacrifice, courage and triumphs through personal strength and dedication. In 1986, the VA recognized Moore as its Outstanding Disabled Employee. The following year he was recognized by President Reagan as the Outstanding Federal Handicapped Employee of the Year.
Some of his most recent honors include: Careers magazine Employee of the Year Award in 2004, the Outstanding Disabled American Veteran award from The Lois Pope Lessons in Furthering Education Foundation in 2004, and the Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year in 2003.
“The award I received from President Reagan and being named Veteran of the Year are probably the ones I’m most proud of,” says Moore.
Since his accident Moore has accomplished feats many never thought possible, such as renewing his private pilot’s license. In his spare time he enjoys hunting at his farm in Holly Springs. Moore won the Streamline Handicapped Hunter of the Year in 2005, and also was named Buckmaster’s Handicapped Hunter of the Year.
Moore’s life has been an amazing victory over what many would consider insurmountable odds.
“I think what determines how you react to unexpected demands is what you have overcome up to that point in life,” says Moore. “I was just a guy who liked to fly airplanes, but you never know what you can do until your given an opportunity.”
Captain George Moore and his wife Luann currently reside in Shreveport, La. They have one son, Dalen Thomas.