Edward Moore Jr. (1945–)

Edward Moore Jr. is a retired vice admiral who served in the U.S. Navy. At the time of his retirement, he was the highest-ranking African American in the navy. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999.

Edward Moore Jr. was born on February 18, 1945, in New York City. He is the eldest child of Edward Moore Sr. and Freddie Mardell Hayes Moore, with two brothers and a sister. The family eventually moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where Moore graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1963.

On April 2, two months before his high school graduation, Moore enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve. The day after his high school graduation, he departed Little Rock for recruit training in San Diego, California. While in training, Moore was accepted into the Reserve Officer Candidate program. As part of this program, he began college at Southern Illinois University after completing his training in August 1963. A full-time student, Moore was required to maintain satisfactory reserve status while in school, including regular drills and annual active duty periods; during these periods, Moore served on the USS Hyman and USS Woodson. He graduated with a degree in psychology and received his commission as an ensign in 1968.

Moore was immediately assigned to a ship, the fleet oiler USS Severn, in June 1968. On the ship, Moore attended Legal School, Registered Publications School, and a navigation refresher course. He spent a total of eighteen months on the Severn with time spent as the administrative officer, gunnery officer, communications officer, classified material officer, and navigator. In June 1969, Moore was promoted to lieutenant, junior grade. In December 1969, Moore was assigned to the pre-commissioning unit for the USS Lang, a frigate. He initially served as communications officer and later served as operations officer, with two deployments to the Tonkin Gulf during the Vietnam War. He married Deborah Cooper in Champaign, Illinois, on December 24, 1969. Moore was promoted to lieutenant in December 1970.

In August 1974, Moore became a junior officer, assignment officer, and shore assignments coordinator for the Surface Warfare Community in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. The same month, he earned a graduate degree in business administration from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. In December 1974, he was promoted to lieutenant commander. He attended the Department Head Course at the Surface Warfare Officer’s School Command in 1976 and 1977 before joining the USS Sterett, a cruiser. Moore served as the executive officer of the USS Buchanan, a destroyer, from 1978 to 1979. He was promoted to commander in December 1979.

Next serving as the Current Navy Operations Analyst on the staff of the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command from 1980 to 1984, Moore received his first command after that assignment. He commanded the USS Lewis B. Puller from 1984 to 1986. The guided missile frigate deployed to the western Pacific in 1986. Moore was promoted to captain in August 1986. Serving as the assistant chief of staff for manpower and personnel on the staff of the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet from 1986 to 1989, he was selected to become the first commanding officer of the USS Cowpens, then under construction in Bath, Maine. The ship was commissioned on March 9, 1991. Moore led the Cowpens and three other ships in a missile attack on an Iraqi nuclear weapons site near Baghdad on January 17, 1993. In June 1993, Moore was promoted to rear admiral (lower half).

From 1993 to 1995, Moore served as the commandant, Naval District, Washington DC. He returned to sea in 1995 as the commander of the USS Carl Vinson Task Group and commander of Cruiser Destroyer Group Three. This force consisted of eight surface ships, two submarines, and one aircraft wing. It was tasked with enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq and also launched missile strikes against military sites in the country in September 1996. In July 1996, Moore was promoted to rear admiral (upper half).

In 1997, Moore returned to Washington, where he served as the assistant deputy chief of Naval Operations, Plans, Policy, and Operations, and director of the Strategy and Policy Division, Chief of Naval Operations Staff. During this period, Moore was also the Naval Operations deputy representative to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In August 1998, Moore was promoted to vice admiral and became the commander of the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He held this position until May 2001 and retired from the navy in July.

After retiring from active service, Moore served as a vice president at the Anteon International Corporation, a defense contractor, until 2006. That year, the company was bought by General Dynamics, and Moore served as its vice president of navy services until January 2012.

Moore and his wife have four adult children: three daughters and a son. They reside in California.

For additional information:
“Vice Admiral Edward Moore, Jr.” Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/Pages/Bio1_07Aug98-18May2001.aspx#.WDNbuH2tYyg (accessed September 1, 2020).

David Sesser
Henderson State University


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