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Long IslandHistory

Ken Moore dies; D-Day medic who treated both sides was 90

In the middle of one of World War II's bloodiest battles -- the 1944 D-Day invasion of western Europe -- there was a small sanctuary where no fighting was permitted.

Inside a village church in France, two Army medics -- Ken Moore and Bob Wright -- cared for dozens of wounded soldiers, using the pews as makeshift beds. Mortar blasts rocked the building, but the medics refused to leave, even when told enemy forces were about to overrun the village.

With scant supplies, they stayed on to administer aid in the packed church, and not just to Americans. They also treated wounded German soldiers who came to the door seeking help.

"They were young men much like us," Moore said in the documentary "Eagles of Mercy," "except they were wearing a different uniform." Moore, 90, died Dec. 7 in a hospital in Sonoma, Calif. The cause was congestive heart failure, said his son, Francis.

The stone church, located in the village of Angoville-au-Plain, commemorates the medics' actions with a monument on the edge of an adjoining cemetery.

Born Nov. 5, 1924 in Los Angeles, Moore volunteered to be a paratrooper soon after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor and was chosen to be a medic, although he got only about two weeks of medical training. He didn't see combat until D-Day, June 6, 1944, when he was one of thousands of troops parachuted into France. As a medic, he carried medical supplies, but no weapon.

Hitting the ground, he was quickly under fire. "There's no substitute for hearing a bullet snap past your head, and you realize that someone is trying to kill you," he said in the 2013 public television documentary. "You can't explain or put into words how that feels."

He and Wright, who died last year, commandeered the 12th-century church. Wright had more medical training, but their expertise was limited. With Wright taking on the bulk of medical duties, Moore sometimes ventured outside to haul injured soldiers to the church in a cart found nearby.

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