COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Retired Army Col. Tony Nadal was a captain who served under then Lt. Col. Hal Moore during that deadly battle at Landing Zone X-Ray. 

About a dozen old soldiers, including Nadal, gathered at the National Infantry Museum Friday for a reunion. They are at the gates of Fort Benning for a reunion, the first one for the group since the COVID outbreak. 

These are men who fought under then Lt. Gen. Hal Moore in November 1965. Fort Benning will be renamed in the next year for Moore and his wife, Julia. 

“I have to say that I thought and think that Hal Moore was the best soldier I ever dealt with,” Nadal said. “And he epitomized in his life and career the motto of West Point, duty, honor, country.” 

To show why he thinks that it is appropriate to have Julie Moore’s name on the fort, Nadal tells this compelling story. 

“I was leading an assault at X-Ray, personally leading an assault with bayonets at X-Ray. On this side of me was Sgt. Jack Gell, who was communications chief,” Nadal said. “He was carrying a radio. On this side was a forward observer and his radio operator. And enemy fire opened up while I am talking to this guy. He drops dead. He drops dead. And Jack Gell drops dead. Myself and the guy behind me survived.”

That is not where this story ends.

“Jack Gell’s wife learned of the death of her husband from a cab driver,” Nadal said. “She was pregnant. She answered the door. The cab driver is there, not knowing what to say or do. Hands her the telegram. She gets it. Reads it. And faints onto a rose bush. And the only help she has is this cab driver.”

That was unacceptable to Julia Moore.

“Julia stepped into the breach,” Nadal said. “And she organized these ladies of the battalion. She said to bring me the telegrams and we will deliver them. And that lasted for a while until finally the Army woke up and said, ‘there has got to be a better way of doing this.'”