Saturday, October 21, 2017

Private Junior Israel Moats

C. 1950, Japan.  The story of Junior Israel Moats exemplifies the capriciousness of fate that led young American boys to join the Army and wind up on occupation duty in post-war Japan.  Junior was born on January 29, 1928 in the corner of West Virginia that borders both Maryland and Pennsylvania.  He was the third of eight children born to Grant and Theodosia Moats.  The two brothers that followed him died in infancy.  Theodosia died in 1935.  Then in 1948, when Junior was 20, his father died. At that point, Army enlistment made a lot of sense: Uncle Sam promised each soldier "three hots and a cot."  In this portrait, Junior sports an Eight Army patch on his left shoulder, which pretty much guarantees that this image was taken in Japan.  Junior went to Korea with B Company, 34th Infantry along with Philip Hughes. Records show that Junior was wounded twice in battle.  The first event was on July 19, with a recuperation period that restored him to B/34's roster on August 15.  The second incident was September 10, just two days before Philip Hughes was killed in action.  Junior returned to duty on September 20 and survived the rest of his tour in Korea.  Upon his return to West Virginia, he married and had three children.  Junior died of unknown causes in 1966 at the young age of 38.  

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