Marvin E. Moore was born May 5, 1913 in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama to Stephen Henry Moore and Letitia (Hunt) Moore. Both of his parents were born in Alabama. He had one older sister, two older brothers, and a younger brother. Marvin’s father passed away when he was five years old. In 1920, Marvin and his widowed mother and siblings were living on a farm on Elkton Road in Huntsville. By 1930, the family had relocated to a house on North Patton Street in Huntsville, where Marvin and one of his older brothers were working in a cotton mill. By 1940, Marvin and his mother were again living on a farm in the Madison Crossroads area of Madison County, and he was working as a laborer.
Marvin was inducted into the US Army on 8 April 1941 at Fort McClellan, Alabama. His enlistment record indicates that at the time of his induction he had a grammar school education, was single, and had been working as a farm laborer. After completing basic training, he was assigned to the 169th Infantry Regiment of the 43rd Infantry Division. The 43rd ID was activated on 24 February 1941 and was initially based at Camp Blanding, Florida then relocated to Camp Shelby, Mississippi in February 1942. The division departed San Francisco on 1 October 1942 bound for New Zealand, where it arrived 23 October 1942 and was placed under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.
In November 1942 the division moved to Noumea, New Caledonia, and to Guadalcanal, 17 February 1943. The division occupied the Russell Islands without opposition, 21 February 1943, where it underwent additional training. The division experienced its first combat on 30 June 1943, landing on Vangunu and Rendova Islands against minor Japanese resistance. Rendova served as the major staging point for the upcoming assault on the island of New Georgia.
The division’s assault on New Georgia in early July 1943 was met with determined resistance by the Japanese defenders. The main US objective was the Japanese airfield on Munda Point. The advance on Munda was stymied by stubborn defense by the Japanese, as well as difficult terrain and supply problems. For 35 days of what many authorities believe to be the dirtiest, roughest campaign of the early war in the Pacific, the 43d fought for Munda airport. As yet inexperienced in the ways of jungle fighting, the 43d was opposed by some of the crack elements of the Imperial Japanese Army. All the tricks of the jungle which eventually became old stuff to our troops were strange to the men of the 43d in the fight for Munda. They had to learn the hard and bloody way, and they did. On August 5 the 43d broke the Japanese resistance and seized its prime objective—the vital Munda airstrip. From 6–10 August, the beleaguered regiment guarded Munda Airfield and were subjected to minor enemy air attacks. 3rd Battalion (3-169) was ordered to seize the island of Baanga northwest west of Munda Point and met heavy resistance and elements were soon pinned down on the beaches and in the dense jungle. 2-169 landed on Baanga to reinforce the attack, but the Japanese resistance on the islands was much stronger than anticipated and the advance made slow, if any, progress. While finishing the battle for the island, Private Moore was killed in action on 12 August 1943. His body was apparently not recovered as he is listed as missing in action. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in combat. Marvin E. Moore is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Philippines and at the Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial.