Nation & World

'Hard man' from Benson dies

When William Clint Moore was a child, he told his family he wanted to be in the Army.

His father, Ronnie Moore, was in the Army, so it made sense to them that he'd want to follow.

Even the lure of scholarships offers as he prepared to graduate from South Johnston High School in 1998 were no match for his lifelong dream. Clint enlisted that summer.

"He's always wanted to do this," said Moore's sister, Leanne Benson of Benson. "He wanted to serve God and his country. That's all he ever talked about doing."

Nine paratroopers based out of Fort Bragg were killed in Iraq Monday during a suicide truck bombing. None of the names have been released, but Moore, 27, of Benson was among the dead, his family confirmed Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Moore was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Bragg.

Cora Godwin, an English teacher at South Johnston High, said she'd known Clint Moore from the time he was a little boy. She said she watched over the years as he matured into a fine young man.

"Every time you saw him, he had a very infectious grin," she said, preparing to take a dish of food to the Moore family home. "He was what we'd call a good ol' boy ... raised to be very respectful of others. He was a very fun-loving kind of guy -- full of life."

He was one of a handful of students who planned for careers in the Army after graduation. Godwin said she thinks he's the only one who went through with it, enlisting immediately after graduation.

Nearly a decade in the Army, Moore's dream had taken him to Fort Knox in Kentucky, Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Stewart in Georgia and as far away as Germany. His sister said he believed the Sept. 11 attacks made his mission more important.

Sept. 11 "made him more determined afterward," Benson said. "Anybody who knew my brother knew he had more patriotism in his pinky finger than most of us have in our entire bodies."

Before his first deployment to Iraq, Godwin said the school had a ceremony where a bow -- mostly yellow with one red, white and blue strip -- was tied up at the school. He cut the ribbon down when he returned from Iraq in 2003 at a ceremony during which he talked about the importance of what was being done overseas.

"He wanted to make sure others, especially the students at South Johnston were aware of what was going on in the world," she said.

Ricky Moore, Clint's uncle, said he'd talked with his nephew several times about leaving the Army and finding something else to do.

He said Clint's answer was always the same.

"He would keep reminding us they were over there for a reason," Ricky Moore said. "He told us it was getting more dangerous every time. He still believed in the mission and what he was doing."

Benson said the family was informed of the explosion Monday.

"It's just shock," Benson said. "It's just pretty much not real. Clint was tough. He was a hard man. You always know whatever job you do, eventually you're gonna die somehow.

"It's like, somebody that tough ain't gonna die."