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Robin Moore

Robin Moore

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Robert Lowell "Robin" Moore, Jr. (October 31, 1925 - February 21, 2008) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 who is most known for his books The Green Berets
The Green Berets (book)
The Green Berets is a book written by Robin Moore about the Green Berets during the Vietnam War. First published in 1965, it became a best-selling paperback in 1966. The latest edition was published in 2007.-Background:...

, The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy
The French Connection (book)
The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy is a non-fiction book by Robin Moore first published in 1969 about the notorious "French Connection" drug trafficking scheme. It is followed by the book The Setup...

and, with Xaviera Hollander and Yvonne Dunleavy, The Happy Hooker: My Own Story.

Moore also co-authored the lyrics
Lyrics are a set of words that make up a song. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of...

 for the "Ballad of the Green Berets
Ballad of the Green Berets
"The Ballad Of The Green Berets" is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the Green Berets, an elite special force in the U.S. Army. It is one of the very few songs of the 1960s to cast the military in a positive light, yet it became a major hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts for five...

", which was one of the major hit songs of 1966. The song was also featured in the film
The Green Berets (film)
The Green Berets is a 1968 war film featuring John Wayne, George Takei, David Janssen, Jim Hutton and Aldo Ray, nominally based on the eponymous 1965 book by Robin Moore, though the screenplay has little relation to the book....

 based on Moore's book which starred John Wayne
John Wayne
Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

. A new edition of The Green Berets was published in April 2007 and his last book, Wars of the Green Berets, co-authored with Col. Mike 'Doc' Lennon, was released in June 2007.

At the time of his death, Moore was residing in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hopkinsville is a city in Christian County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 31,577 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Christian County.- History :...

 (home to Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell is a United States Army installation located astraddle the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee...

 and the 5th Special Forces Group) where he was working on his memoirs as well as three other books.

Early life and career

Born in Boston, Moore was raised in Concord, Massachusetts
Concord, Massachusetts
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. Although a small town, Concord is noted for its leading roles in American history and literature.-History:...

, where he attended Middlesex School
Middlesex School
Middlesex School is an independent secondary school for grades 9 - 12 located in Concord, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1901 by a Roxbury Latin School alumnus, Frederick Winsor, who headed the school until 1937. Winsor set up a National Scholarship Program for the school, the first of its kind...

. He also attended Belmont Hill School
Belmont Hill School
Belmont Hill School is a prestigious independent boys school located on a campus in Belmont, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. The school enrolls approximately 440 students in grades 7-12, separated into the Middle School and the Upper School , and refers to these grades as "Forms" with a Roman...


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 he served as a nose gunner
Nose gunner
A nose gunner or front gunner is a crewman on a military aircraft who operates a machine gun turret in the front, or "nose", of the airplane. This position was usually manned by someone who only operated the gun, however, the nose gunner could have a dual role...

 in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying combat
Combat, or fighting, is a purposeful violent conflict meant to establish dominance over the opposition, or to terminate the opposition forever, or drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed....

 missions in the European Theater
European Theater of Operations
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army was a United States Army formation which directed U.S. Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the...

. For his outstanding service, he was awarded the Air Medal
Air Medal
The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States. The award was created in 1942, and is awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.-Criteria:...

. Moore graduated from Harvard College
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

 in 1949, and one of his first jobs was working in television production and then at the Sheraton Hotel Company co-founded by his father, Robert Lowell Moore. While working in the hotel business in the Caribbean, he recorded the early days of Castro in the non-fiction book The Devil To Pay.

Training with Special Forces

Thanks to connections with Harvard classmate Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

, Moore was allowed access to the U.S. Army Special Forces to write about this elite unit of the United States Army. It was General William P. Yarborough
William P. Yarborough
Lieutenant General William Pelham Yarborough was a United States Army officer and a 1936 graduate of West Point. General Yarborough designed the parachutist badge, paratrooper or 'jump' boots, and the airborne jump uniform. He is known as the 'Father of the Modern Green Berets.' He is descended...

 who insisted that Moore go through special forces training in order to better understand "what makes Special Forces soldiers 'special'." He trained for nearly a year, first at "jump school" for airborne
Airborne forces
Airborne forces are military units, usually light infantry, set up to be moved by aircraft and 'dropped' into battle. Thus they can be placed behind enemy lines, and have an ability to deploy almost anywhere with little warning...

 training before completing the Special Forces Qualification Course or "Q Course", becoming the first civilian to participate in such an intensive program. Afterward, Moore was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group on deployment to Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

. His experiences in-country formed the basis for The Green Berets
The Green Berets (book)
The Green Berets is a book written by Robin Moore about the Green Berets during the Vietnam War. First published in 1965, it became a best-selling paperback in 1966. The latest edition was published in 2007.-Background:...

, a bestseller that helped secure him international acclaim (see United States Army Special Forces in popular culture
United States Army Special Forces in popular culture
Members of the U.S. Army Special Forces will emphatically assert that the "Green Beret" is a hat and not the man who wears it. Nevertheless, for a time in the 1960s the Green Berets and the men who wore them became a national fad emerging in a wide variety of popular culture referents...


Later writings

During the 1970s and 1980s Moore travelled widely spending time in such places as Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

 and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Having gathered the information needed he wrote The Crippled Eagles (later published as The White Tribe) and The Moscow Connection. Due to political controversy, The Crippled Eagles was rejected by publishers and did not appear until the early 1990s. (Rumor has it that the printing was quietly but firmly discouraged by U.S. State Department). He also wrote non-fiction books Rhodesia and Major Mike (with U.S. Army Major Mike Williams).

Moore travelled to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 in December 2001 to research the CIA-Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
The Afghan Northern Alliance is a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996.Northern Alliance may also refer to:*Northern Alliance , a Canadian white supremacist group...

 war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

, publishing the account in the bestseller The Hunt for Bin Laden.

In 2003, continuing his interest in writing about the war on terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

, Moore traveled to Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 to research Operation Iraqi Freedom and the downfall of the Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 regime for his book, Hunting Down Saddam. He recently completed The Singleton: Target Cuba with Ret. USASF Major General Geoffrey Lambert, a novel about Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 and biological warfare
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...


Afghanistan and book controversy

Shortly after the publication of The Hunt for Bin Laden, controversy arose over the veracity of the book, particularly regarding the involvement of Jack Idema
Jonathan Idema
Jonathan Keith "Jack" Idema is a convicted felon and con artist who was also found gulty in September 2004 for running a private prison in Afghanistan and torturing Afghan citizens. At the time, Idema had been portraying himself as a U.S. government-sponsored special forces operative on a mission...

. Idema, who was one of Moore's major sources, provided what later proved to be fabricated accounts of his exploits. In order to portray himself as having a greater role in the operation, Idema apparently went as far as to rewrite much of Moore's and Chris Thompson's text prior to publication. Special Forces soldiers who were on the mission (including those whom Moore interviewed) disputed Idema's claims.

With Idema thus discredited, Moore eventually disavowed The Hunt for Bin Laden and the book remains out of print. Despite the unfortunate fate of the book, Moore continued to enjoy the respect of the Special Forces community.

Other works

  • Creator of the comic strip Tales of the Green Beret
    Tales of the Green Beret
    Tales of the Green Beret is a comic strip created by Robin Moore and Joe Kubert. It began as a daily strip, running for 72 numbered strips starting 20 September 1965. The following year it returned daily and Sunday, beginning 4 April, with scripts by Howard Liss...

    and the book The Man with the Silver Oar
  • Co-screenwriter for the film Inchon
    Inchon (film)
    Inchon is a 1982 war film about the Battle of Inchon, considered to be the turning point of the Korean War. The film was directed by Terence Young and financed by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon. It stars Laurence Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur, who led the United States surprise...

    about the Inchon landing
    Battle of Inchon
    The Battle of Inchon was an amphibious invasion and battle of the Korean War that resulted in a decisive victory and strategic reversal in favor of the United Nations . The operation involved some 75,000 troops and 261 naval vessels, and led to the recapture of the South Korean capital Seoul two...

     during the Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

  • Co-founder, "The Crippled Eagles
    The Crippled Eagles
    The Crippled Eagles was the informal name of a group of American expatriates that fought with the Rhodesian Security Forces during the Rhodesian Bush War. The name and emblem came from author Robin Moore who offered a house in Salisbury as a meeting place for the Americans who served in all units...

    " club in Rhodesia
    Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

     (now Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

    ) for expatriate Americans serving with the Rhodesian Security Forces.


In recognition of his achievement in writing about the Special Forces, Moore was granted "Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by some municipalities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Rhodesia to esteemed members of its community and to organisations to be honoured, often for service to the community;...

" by Hopkinsville Mayor Richard Liebe.

At the 2007 5th Special Forces Group reunion banquet Col. Chris Conner confirmed Moore as a lifelong member of 5th SFG. At the same banquet Moore was made a Kentucky colonel
Kentucky colonel
Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation...



Robin Moore died in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on February 21, 2008 after a long illness. Eulogies were given by Rudi Gresham, General Victor Hugo, Major General Thomas R. Csrnko, Alexander N. Rossolimo
Alexander N. Rossolimo
Alexander N. Rossolimo is an American think tank executive, entrepreneur, and corporate director.- Early life and education :Rossolimo was born in Paris. His parents were Nicolas Rossolimo, an International Grandmaster of Chess, and Véra...

 and Moore's brother John. A Presidential citation was presented to Helen Moore by General Hugo. Full military honors were rendered immediately after the service.

Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Gary L. Harrell, deputy commanding general of the United States Special Operations Command
United States Special Operations Command
The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

, issued this statement in praise of Moore:

External links