Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility ‘It’s a brotherhood’ – Two giants of military medicine enjoy retirement, friendship, service | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors – Active Lifestyle Media

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Retirement News‘It’s a brotherhood’ – Two giants of military medicine enjoy retirement, friendship, service | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors

‘It’s a brotherhood’ – Two giants of military medicine enjoy retirement, friendship, service | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors

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Spend time with Army retired Lt. Gen. Quinn Becker and Maj. Gen. William L. Moore Jr., and the last thing they’ll bring up is their significant role in military history.

If pressed, the duo will talk about their combined military service to their nation that spans more than 60 years. A former surgeon general and a retired commander of Brooke Army Medical Center — their bond is woven together by science, sacrifice and medicine. That bond still affects active-duty members, military retirees and their families.

“Our job was to make a difference in the people’s lives around us,” Becker said.

Today, Becker and Moore live about eight miles from the old Brooke Army Medical Center and San Antonio Military Medical Center, both part of their legacy. Their current home is the Army Residence Community on the Northeast Side.

Becker, 90, and Moore, 86, are among 700 residents of the facility, which opened in 1987 for career military officers, their spouses and widows. Their apartments are across the hall from one another in the assisted-living wing of the community’s high-rise apartment complex.

Recently on “Red Shirt Friday,” they wore the appropriate color to symbolize the blood of American soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

The men see each other practically every day.

“Camaraderie is a hallmark of our friendship,” Moore said.

It’s not uncommon to see them on their electric scooters, greeting neighbors and staff members. Nor is it uncommon for residents to ask them to diagnose a pain or ailment.

They call themselves “hallway consultants.”

“I tell them free medical advice is worth every dime you pay for,” Moore said with a chuckle.

Becker relies on advice he trusts — his friend’s.

The men met in 1971 at a training chiefs meeting at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, now the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, in Aurora, Colo. Five decades later, after war, the Pentagon and tours of duty around the world, the doctors retired, and their paths converged again.



The roots of Moore’s extensive military career go back to when he was 6. He wore a mock Army uniform to be like his uncles who were in the service.

In 1961, he was a doctor, married in Rome, Ga., with a civilian practice when words from President John F. Kennedy spurred him to action.

The president’s words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” still echo in Moore’s mind.

A 22-year veteran of the Air Force, Vincent T. Davis embarked on a second career as a journalist and found his calling. Observing and listening across San Antonio, he finds intriguing tales to tell about everyday people. He shares his stories with Express-News subscribers every Monday morning.


Becker served a yearlong tour of duty in Vietnam in 1970. The first half of the year, he was stationed at Phu Bai, where he spent 12 to 18 hours a day operating on wounded soldiers. In the second half, he commanded the 15th Medical Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, about 10,000 troops.

With admiration, Becker remembered working with medevac crews. The pilots flew choppers into hot zones where enemy bullets riddled their aircraft, and the crews that returned to base refused to let a second crew continue their mission. They flew back to the zone to rescue the wounded patients.

“These were,” Becker said, “as far as I’m concerned, great heroes for sure. This was every day and night.”

“There was no such thing as crew rest,” Moore added.

Moore’s resume includes several postings, including commander of Brooke Army Medical Center in 1988 and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School from 1991 to 1994. (In 2014, he returned to the hospital’s outpatient rehabilitation facility after a fall resulted in the amputation of his left leg above the knee.) The retired general understands the safety protocols of the COVID era — he began the infectious disease sub-specialty program as assistant chief of medicine at BAMC in the early 1970s.

From February 1985 to May 1988, Becker served as the 36th Surgeon General of the Army — responsible for 95,000 people and 100 hospitals. That was when Becker tapped Moore to take charge of the Army’s HIV/AIDS program in Washington, D.C., at the surgeon general’s office.

“It had to be done,” Becker said, “and thank God we did it.”

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