Driggs Alexander Moore and Azilee Woods Moore
Driggs Moore, born 8-27-1910 in Dade County Georgia, is the second child of Bert and Katherine Driggs Moore of New Salem. Driggs met and married (4-22-1941) Azilee Woods, born 8-7-1914 in Rutherford County Tennessee. Azilee received a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University and came to New Salem to teach. She boarded with the Charlie Gray’s family until the time of their marriage. When Driggs had to leave for service he took Azilee to Chattanooga where she caught a bus home to Murfreesboro.
Driggs entered the U.S. Army in December 1943 and received an honorable discharge in December of 1945. He first went to Fort Blanding, Florida, for basic training. He was assigned to the Infantry as a rifleman. He had lived on Lookout Mountain in Georgia all his life. Maybe working in the fields and forests and living a good life made him a good candidate for the terrible ordeals of combat duty which he was to experience in Europe. He was shipped to England in June of 1944, right after D-Day. He only stayed in England ten days. He crossed the English Channel and landed on Omaha Beach in France. Driggs went into battle as a replacement, assigned to the 83rd Infantry Division, known as the Thunderbolt. The 83rd Division fought in the campaign’s of Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Driggs saw many casualties his first day in combat. Not only dodging bullets but also the mosquitoes came in swarms so the men were not given any respite at any time those first days.
The Fourth of July was celebrated with fireworks, but not the kind the men were used to back home. These were deadly. The men dug foxholes and slit trenches right up close to the hedgerows. Hedgerows were all around and so were the Germans. At Normandy there was little or no air support. It had rained hard and the tanks were mired in the mud. The foxholes were filled with water and their fatigues were muddy. Finally, the wrecking days of Normandy were over. The weather broke in our troop’s favor and thousands of our planes sent the Germans on the run. For the G.I. Joes “days of hell and hedge rows with the Heines were gone but never to be forgotten”.
The 83rd formed out over Northern France, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Driggs was a messenger and carried information from one company to another. He received the Combat Infantry Badge, having fought in five major battles. He also received a bronze star and citation which reads in part – “He performed as a platoon runner under enemy fire and observation in France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany from June 19, 1944 until May, 1945.” Driggs was in the army of occupation until December 1945.
When Driggs returned home he moved to Walter Hill, near Murfreesboro in Rutherford Co TN where Azilee had been teaching. There they started their family. They were blessed with two children, Benjamin Bert Moore, born 3-15-1947 and Anna Katherine Moore, born 5-25-1950, both born in Rutherford County Tennessee. Azilee returned to teaching and Driggs was employed at the Veterans Hospital near Murfreesboro. He loved his home and liked to work in his yard and gardens. His rose garden was a show place; he often furnished flowers for his church. He also enjoyed fishing. Driggs retired about 1975. Azilee taught in Dade Co five years; she says five of the best years of her life. She also taught 30 years at her Alma Mater, Walter Hill. Azilee retired in 1976 after 35 years of teaching. She has fond memories of her years in the classroom. She says New Salem children are the smartest children in the country. “Listen up! We have a lot to live up to, Let’s take the challenge!”
Ben followed in his mother’s footsteps and teaches in Rutherford County Tennessee public schools. He has one son Jason Bert. Katherine is employed at Middle Tennessee State University working as a secretary in the book store. She has two sons, Bruce Andrew (Andy) and Matthew Oliver Johnson.
Driggs died 9-27-1988 and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro. Azilee at the age of 81, remains in their home and in fair health. (Submitted by Andy Johnson and Virginia Pennington Scruggs.)