Father, Boxer, Orphan: Sailor Finds Long Lost Family

Story Number: NNS170509-06Release Date: 5/9/2017 8:37:00 AM
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By Petty Officer First Class Christopher Lindahl, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- If being a professional boxer isn't enough of a challenge for you, try adding a career as an active-duty Navy Sailor and a father of a 10-year-old daughter to your plate.

Not enough? Petty Officer Carlo Moore recently completed a grueling, 10-year-long trek to solve the mystery of his life.

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Moore spent the majority of his life believing he was being raised by his mother and grandmother alongside his cousins and uncles. Moore would come to find out later there was more to the story - he would discover his true identity.

At 20 years of age, Moore's mother revealed to him that she was, in fact, his foster and adoptive mother and that he was orphaned shortly after birth.

"My (biological) mother gave birth to me in a hospital in Brooklyn and left me there," a soft spoken Moore said. "She never came back for me."

A nurse in the hospital worked with the state to find appropriate foster care. She has remained close to Moore since his birth. So close, in fact, that he grew up knowing her as his "aunt."

"I'm going to refer to her as my 'aunt' because that's what I was told when I was growing up," he said. "She took care of me when I was a baby in the hospital for about two months. She's the one who got in contact with a social worker to find a family for me. Once I found about my adoption 20 years later, she was the first person I called."

It was from his aunt that Moore discovered his first clue into his identity. He was a junior.

"My original name was DeCarlo," he said. "She told me that my mother kept calling me DeCarlo."

Moore began a search for his true identity - one that would last for ten exhausting years. He kept in touch with his aunt throughout the process as he knew she was his most logical person to cross-reference his findings with.

From his aunt, he not only found his identity, but discovered that his mother was not stable enough to be a parent and most likely suffering from addictions.

"She was the only one I knew that physically met my mom," Moore said. "As soon as I found out anything she was the first person I called."

Every time he called, however, Moore would hit a wall. He would think he was getting close to finding a clue and would come up empty.

"That hurt the most. Everytime I thought I was close, I wasn't," he said.

Though he struggled to find traction, he refused to give up. He would spend years searching, calling his aunt, turning around and searching some more. In 2009, he created an account with an online ancestry service where he manually scanned and searched for clues.

When times got tough, he used the resources provided to him by the Navy - he would seek counseling, he would train in the ring and then he would continue on with his search.

"Once I found out I was adopted that searching feeling would never go away," he said.

After more than nine long years of searching, Moore decided to take a shot in the dark and use a sample of his DNA and take a risk with with the online ancestry service. Even that seemed to fail.

Six months passed and still nothing. Now, approaching his 30th birthday, Moore had come to the decision that he would give up the search.

He had come to the decision that he knew enough - he knew his name, he knew that his biological mother was unwell and that his adopted mother loved him. He knew he was capable of moving on to create his own legacy with his daughter who needed him.

Moore said he thought at the time, "I'm going to turn 30 and put it behind me. I haven't heard anything, so I'm just going to let it go."

But as fate would have it, just two days after making that strong determination, Moore received a fateful message from his ancestry site.

He found a distant relative, a third or fourth cousin. He knew there was little chance she would have much for him, but he engaged anyway.

"She was so far down the line from the family line, she wouldn't know anything about what I was looking for - which is information about my mother and father," he said.

It turns out the gamble worked. Moore's cousin kept in contact and was able to provide a lead some six months later.

"She put me in contact with this other lady," he said. "We were away from home, we were out in El Centro doing some training and I got a message from her. She's my aunt. My mouth dropped to the floor."

The flood gates were about to open.

"She knew everything about my mom, how she passed away and everything."

He discovered that both his parents had passed away, confirmed his father's identity and discovered a whole new set of siblings.

"They told me I had a brother," he said.

Moore's biological Aunt directed him to a separate family tree on the website and Moore finally discovered a biological brother. His brother responded the very next day.

"They've been looking for my mother's last three kids for the past 30 years."

From his brother, Moore discovered several siblings all at once. Everything was falling in to place rapidly.

"We're all spread out through the foster system and everybody's name is changed," he said. "It made it harder to track down this person and that person because whatever family you got adopted to, that's the last name you took on."

In just a matter of days and with the help of his brother and his aunts, Moore was able to discover his mother's burial location. Without hesitation, Moore drove from Hampton Roads to New Jersey over the weekend of Dec. 10 and met with his "aunt".

"I got to go to her grave and say some words and leave a flower on her grave to try and close that chapter in my life," he said.

Moore credits his command at the time, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, with support and helping him process everything.

"When I found out about my biological parents, I mentally and physically wanted to break down. My chain of command was critical," he said. "I couldn't have made it through 2016 at all if it weren't for them. They allowed me time to cope with it."

Moore is now working to move on and focus on his upcoming fight.

"I'm not looking for anything or trying to create a new family or anything like that - That chapter of searching is closed," he said. "Healing is next, honestly. Boxing has always been my alcohol, my drug, my you name it - it's been my way out for everything. Mad, happy, sad, depressed, boxing has always been my go-to."

While Moore is repairing emotionally, he must also focus on preparing his body for his upcoming fight.

Moore is an Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class, currently assigned to the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Norfolk, but with the blessing of HSC-9, he transitioned to professional boxing in 2013.

The name Carlo Moore is nothing new to boxing, however, as he had previously boxed in the Golden Gloves and for the Navy Boxing Team. Moore has won two titles as an all Navy National Champion as well as winning the 2009 golden gloves and placing second in 2013.

Moore admits there was a learning curve to going pro and has learned a lot about professional fighting. He lost his first fight, fought to a draw in his second, and has won three fights since, amassing a 3-1-1/2 record.

Moore is looking to build on that momentum as he looks toward an upcoming fight May 13th at the Masonic Temple in Norfolk.

Moore routinely trains after work every day to keep in shape, but the past few months leading up to the fight he pushes two-a-day trainings with sessions before and after work.

It only takes a matter of minutes, though, for it to become obvious that his dedication to country and fellow service members comes first.

"I want to share my story for the junior Sailors out there who are struggling," he said. "If they know that there are other people out there who have struggled too, people who can be a positive role model and someone to look to for help - that's what it's all about for me."

That and winning his next fight May 13.

For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, visit www.navy.mil/local/comnavairlant/.

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