As one of the first Americans to see combat in World War II, Joseph H. Moore shot down two enemy aircraft on his first combat mission. Born in 1914, he left South Carolina in 1937 to enter the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet training program and earned his wings and commission in 1938. He was assigned to the 20th Pursuit Squadron shortly before it moved to the Philippines in October 1940. Moore became Squadron Commander as the unit transitioned to P-40Bs in the summer of 1941. On 8 December 1941, when a Japanese force of over 100 aircraft attacked Clark Field, Moore piloted one of only three P-40s to get airborne–just as the bombs began to fall!
Engaging a flight of nine Zeroes, Moore shot down two in a “hot, heavy, and hectic” engagement, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After evacuating to the Bataan peninsula, members of his squadron salvaged a damaged J2F Duck amphibious aircraft, which had been abandoned in Mariveles Harbor. Flying the Duck across enemy lines to obtain critical supplies for the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Captain Moore earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. When Bataan fell, he was on Mindanao planning a special mission to help run supply ships to the trapped defenders.
Making his way to Australia, he eventually returned to the US in August 1942 and served several short tours before going to Europe in November 1943. As a member of the 84th Fighter Wing and XXIX Tactical Air Command, he took part in the Normandy, Northern France, and the Rhineland Campaigns. Following World War II, he served in numerous command and staff positions including four tours as a wing commander. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1958 while Chief of Staff of Ninth Air Force. On 11 December 1959, while commanding the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, he received the Bendix Trophy after setting a world speed record in the F-105 Thunderchief on a 100-kilometer closed course.
After serving as Deputy Commander for Operations, Tactical Air Command, General Moore went to Vietnam in 1964 as Commander, 2d Air Division, and as Deputy for Air Operations, Military Assistance Command Vietnam. Promoted to lieutenant general in June 1965, he directed the expanding US involvement in Vietnam and assumed command of Seventh Air Force when it was reactivated in April 1966. He later served as Vice Commander, Pacific Air Forces, and in 1967 became the USAF Inspector General. In 1969, he went to Turkey as Commander of NATO’s 6th Allied Tactical Air Force and retired from that position in 1971. General Moore is currently the National Commander of the Order of Daedalians, a fraternity of military pilots. He and his wife, Heide, currently live in San Antonio, Texas.