Rear Admiral William A. Moffett
‘Father of Naval Aviation’
On 22 April, the Moffett Field Historical Society and Museum unveiled an addition to the Memorial in honor of Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, known as the ‘Father of Naval Aviation’. After a two-year effort with multiple endorsements by active and retired Admirals, the Navy Department delivered a duplicate Medal of Honor for Admiral Moffett, received for his captaincy of the USS Chester in a daring and dangerous night landing in 1914 at Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico. Moffett later became the first head of the Bureau of Aeronautics, because he foresaw the Navy’s future included aviation.
The invited attendees comprise 60 guest from the military, Google, NASA, a representative from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s local office, and multiple veteran’s organizations, including Post 1921 XO Dave Reynolds, Post Comptroller John Hassenplug and RC Fran McVey, witnessed Retired Rear Admiral Jim Schear recount the heroic actions at the Battle of Vera Cruz on 22 April 1914. Twenty-two members of the Moffett family, most of which travelled from across the nation to hear and see more of the story of their patriarch.
The Medal of Honor was housed in a beautiful black case, with a Navy Master Chief standing Honor Guard on each side. This will be the centerpiece of an already large collection of pictures and artifacts from the Admiral’s distinguished Naval service.
COL William A. Moffett, III, USMC (Ret) spoke of his grandfather and donated the Admiral’s recently discovered sword, to the Moffett Museum.
The Moffett Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am - 3 pm. There is a small entrance fee for all except currently serving military and members.
“For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Comdr. Moffett brought his ship into the inner harbor during the nights of the 21st and 22nd without the assistance of a pilot or navigational lights, and was in a position on the morning of the 22nd to use his guns at a critical time with telling effect. His skill in mooring his ship at night was especially noticeable. He placed her nearest to the enemy and did most of the firing and received most of the hits.”
Rear Admiral Moffett’s decorations included:
Medal of Honor, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Philippine Campaign Medal, Lifesaving Medal,
Mexican Service Medal, Navy Spanish Campaign Medal, World War I Victory Medal
Naval Aviation Observer wings.
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