Thomas Estes Moore – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired February 1, 1970. Died September 21, 2007.

Major General Thomas Estes Moore was commander of Keesler Technical Training Center, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the electronics training center of the U.S. Air Force.

General Moore was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, in 1912. He graduated from Colletsville High School, Colletsville, North Carolina, in 1930, and from Mars Hill Junior College, North Carolina, in 1932. In July 1933 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 22d Infantry Division as a student at the West Point Preparatory School, Fort McPherson, Georgia. In 1934, as an aviation cadet, he attended primary and basic pilot training at Randolph Field, Texas, and pursuit training at Kelly Field, Texas. After completing the training program he was assigned to Selfridge Field, Michigan.

He was a member of the famous 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field for almost four years. In June 1938 General Moore was stationed at Langley Field, Virginia, as supply officer and crew commander; and in 1939 he went to the Caribbean Air Command, where he performed pilot and squadron commander duties both in Panama and Puerto Rico. In November 1942 he was assigned to the 16th Bombardment Wing, Biggs Field, Texas, and became chief of staff and deputy commander. In October 1943 he became chief of staff, XX Bomber Command at Biggs Field.

In 1944 he was assigned to the Southwest Pacific area and served in China, Central Burma and the Eastern Mandates. As a B-29 pilot, General Moore flew seven missions over Japan. He participated in one of the longest raids during the war — a raid which originated in Calcutta, India, and was made on Singapore. The floating dry dock in Singapore Bay was sunk along with a Japanese cruiser and many other docks were destroyed with destroyers and cruisers in their berths. In February 1945 General Moore became deputy chief of staff for operations, 58th Bombardment Wing, in the Marianas, and in November 1945 he returned with the 58th Wing to the United States.

From August 1946 to July 1947, he attended the first class of the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Field, Alabama. He next served as assistant commandant technical schools, and commander, 3380th Technical Training Group, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In July 1950 he entered the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, and graduated in March 1951.

In April 1951 General Moore assumed duties as deputy chief of staff for operations, Third Air Force, South Ruislip, England. He went to Headquarters Air Training Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in May 1954, and served as deputy chief of staff, programming, and later as deputy chief of staff, operations. He was project officer for the reorganization of the Air Training Command and the transfer of ATC headquarters to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In June 1957 he was appointed chief of staff, ATC.

General Moore assumed duties as commander of Sheppard Technical Training Center in August 1959. While at Sheppard he was highly successful in organizing and putting into effect the Squadron Adoption Program which resulted in an outstanding community-public relations program. This unique program has received nationwide attention, including recognition by the Congress, and it is being considered for utilization at other Air Force bases.

In July 1963 he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., where he was assigned as Director of Personnel Planning, Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel. In November 1966 he assumed command of the Alaskan Air Command. In this capacity he also served as vice commander of the Alaskan North American Air Defense Command Region.

General Moore was assigned as commander, Keesler Technical Training Center, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, in August 1969.

A command pilot, he has more than 6,000 flying hours in jet and conventional type aircraft. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal and Air Medal.

By Bill Gallo
Courtesy of the Rocky Mountain News
October 3, 2007

Thomas Estes Moore got his first taste of flight as a boy in rural North Carolina. For a silver dollar, a barnstormer took him aloft in a sputtering cloth-and-wire biplane.

That boy would come to log 6,100 flying hours of his own in all sorts of aircraft, rise to the rank of Major General in the U.S. Air Force and oversee the Alaskan Air Command. His friends included World War I combat ace Eddie Rickenbacker and Claire Chennault, who founded the Flying Tigers.

General Moore died September 21, 2007, at Pikes Peak Hospice in Colorado Springs from complications of age. He was 95.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Broadmoor Community Church, 315 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

General Moore was born September 10, 1912, in Lenoir, North Carolina. He graduated from Mars Hill Junior College. He enlisted in the Army in 1933 after turning down an appointment to West Point and denying his mother's wish that he study for the Baptist ministry.

After flight training in Texas, he joined the famous 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan, a 1930s precursor to the Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team.

In World War II, he served in China, central Burma and the Marshall Islands.

As a B-29 bomber pilot, he flew seven missions over Japan and took part in a long-distance raid on Singapore that destroyed crucial Japanese floating dry docks and sank a Japanese battle cruiser.

Late in the war, General Moore became deputy chief of staff for the Army Air Force's 58th Bombardment Wing. In 1946, he attended the first class of the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, where the new U.S. Air Force was taking shape.

He served other assignments in Alabama, as well as in South Ruislip, England; Illinois; Washington, D.C.; and Mississippi.

He met Alison Hennig in Florida. They were married June 26, 1948.

In 1966, he took over the Alaskan Air Command and three years later became commander of the technical training center at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. His many citations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He retired to Colorado Springs in 1970.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Thomas E. Moore II, of Colorado Springs, and Todd J. Moore, of Edwards, and six grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Pikes Peak Hospice, the 58th Bombardment Wing Museum or the Mars Hill Scholarship Fund, through Swan-Law Funeral Directors, Colorado.

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