William A. Moffett

William A. Moffett

Infobox Military Person
name=William Adger Moffett
born= birth date|1869|10|31
died= death date and age|1933|4|4|1869|10|31
placeofbirth=Charleston, South Carolina
placeofdeath=off the coast of New Jersey
placeofburial= Arlington National Cemetery

caption=Commander William A. Moffett
allegiance=flag|United States of America
serviceyears=c. 1886 – 1933
rank= Rear Admiral
commands=USS "Chester" (CL-1) Great Lakes Naval Training Center USS "Mississippi" (BB-41) Bureau of Aeronautics
battles=Spanish-American War *Battle of Manila Bay U.S. occupation of Veracruz, 1914 World War I
awards=Medal of Honor Distinguished Service Medal

William Adger Moffett (31 October 1869 – 4 April 1933) was an American admiral notable as the architect of naval aviation in the United States Navy.


Born October 31, 1869 in Charleston, South Carolina, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1890. He was the son of George Hall Moffett (1829 - 1875), who enlisted in the Confederate States army as a private, and was promoted for bravery on the field of battle, eventually attaining the rank of adjutant-general, Hadgood's Brigade, Twenty-fifth South Carolina Volunteers. Moffett was on the USS "Charleston" for the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

He received the Medal of Honor for his captaincy of the USS "Chester" in a daring and dangerous night landing in 1914 at Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico. (See also United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914).

In World War I, he was commander of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, and there established an aviator training program. While commanding the battleship "Mississippi" (1918–1921) he supported the creation of a scout plane unit on the ship.

Although not himself a flyer, Moffett became known as the "Air Admiral" for his leadership of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics from its creation in 1921. In this role, he oversaw the development of tactics for naval aircraft, the introduction of the aircraft carrier, and relations with the civilian aircraft industry. By adroit use of public relations, he maintained support for naval aviation against Billy Mitchell, who favored putting all military aircraft into a separate air force. In that regard, Moffett benefited from his longstanding friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson in 1913.Moffett was also an advocate of the development of lighter-than-air airships, or "dirigibles."

He lost his life on the "Akron" when that airship, which was then the largest dirigible in the world, went down in a storm off the coast of New Jersey on April 4, 1933.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, alongside his wife Jeanette Whitton Moffett. One of their three sons William Adger Moffett, Jr. was also a Navy admiral; he died in 2001, and is also buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Charleston, S.C. Born: 31 October 1869, Charleston, S.C. G.O. No.: 177, 4 December 1915. Other Navy award: Distinguished Service Medal.


: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 22d without the assistance of a pilot or navigational lights, and was in a position on the morning of the 22d 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.


*The USS "Moffett" (DD-362) was named for him.
*The naval air station that he helped establish near Sunnyvale, California was renamed Moffett Field in his memory soon after his death.

ee also

*List of Medal of Honor recipients
*Bureau of Aeronautics
*Naval aviation
*U.S. Occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, 1914

External links

* [http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wamoffet.htm Moffett bio at Arlington Cemetery]
*findagrave|7878733 Retrieved on 2007-12-12


*Edward Arpee, "From Frigates to Flat-tops: The story of the life and achievements of Rear Admiral William Adger Moffett, U.S.N. "The Father of Naval Aviation" October 31, 1869-April 4, 1933." (Published and distributed by the author, 1953).
*William F. Trimble, "Admiral William A. Moffett: Architect of Naval Aviation" (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1994)

NAME= Moffett, William A.
SHORT DESCRIPTION= United States Navy Medal of Honor recipient

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