Moody Air Force Base
|Moody Air Force Base|
|Part of Air Combat Command (ACC)|
|Located near: Valdosta, Georgia|
Three A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 74th and 75th Fighter Squadrons out of Moody Air Force Base
|Type||Air Force Base|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|IATA: VAD – ICAO: KVAD – FAA LID: VAD|
|Elevation AMSL||233 ft / 71 m|
Moody Air Force Base (IATA: VAD, ICAO: KVAD, FAA LID: VAD) is a United States Air Force installation located in Lowndes County and Lanier County, about 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Valdosta, Georgia, United States.
The host unit, the 23d Wing, carries out worldwide close air support, force protection, and combat search and rescue operations (CSAR).
Originally named Valdosta Airfield when it opened on 15 September 1941, the airfield was renamed Moody Army Airfield on 6 December 1941 in honor of Major George Putnam Moody (13 March 1908 – 5 May 1941), an early Air Force pioneer. Major Moody earned his military wings in 1930 and flew U.S. airmail as a member of the United States Army Air Corps in 1934. He was killed on 5 May 1941 while flight-testing a Beechcraft AT-10 Wichita advanced two-engine training aircraft at Wichita Army Airfield, Kansas. The AT-10 was later used extensively at Moody AAF during World War II.
Also located at the base is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide: Moody Campus.
- 1 History
- 2 Twenty-first century
- 3 Geography
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The base had its beginning in 1940 when a group of concerned Valdosta and Lowndes County citizens began searching for a way to assist the expanding defense program. A committee was formed to obtain a military airfield for their community. In October 1940, the committee sent a letter to Maxwell AAF inviting the Air Corps to consider the Valdosta area. When engineers arrived, they rejected the existing Valdosta Municipal Airport because of excessive grading costs and began looking for another site. The Air Corps found an acceptable site 11.5 miles NNE of Valdosta near the small settlement of Bemis. The site was located on the Lakeland Flatwoods Project, a 9,300 acres (38 km2) tract of sub-marginal land, not primarily suited for cultivation. The United States Department of Agriculture, which owned the land, was experimenting at that time with forest grazing at the project. The Air Corps approved to locate the base on the tract in March 1941. Two months later, on 14 May, the Department of Agriculture transferred ownership of the property to the War Department.
Construction got underway on 28 July 1941 for a twin-engine advanced training base with accommodations for 4,100 men. The $3.4 million project's 160 buildings included 72 barracks and 16 supply rooms. Also provided in the original contract were four 5,000-foot runways, two asphalt and two concrete, plus a spur of the Georgia and Florida Railroad.
World War II
Moody Army Airfield was activated on 26 June 1941. It was used by the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command, Southeast Training Center, with the 29th Flying Training Wing for primary (phase 1) flight training, in which flight cadets were taught basic flight using two-seater training aircraft.
Under the Southeast Training Center, Moody AAF controlled several auxiliary airfields
- Moody AAF Aux No. 1 - (Rockford Field), Quitman, Georgia
- Moody AAF Aux No. 2 - (Lake Park Field), Valdosta, Georgia
- Moody AAF Aux No. 3 - (Bemiss Field), Moody, Georgia
- Moody AAF Aux No. 4 - (New River Field), Nashville, Georgia
- Moody AAF Aux No. 5 - (Valdosta Regional Airport), Valdosta, Georgia
On 8 January 1943, the War Department constituted and activated the 29th Flying Training Wing (Advanced Twin-Engine) at Moody and assigned it to the AAF Eastern Flying Training Command. Advanced Twin Engine training (phase 3) was designed to train cadets to fly transports and bombers. One of the major problems encountered with the switchover from single-engine to two-engine training was the instructor's lack of experience with twin-engined aircraft. Most of the instructors were recent single-engine graduates with less than six months of flight experience, When the Curtiss AT-9, Beech AT-10 Wichita, and Cessna AT-17 arrived, the instructors had to be thoroughly checked out in these twin-engine trainers before they could instruct the students.
In September 1944, Moody began replacing the AT-10 with the TB-25 Mitchell. As a result of the demands of training with the B-25 and a lessened need for pilots, the Army extended the flight syllabus by an additional five weeks on 16 October 1944. The extended program added 30 additional flight hours and five more hours in the Link Trainer. Meanwhile, a Bombardier Navigator Replacement Pool had been established on 24 July 1943. The Army also built four additional runways at Moody during 1943 for a total of eight. in November 1943, 490 German POWs arrived at the base from Camp Blanding, Florida.
Due to reduced demands for new pilots during the early months of 1945, The Army Air Force announced that Moody would be transferred to the First Air Force on 30 April 1945. Under First Air Force, Moody trained replacement combat pilots as a Combat Crew Training Station for the Douglas A-26 Invader light bomber.
Following the end of the war, activity at Moody diminished to the point that 24 of the 93 A-26s had to be placed in flyable storage. The airfield was transferred back to Army Air Forces Training Command on 1 November 1945 after World War II ended. In August 1946, the AAF inactivated Moody placing it on standby status.
While on standby status, the airfield was redesignated as Moody Air Force Base on 13 January 1948. Moody was again transferred to Continental Air Command on 1 December 1948, then reactivated on 25 November 1949. Upon reactivation work was begun to modernize the airfield from its World War II wartime configuration into a permanent Air Force Base with modern facilities. Construction took almost two years, and finally on 1 April 1951 Moody Air Force Base was activated under the control of Strategic Air Command.
Under SAC, Moody was assigned to the Second Air Force and the 40th Air Division. The 4223d Base Services Squadron was activated to perform the base support mission, with the Federalized California Air National Guard's 146th Fighter-Bomber Group, flying F-51 Mustangs as the primary flying unit. Moody was programmed to become a SAC Strategic Fighter Wing base once the 9,000-foot jet runway was completed.
Air Training Command
Shortly after the Korean War began on 25 June 1950, Air Training Command took over most combat crew training, thereby relieving operational commands of much of their training burden and allowing them to concentrate on their combat mission. In order for ATC to accommodate this expansion of its training mission, HQ USAF directed SAC to consolidate its planned fighter-escort mission at Moody with its existing fighter mission at nearby Turner AFB, and Moody was assigned to ATC for the Crew Training mission.
On 1 September 1951, Moody was formally transferred from SAC to ATC. On the same day, Air Training Command established Crew Training Air Force (CTAF) at Moody by activating the 3550th Training Wing (Interceptor Aircrew) and assigning Air Defense Command interceptor weapons instructor training to the wing. On 11 June 1952, the 3550th Training Wing was redesignated as the 3550th Flying Training Wing as ATC reorganized its flying training program under Flying Training or Crew Training Air Forces. With the completion of flying facilities at Moody in 1953, F-89 Scorpion and F-94 Starfire interceptors were assigned to the 3550th for applied training.
To inject more realism into the training, ATC made arrangements with Strategic Air Command to allow instructor pilots to fly intercept missions against SAC bombers with F-86D (later L) Sabre, With the addition of interceptor crew training and the acquisition of interceptor aircraft, HQ USAF decided effective 20 October 1953 to assign ATC responsibility for supporting Air Defense Command's interceptor forces. Moody's 3554th Fighter-Interceptor Training Squadron maintained two combat-ready aircraft and crews on five-minute active air alert as ADC augmentation forces.
With the arrival of the TF-102 Delta Dagger in Air Defense Command in 1960, Moody ended interceptor pilot and crew training and became one of ATC's new undergraduate pilot training (UPT) schools. The F-86Ls used at Moody were reassigned to transferred to Perrin AFB, Texas. With the reassignment to UPT, the 3550th was redesignated as the 3550th Pilot Training Wing.
In 1961, Foreign Pilot Training was transferred to Moody from the closing of the Graham Air Base contract pilot school in Marianna, Florida. Graham AB's T-28 Trojans were also transferred. In early 1962, the number of South Vietnamese Air Force students entering this program began to increase sharply. As a result, the Air Force stopped disposal action on all T-28s stored at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. Twenty-six of those aircraft moved to Moody, plus the Navy transferred four from its own stocks. In September 1963, the supersonic-capable Northrop T-38 Talon jet trainer arrived at Moody to replace the first-generation T-33 jet trainers. Along with the T-38s, Air Training Command relocated the foreign pilot training from Moody to Randolph AFB.
In 1965, the Cessna T-41A training aircraft, based on the Cessna 172, arrived at Moody. It was used in the initial phases of student training. Students received about 30 hours of flight training in the T-41 before advancing to the T-37 primary jet trainer. The T-41 replaced the T-34A and the T-37 replaced the T-28, which had been previously used in similar roles.
Future U.S. President George W. Bush trained as an Air Force pilot at Moody AFB beginning on 25 November 1968 to 28 November 1969 (UPT Course #P-V4A-A Moody AFB, GA, 53 weeks, November 1969). After transitional training in the F-102 Delta Dagger at the former Perrin AFB, Texas, he was assigned to the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group (now 147th Reconnaissance Wing) of the Texas Air National Guard at Ellington Field Air National Guard Base, Texas.
On 1 December 1973, the 38th Flying Training Wing (38 FTW) replaced and absorbed the resources of the 3550th Pilot Training Wing at Moody. Air Training Command desired to restore the heritage and lineage of notable combat wings. Its predecessor unit, the 38th Bombardment Group had fought in the Battle of Midway and in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II.
Tactical Air Command
On 30 June 1975, it was announced that Moody would transfer from ATC to Tactical Air Command on 1 December 1975. The base as to become host to a wing of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter aircraft. This change in Moody's mission would mark the first time in almost 25 years that Moody was not engaged in pilot or aircrew training. Training officials conducted the last UPT student flight at Moody on 4 November 1975, and the last undergraduate pilot training class (76-04) graduated on 21 November 1975. The transfer was completed as scheduled on 1 December
On 1 December 1975, the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing (347 TFW), a unit of the Tactical Air Command (TAC), relocated to Moody from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Control of Moody passed from ATC to TAC with the 347 TFW as the new host wing and the mission of the base changed from pilot training under ATC to an active tactical fighter base under TAC. Operational tactical fighter squadrons at Moody were:
- 68th Tactical Fighter Squadron (red tail stripe)
- 69th Tactical Fighter Squadron (silver tail stripe)
- 70th Tactical Fighter Squadron (blue/white checkered tail stripe)
The 347th flew the McDonnel-Douglas F-4E until 1988, when it upgraded to the Block 15 General Dynamics F-16A/B. In 1990, the wing upgraded again to the Block 40 F-16C/D. Moody won the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award for 1991, and the 1994 Verne Orr Award, which is presented by the Air Force Association to the unit that most effectively uses human resources to accomplish its mission. In June 1997, the 347th TFW was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the eighth time in its illustrious history.
As part of the implementation of the Objective Wing concept, the 347th was redesignated as the 347th Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991.
Air Combat Command
As a result of the August 1992 destruction of Homestead AFB, Florida by Hurricane Andrew, the 31st Fighter Wing's 307th and 308th Fighter Squadrons were initially evacuated to Moody AFB prior to the hurricane making landfall. With Homestead unusable for an extended period after the hurricane, on 20 November the squadrons were permanently assigned to the 347 TFW. On 1 April 1994, the 308 FS was moved without personnel or equipment to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona, replacing the 311 FS. The squadron's Block 40 F-16s were sent to Aviano AB, Italy, where the 31 FW would later stand up as a United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) unit.
As part of the realignment of the post Cold-War Air Force, HQ ACC converted and realigned the 347th Fighter Wing to the 347th Wing (347 WG) on 1 July 1994, with a new mission being that of a force projection, air/land composite wing. Squadrons of the 347th Wing were:
- 52nd Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (green tail stripe - ROOS)
Transferred without personnel or equipment from the inactivated 63d Military Airlift Wing at the closing Norton AFB, California on 1 May 1994. The 52 AS was previously a C-141B squadron at Norton AFB.
- 68th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D) (red tail stripe - LANCERS)
- 69th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D) (black tail stripe - WEREWOLVES)
- 70th Fighter Squadron (A/OA-10A) (blue/white tail stripe - WHITE KNIGHTS)
- 71st Air Control Squadron MCE with AN/TPS-75 Radar - Ground Control Unit (ALLEYCAT)
- 307th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D) (black tail stripe - STINGERS)
The 307 FS was inactivated on 31 August 1995 when F-16 operations at Moody were reduced in size.
On 1 April 1997 the 347th Wing added a combat search and rescue (CSAR) component with the addition of the 41st Rescue Squadron (41 RQS) with HH-60G helicopters and the 71st Rescue Squadron (71 RQS) with specialized HC-130P aircraft, both units transferring from Patrick AFB, Florida. To make room for these squadrons, the 52d Airlift Squadron was inactivated, with its C-130s being transferred to the 71 RQS.
Forty-two years after Combat Crew training ended at Moody, HQ ACC returned that mission to Moody with the activation of the 479th Flying Training Group under Nineteenth Air Force. The group was activated at Moody on 1 October 2000 with the arrival of the 49th Flying Training Squadron (FTS) from Columbus AFB, Mississippi. The 49th FTS flew AT-38Bs and T-38Cs. The squadron taught Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) training for new Undergraduate Pilot graduates destined for fighter aircraft.
On 2 April 2001, the 479th FTG expanded to a second squadron with the activation of the 3d Flying Training Squadron, flying the T-6A Texan II. The 435th Flying Training Squadron transferred from Randolph AFB Texas on 1 October 2001 to become the third training squadron, equipped with T-38Cs.
These aircraft all carried the Tail Code "MY". The 49 FTS and 435 FTS conducted an advanced pilot training and the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) course for recently winged USAF Navigator/Combat Systems Officers en route to Weapons System Officer (WSO) assignments in the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft and recently winged pilots en route to the F-22 Raptor, F-15C/D Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II. The 3d FTS provided basic pilot training.
The F-16s of the 347th Wing began to be transferred out as the "Composite Wing" concept ended at Moody. The 70 FS was inactivated on 30 June 2000, the 69 FS inactivated on 2 February 2001, and the 68 FS was inactivated on 1 April. The F-16s and A-10s/OA-10s were transferred to various active-duty, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard squadrons both in CONUS as well as overseas. On 1 May 2001, the 347th Wing stood down as a composite wing and stood up as the 347th Rescue Wing (347 RQW), becoming the Air Force's only active-duty combat search and rescue wing.
On 1 October 2003, Moody was transferred from Air Combat Command to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). With the change of assignment The 347th Rescue Wing was transferred from ACC to AFSOC. This was a short-lived experiment that temporarily placed all USAF air rescue assets (Active, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard) under AFSOC. On 1 October 2005, the 347 RQW returned to Air Combat Command control along with Moody AFB.
As a result of BRAC 2005, several changes occurred at Moody to accommodate the needs of the changing Air Force.
- The 347th Rescue Wing was redesignated the 23d Wing. The 347th Rescue Group and 563d Rescue Group remained under the 23d Wing, and the 23d Fighter Group was reassigned to Moody from Pope AFB, North Carolina with two A-10 Thunderbolt II Squadrons. In addition, the 820th Security Forces Group was assigned to the 23d Wing but would eventually be reassigned to the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing, also located at Moody AFB. Along with accepting the 23d Wing designation, Moody AFB accepted the responsibility of carrying on the historic Flying Tigers heritage. In addition to the A-10s from Pope, an additional twelve A-10 aircraft were received from the inactivating 355th Fighter Squadron at Eielson AFB, Alaska.
- The 479th Flying Training Group was inactivated on 21 July 2007, ending pilot training at Moody. Its squadrons, aircraft and equipment were assigned to other Air Education and Training Command units.
Today Moody is the home of the 23d Wing of Air Combat Command (ACC). The mission of the 23d Wing is to organize, train and employ combat-ready A-10, HC-130P/N Combat King and HH-60 Pave Hawk aircraft and flight crews, as well as pararescuemen and force protection assets. It consists of approximately 6,100 military and civilian personnel, including geographically separated units (GSU) at Nellis AFB, Nevada and Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
The 23d Wing comprises the following operational groups:
- 23d Fighter Group (A/OA-10C)
- The 23d Fighter Group - The Flying Tigers - relocated from Pope Field, North Carolina in 2007. The group became part of the 23d Wing on 18 August 2006 in a ceremony held at Pope. A/OA-10Cs of the 23d Fighter Group are tail coded "FT" due to their Flying Tiger World War II heritage. Assigned squadrons are:
- 347th Rescue Group (HH-60G, HC-130P)
- The 347th Rescue Group directs flying and readiness of one of two U.S. Air Force active duty Rescue Groups dedicated to Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). Members assigned to the 347 RQG are responsible for training/readiness of 1,100 personnel, including a pararescue squadron, two flying squadrons (HC-130 and HH-60) and an operations support squadron. The group also deploys worldwide in support of National Command Authority taskings. Assigned squadrons are:
- 563d Rescue Group (HC-130, HH-60)
- The 563d Rescue Group directs flying operations as one of two rescue groups in the active duty Air Force dedicated to Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). As a GSU of its parent wing, the 563 RQG is responsible for both training and readiness and aircraft maintenance of one HC-130 squadron and two HH-60 squadrons, as well as the training and readiness of two pararescue squadrons, two maintenance squadrons, and an operations support squadron operating from two geographically separated operating locations.
93d Air Ground Operations Wing
The 93d Air Ground Operations Wing (93d AGOW) is a non-flying active support wing activated on 25 January 2008. The 93d's mission is to manage and providing combat-ready tactical air control party personnel, battlefield weather and force protection assets for joint forces commanders.
- The 820th Base Defense Group is a Force Protection unit which provides Air Force Expeditionary Groups self-sustaining Force Protection capability for initial U.S. "first-in" forces to any operating location in support of the Air Force Global Engagement mission. The Group consists of four squadrons – the 822d Base Defense Squadron, which activated in September 2000, 823th BDS, which activated in January 2001, the 824th BDS which activated in November 2001 and the 820th Combat Operations Squadron, which activated in March 2009.
- The 1st Air Support Operations Group (1st ASOG), 3d Air Support Operations Group (3d ASOG) and 18th Air Support Operations Group (18th ASOG) are combat support units located at Joint Base Lewis-MCChord, Washington, Fort Hood, Texas and Pope Field, North Carolina respectively (supporting I Corp, III Corp and XVIII Airborne Corp respectively). Each ASOG provides Tactical Command and Control of air power assets to the Joint Forces Air Component Commander and Joint Forces Land Component Commander for combat operations.
Other Historical Facts
The life of the African American personnel of the base was immortalized in the comedy monologue with music, "Callin' Moody Field" by Miss Peaches, a rhythm and blues hit in the late 1950s.
Major commands to which assigned
* Note: Field placed on reduced status, 1 July 1946. Inactivated 15 August 1946. Reactivated 1 April 1951. Base remained under Major Command jurisdiction while in inactive status.
Major units assigned
Moody AFB is located at (30.980083, -83.214246).
As of the census of 2000, there were 993 people, 275 households, and 270 families residing in the base. The population density was 2,452.6 people per square mile (958.5/km²). There were 330 housing units at an average density of 815.1/sq mi (318.5/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 69.49% White, 23.26% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 2.52% Asian, 0.40% Pacific Islander, 2.42% from other races, and 1.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.55% of the population.
There were 275 households out of which 85.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 89.5% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 1.8% were non-families. 1.1% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.61 and the average family size was 3.63.
The median income for a household in the base was $36,058. The per capita income for the base was $11,452. About 2.8% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.1% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
- Avon Park Air Force Range
- Georgia World War II Army Airfields
- 30th Flying Training Wing (World War II)
- Moody Air Force Base, official web site
- FAA Airport Master Record for VAD ( PDF), effective 2007-12-20
- Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0-912799-53-6, ISBN 0-16-002261-4
- Moody AFB Fact Sheet
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Much of this text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the Moody Air Force Base website, http://www.moody.af.mil, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by:
- Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
- Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942-2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
- Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
- Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0-912799-53-6, ISBN 0-16-002261-4
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
- Shettle, M. L. (2005), Georgia's Army Airfields of World War II. ISBN 0-9643388-3-1
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
- Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Moody Air Force Base.|
- Moody Air Force Base, official site
- (PDF), effective August 20, 2015
- FAA Terminal Procedures for VAD, effective August 20, 2015
- Resources for this U.S. military airport: