Staff Sergeant Henry L. Moore (1921-2012)

HENRY L. MOORE Documented Original Tuskegee Airman Staff Sergeant / Crew Chief 302nd FS, 99th FS, 100th FS – Italy 1944/45

Henry Lincoln Moore was born April 8, 1921 in Ocilla, Georgia to the late Andrew and Eliza Moore. From humble beginnings Henry L. Moore graduated from Ocilla High School in 1940 as valedictorian. Like many young people at that time, he decided to go up North to try to escape segregation and poverty during the Great Migration. As was the law at the time, Henry informed his local draft board that he was leaving Ocilla and headed north to Newark, New Jersey to stay with a sister. Opportunities were not any better there for Moore. Though the defense industry was starting to boom, jobs for young black men were not available. He so detested the racism he still encountered that he considered going to further North Canada when he got the letter of greetings from his local draft board. He was called to serve in World War II.

At Fort Dix New Jersey the busload of draftees from Newark arrived on September 22, 1942. While there, Moore was tested and drilled for about two weeks. The recruits were then sent via train to Buckley Field, Colorado near Denver destined for the 86th Aviation Squadron set up on base to contain Black draftees during the war.

By November 1942, Moore applied for aviation cadet training. He found the opportunity to take the test for airplane mechanic training and passed, immediately receiving orders to report to school for Airplane Mechanics. In January, the men boarded a public train to Lincoln Air Base in Nebraska.

In June 1943, Henry L. Moore graduated with the only class of Black airplane mechanics from the Technical Training School. Half his class were sent directly to Tuskegee, Alabama while Moore arrived with the first half in Detroit to go to Selfridge Field.

On December 23, 1943, the 332nd traveled to Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia where they were on their way to connect with an Italy bound convoy. In 1944, Moore became a Crew Chief and worked on B-25 bombers throughout the Mediterranean Theater. Moore organized the 332nd dance band, playing trumpet. He transferred to the famed 99th Fighter Squadron at Ramitelli, Italy. Moore’s military career was distinguished to include seven battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation from FDR for his role supporting 1,600-mile mission escorting bombers over Berlin, Germany in March 1945. Moore was honorably discharged from the 100th Fighter Squadron in October 1945.

Post military, Moore attended West Virginia State College (now University) on the G.I. Bill. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in physics, magna cum laude. At Virginia State, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. As a lifetime member of Sigma, Honorable Brother Henry L. Moore was elected to the Distinguished Service Chapter in 1991.

On his first day on campus Moore met Mary Ion Ewell. They married on Sept. 8, 1951. From 1951 Moore’s career focused on electronics engineering, first as a Research Physicist then promoted to Supervisory Electronic Engineer at the Philadelphia Naval Base. His work continued at Frankford Arsenal for several years. In 1960 Moore obtained a Master’s degree in physics from Temple University. After 26 years of government service, he retired as Chief of Electronic Countermeasures at the Naval Air Development Center.

Moore joined the School District of Philadelphia as a teacher of science and math to complete his second career in education at Lincoln High School in 1983. While at a Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) conference in 1995, he traveled “Back to “skegee”. He became a life member of Tuskegee Airman Incorporated and served as President of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. When the Tuskegee Airmen were award the Congressional Medal of Honor, Moore attended the prestigious White House ceremony in 2007. There they met Senator Obama for the first time unaware they would be invited to his presidential inaugural less than two years later.

At the national TAI convention in July 2012 Moore was elected Parliamentarian for the second time, having served the national board position from 2006 to 2008. Henry L. Moore died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the age of 91 on September 15, 2012. From his union of 61 years with Mary Ion Moore, he celebrated a wonderful life with his two daughters, Nadene Moore and Meva Moore Justice, son-in-law Kenneth Justice, grandsons Keith and Mark Justice. Aside from his great accomplishments, he felt that his most important role was as a husband, father, grandfather and mentor to many.

Henry standing center third from the right just under the rabbit on a B-24 that made an emergency landing and was later repaired.