Moody Air Force Base

George P. MoodyGeorge P. Moody

Moody Air Force Base was created on May 14, 1941, when the War Department of the U.S. Government was granted exclusive use of the land northeast of Valdosta, known as the Lakeland Flatwoods Project, by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Valdosta Airfield, as it was originally named, opened in September 1941, and was renamed Moody Army Airfield that December in honor of Major George Putnam Moody.  Moody passed away in an aircraft testing accident in Wichita, Kansas on the May 5, 1941. At the time of the crash, Major Moody was working with the Beech Aircraft Company on the inspection board for AT-10 transitional trainers, which, incidentally, were later sent to Moody Air Force Base.

On September 21, 1954, Moody was designated as the 255th Combat Crew Training Wing, gaining status as a permanent institution. Moody then became part of Air Training Command in 1958, being designated as the 3550th Flying Training Wing with the purpose of training all-weather interceptor pilots. This training wing was re-designated the 38th Flying Training Wing in 1973, though no changes in personnel were made. However, change did come 2 years later when the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing was relocated to Moody from a base in Thailand. The two previously mentioned training squadrons were replaced by three McDonnel Douglas F-4E Phantom II squadrons.

January 26, 1990 marked the arrival of the first F-16C model of airplane. Wing pilots then began training with the Low Altitude Navigation Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN). This increases the the ability to strike targets at night and in bad weather.

Moody’s 247th Fighter Wing was re-designated the 347th Wing on July 1, 1994. On the same day, the 52nd Airlift Squadron brought 10 C-130 Hercules aircraft to Moody. Early the next year, a squadron of AIOA-10 Thunderbolts arrived.

One interesting aspect of Moody’s history is that George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, completed his flight training there in 1969. He even dated a Valdosta State College cheerleader during his time in town.

George Bush at Moody

George W. Bush with his father George H. W. Bush upon completing his flight training at Moody.