Staten Island Web logo



The Power of a Petty Officer - RADM Bill Moffit, USN (Ret):

"In the summer of 1942 I had completed my first year of pre-medicine at the University of Southern California, but in the wake of the attack on Pearl harbor, I decided I had to get involved in doing something for our great country. My secret desire to become a career surfer would have to wait. In fact I was driving home from another great day on the beach when I visited a Navy recruiting office in Los Angeles. I told the young petty officer recruiter I was just looking at the possibilities.

'We're giving a short, multiple choice exam for Naval Aviation ... would you like to take it?'

Although I had planned to visit Army & Marine Corps recruiters that day I said, 'If it doesn't take too much time.'

I took the test, was about to gather up some brochures & leave when the recruiter said, 'There's a Navy doctor on board, giving physical exams for the aviation program. Why don't you let him give you a quick exam, since you're here?'

'If it doesn't take too much time' ...

By the time I left the recruiting office that day I had been designated a Naval Aviation Cadet, V-5. ... drove back to Santa Monica ...asking myself, 'What in the world have I done?'

Several months later, I was in Prescott, Arizona for Civilian Pilot Training in preparation for Pre-Flight School. ...

Right from the start I was entranced with flying airplanes: the Piper Cub J-3,Stearman Kaydet, Timn N2T, Vultee SNV & North American SNJ Texan. ...

Commissioned as an ensign I joined a fleet squadron, ultimately flying F4U Corsairs. ... In combat I was luck enough to shoot down 3 Japanese Zeroes & logged 36 missions. ...

When the war was over I married the girl I had met when we formed our air group, at Otis Field on Cape Cod. I logged another 97 missions in the Korean War, commanded an A-4 Skyhawk squadron in the early 1960s ... retiring in 1975.Then, I flew Beech Bonanzas, Piper Arrows & ... even bought a share in a Mooney 201.

My wife Junia & I raised 3 girls & 2 boys, the latter 2 becoming Naval Aviators. The youngest son of our oldest daughter is a Naval Academy graduate ...

Turns out that recruiting petty officer in Los Angeles in 1942 was a wizard. Look at what he did for us. Had he not been in his office that day, I would not have met my bride of 53 years, nor would I have 5 great kids. Counting yours truly, 2 sons & a grandson, all in Naval Aviation, is a pretty good yield for that recruiter. Oh that I new his name & whereabouts. I would love to tell him how his actions influenced 3 generations of our family in Naval Aviation.



Staten Island WebŪ Forums Index.