Thomas Hinman Moorer

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Thomas Hinman Moorer
ADM Thomas Moorer.JPG
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, U.S. Navy
Born (1912-02-09)February 9, 1912
Mount Willing, Alabama, U.S.
Died February 5, 2004(2004-02-05) (aged 91)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1933–1974
Rank US Navy O10 infobox.svg Admiral
Commands held Chief of Naval Operations
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (5)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Gray Eagle Award

Thomas Hinman Moorer (February 9, 1912 – February 5, 2004) was an admiral and naval aviator in the United States Navy who served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1967 to 1970, and as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974.

External audio
You may watch an interview with Thomas Moorer about his experiences serving during the Vietnam War[1]

Early life and education

Moorer was born in Mount Willing, Alabama on February 9, 1912. His father, a dentist, named his son for his favorite professor at Atlanta-Southern Dental College, Dr. Thomas Hinman. Moorer was raised in Eufaula, Alabama.


Senior U.S. Navy commanders pose around an illuminated globe in 1968: Admirals John J. Hyland, John S. McCain, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations Moorer, and Ephraim P. Holmes.

Moorer graduated from the United States Naval Academy on June 1, 1933 and was commissioned an ensign.[2] After completing Naval Aviation training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1936, he flew with fighter squadrons based on the aircraft carriers USS Langley, USS Lexington and USS Enterprise.

World War II

In addition to his carrier-based fighter experience, Moorer also qualified in seaplanes and flew with a patrol squadron in the early years of World War II. Serving with Patrol Squadron Twenty-Two[3] at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the Japanese Empire attacked on December 7, 1941, his squadron subsequently participated in the 1941-42 Dutch East Indies Campaign in the southwest Pacific, where he flew numerous combat missions. Moorer received a Purple Heart after being shot down and wounded off the coast of Australia on 19 February 1942 and then surviving an attack on the rescue ship, Florence D., which was bombed and sunk the same day by enemy aircraft involved in the first Bombing of Darwin.[2][4] Moorer also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor three months later when he braved Japanese air superiority to fly supplies into, and evacuate wounded out of the island of Timor.[2]

Vietnam War

Promoted to vice admiral to 1962, and to admiral in 1964, Moorer served both as Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet and Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet — the first Navy officer to have commanded both fleets. Moorer was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident and ordered an internal investigation into the conflicting reports which emerged following the event.[1]

Moorer served as the Chief of Naval Operations between 1967 and 1970, at the height of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and worked closely with the most senior officers in the U.S. Military and Government.[1]

Attack on the USS Liberty

Moorer believed that the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 was a deliberate act on the part of the Israelis and that President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the cover-up to maintain ties with Israel.[5][6]

Moorer stated that "Israel attempted to prevent the Liberty's radio operators from sending a call for help by jamming American emergency radio channels.[And that] Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned lifeboats at close range that had been lowered to rescue the most-seriously wounded." Moorer stated that there had been a conspiracy to cover up the event and asked whether "our government put Israel's interests ahead of our own? If so, Why? Does our government continue to subordinate American interests to Israeli interests?"[6]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Admiral Moorer also served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 until 1974.

On March 31, 1970 he became a member of the Alabama Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). He was assigned national SAR member number 99,634 and Alabama Society number 759. He was later awarded the Society's Gold Good Citizenship Medal. He was also a member of the Naval Order of the United States.

While Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Moorer personally masterminded the 1972 mining of Hai Phong Harbor and believed that if such an operation had been conducted in 1964 it would have "made a significant difference in the outcome of the war."[1]

Upon completion of his second two-year term as CJCS, Moorer retired from the Navy on July 1, 1974.


Moorer died on February 5, 2004, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland at the age of 91. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


The National Guard Armory (Fort Thomas H. Moorer Armory) in Fort Deposit, Alabama is named after Moorer, as is a middle school in Eufaula, Alabama.

Awards and decorations

U.S. military personal decorations, unit awards, campaign awards

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg Naval Aviator badge
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal with four Gold Award stars
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal with A Device
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Europe and Asia Clasps
China Service Medal ribbon.svg China Service Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
AFEMRib.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg Vietnam Service Medal
Philippine Defense ribbon.png Philippine Defense Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon.png Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960- device.

Foreign personal decorations

He also has been decorated by thirteen foreign governments:

Civilian awards


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "WGBH Open Vault - Interview with Thomas H. Moorer, 1981".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Admiral Thomas Hinman Moorer, USN (Ret.)". Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved September 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "VPNAVY - VP-22 History Summary Page - VP Patrol Squadron".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Gibson, Charles Dana & Gibson, E. Kay 2008, p. 171, fn 7.
  5. "Ex-Navy Official: 1967 Israeli Attack on U.S. Ship Was Deliberate". Associated Press. 2003-10-23. Retrieved 2008-11-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Thomas Moorer (11 January 2004). "Betrayal behind Israeli attack on U.S. ship". Houston Chronicle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "CIDADÃOS ESTRANGEIROS AGRACIADOS COM ORDENS PORTUGUESAS - Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Gibson, Charles Dana; Gibson, E. Kay (July 2008), "Attempts to Supply The Philippines by Sea: 1942" (PDF), Northern Mariner / Le Marin du Nord (Journal of Canadian Nautical Research Society/Société canadienne pour la recherche nautique), XVIII (Issue 3/4): 163CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) (February 5, 2004). "Death of Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Thomas M. Moorer" (Press release). U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2005-03-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • RADM Clarence A. (Mark) Hill, Jr.,USN (Ret) (24 February 2004). "In Memory of Adm. Thomas Moorer (eulogy)". Archived from the original on 2004-12-05. Retrieved 2005-03-24.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
U.S. Grant Sharp, Jr.
Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet
26 June 1964 – 30 March 1965
Succeeded by
Roy L. Johnson
Preceded by
Harold Page Smith
Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
30 Apr 1965 – 17 Jun 1967
Succeeded by
Ephraim P. Holmes
Preceded by
Harold Page Smith
Commander in Chief of the United States Atlantic Command
30 Apr 1965 – 17 Jun 1967
Succeeded by
Ephraim P. Holmes
Preceded by
Harold Page Smith
Commander in Chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet
30 Apr 1965 – 17 Jun 1967
Succeeded by
Ephraim P. Holmes
Preceded by
David L. McDonald
United States Chief of Naval Operations
1 August 1967 – 1 July 1970
Succeeded by
Elmo R. Zumwalt
Preceded by
Earle G. Wheeler
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
July 2, 1970 – July 1, 1974
Succeeded by
George S. Brown