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Sanford K Moats


Born in Kansas City, Missouri on 4 December 1921, Sanford Kenneth Moats attended Kansas State College before entering the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet. He completed pilot training and received his commission as a second lieutenant in December 1943.

Sent to England in early 1944, he was assigned to the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group, stationed at Bodney. Flying the P-51 Mustang he was credited with 8 and a half German aircraft destroyed between 18 July 1944 and 1 January 1945, including four FW-190s on New Year's Day.

Moats was transferred to the Pacific Theater in 1945 and, following the surrender of Japan, was assigned to USAAF Headquarters in Washington D.C. From 1947 to 1955, he served with the 81st Fighter Wing at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, completed an exchange tour with the U.S. Marine Corps, then retuned to the 81st Fighter Wing, this time at Bentwaters, England, as operations officer and later as commander of the 91st Fighter Squadron.

The next 10 years saw Colonel Moats move to the Pentagon, to Otis AFB, Massachusetts to command the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squad­ron, to 26th Air Division Headquarters at Syracuse, New York, and finally to Taiwan where he was assigned to the Military Assistance
Advisory Group.

In 1965 Moats became vice commander of the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing at England AFB,, and flew 18 combat missions with the wing in Vietnam during temporary employment to southeast Asia.
Following the Wing's move to Torrejon, Spain, he became wing commander and, after his promotion to brigadier general, was named vice commander of Sixteenth Air Force.

From 1969 to 1975, General Moats-was vice commander, Tenth Air Force, commander of the 2fth Air Division, commander of Sixteenth Air Force and commander of the Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force in Turkey. In 1975 he became vice-commander of the Tactical Air Com­mand, from which he retired as a lieutenant general on 1 July 1977.

Tally Record: 8 1/2 confirmed, one damaged.

Decorations: Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service
Medal with two Oak leaf clusters, legion of Merit, Distinguished
Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with 11 Oak leaf
Clusters, Spanish Grand Cross with White Ribbon and Belgian Croix
de Guerre with palm.


Units served with

  • 352nd Fighter Group

    352nd Fighter Group

    The 352nd Fighter Group were based at Bodney, Norfolk from July 1943 until November 1945 but in the winter months of 1944/1945 detachments moved to bases in Belgium to provide extra air support to ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge and to...

  • 487th Fighter Squadron



Date Contributor Update
26 September 2018 11:19:18 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography, awards and events

Correspondence from Lee Cook, Author, relating to the 356th Fighter Group .

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:25:02 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list / unit history