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Leo Claire Moon


From about Aug 1943 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Major Moon was Commanding Officer of the 508th Fighter Squadron. (Wikipedia: 508th Fighter Squadron)
In January 1945 he participated in the conception, design and execution of the 404th Group insignia. He assumed command of the 404th Group from 22 Nov 1944. 17 April 1945 he was shipped home to Kamiah, Idaho after nearly 130 combat missions. ("Leap Off," pp. 3, 96, 179, 221.


Units served with

  • 404th Fighter Group

    404th Fighter Group

    A unit history of the 404th Fighter Group is available online as a pdf:

  • 508th Fighter Squadron

    508th Fighter Squadron

    "During one of the many breaks in operations caused by weather, Lieut. Col. Cowart of the 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion introduced to pilots of the [404th FB] Group a radar set known as the SCR-584 (Signal Corps Radio). It had the ability to...

  • Headquarters (404th Fighter Group)

Associated Place

  • Winkton

    Military site : airfield
    Prepared as an RAF Advanced Landing Ground in 1943, the land was released for grazing before it was again selected for aircraft use, and improved for the Ninth Air Force in 1944. Used briefly by the 404th Fighter Group, it was then abandoned,...

  • Juvincourt

    Military site : airfield

  • Chipelle

    Military site : airfield

  • St Trond

    Military site : airfield

  • Bretigny

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Harrisburg, Idaho 16 August 1918
Combat Mission Bethune, France 7 May 1944
Combat Mission near Chartres, France 10 May 1944

Destroyed one locomotive

Combat Mission Montain, France 9 August 1944
Combat Mission Falaise Gap, near Argentan, France 14 August 1944

Eight ships of the 508th, led by Major Leo Moon about midday, claimed the destruction of at least 15 tanks, three heavy anti-tank guns and five ammunition trucks. They reported the Germans in such headlong retreat their tanks were running with turrets reversed, firing on the move at American tanks a quarter of a mile behind.
"Tanks were running off the main road to cover on side roads in all directions," Moon said. "And we'd blast 'em with bombs or strafing attacks as fast as we could spot them,"

When the squadron circled back, the American armor pursuing the Germans was passing through Putanges. The head of the column had reached half a mile north of town, apparently blocked by two burning German tanks at that point, A P-38 squadron was on its way to relieve the 508th.

Moon said the low level attacks not only apparently knocked out any German attempt to slow the American armor, but completely disorganized them. Not a single burst of flak was reported.

"Our only damage was some bent leading edges where empty shell cases banged against the wings of the following planes. That was because we went in so close together with guns firing," Moon explained.

"It was a picnic for us," said Moon. "It was the best day we've ever had. The Germans were being driven frantic. If they moved, we'd blast 'em If they stopped, our tanks would get them."

Combat Mission Aachen, Germany 8 September 1944

TAC abruptly switched the Group north again, and Major Moon and the 508th became the first in the Group to attack targets in Germany. The 16-ship formation, with 12 planes carrying bombs, traveled in the late
afternoon to Aachen, and plastered the nearby marshalling yards, destroying or damaging some 40 freight cars and nine locomotives. The first close look at Germany was interesting, revealing plenty of rail-targets in the marshalling yards of the Rhineland, and factories puffing smoke and apparently in full operation at Eschweiler and Stolberg, east of Aachen.

"Little Caesar" with mock bravado scoffed at the quantity of heavy and light flak fired at the formation, commenting that those "silly so-and-so's should get some more training before they waste all their ammunition." But the enemy barrage was all too effective, knocking out of the sky a young newcomer, Second Lieut. William R. Hardin. No one saw him go down, but he failed to return from the mission and never was heard from again.

Enlisted Eschweiler, Germany 20 October 1944

Only one squadron mission-the first of the day-struck at Aachen October 20th. That was a 12-ship attack by Lt. Col. Moon and the 508th on a crossroads near Haaren, north of the city. Four other missions in squadron strength took off during the day, striking in sequence at Kohlscheid, a heavily defended village five miles north of Aachen; dropping leaflets over Monschau Forest, 20 miles to the southeast; beating up a railroad tunnel near Eschweiler, and a bridge and section of track just east of the town.

appointed 404th FG Commander St. Truiden Airfield, Belgium 25 November 1944
Died Tarrant County, Texas 20 January 2013

Leo C. Moon, 94, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. Service: The family will receive friends at a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Thompson's Harveson & Cole Funeral Home. Funeral will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, in Kamiah, Idaho. Interment: Woodlands Cemetery, Kamiah, Idaho. Leo Claire Moon was born Aug. 16, 1918, in Harrisburg, Idaho, son of the late Martha Benbow and Clyde Moon. He served a distinguished career in the United States Air Force and retired in 1964. He was a gifted pilot who taught hundreds from around the world until the age of 83. A marksman, angler, mathematician and gunsmith, he was our mentor, a devoted husband and a loving father. Memories of our lives with you will remain forever in our hearts. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Dorothea O'Brien Moon; son-in-law, Beverly Nix Coiner Sr.; and grandson, Taylor Moon. Survivors: Children, Michael Moon of Fort Worth, Randall Moon and wife, Holly, of Seattle, Wash., Kathleen Moon Coiner of San Antonio, William Moon and wife, Susan, of Keller, John Moon and wife, Maria, of Fort Worth; grandchildren, Melissa Marcelloni and husband, Jacob, Ryan Moon, Beverly Nix Coiner Jr., Samantha Moon, Christopher Moon, Michael Moon; great-grandchildren, Emma and Isaiah Marcelloni.
Published in Star-Telegram on January 22, 2013

Buried Woodland, Idaho 23 January 2013

Woodland Cemetery
Woodland, Idaho County, Idaho, USA


Date Contributor Update
17 May 2019 00:53:11 466thHistorian Changes to nickname, highest rank, biography and events

Date Contributor Update
16 May 2019 19:14:08 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, service number, role, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2018 15:54:08 508thRadarMan Changes to unit associations

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2018 05:01:48 508thRadarMan Changes to biography

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2018 04:50:01 508thRadarMan Changes to highest rank

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2018 04:08:39 508thRadarMan Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography and unit associations