Moffett Field society, museum host Medal of Honor ceremony

Sherry Oppenheim/Special to the Town Crier
Four generations of the Moffett family attend the April 22 Medal of Honor ceremony at Moffett Field commemorating the sacrifice of the late Rear Adm. William A. Moffett.

The Moffett Field Historical Society and Museum hosted a ceremony April 22 marking the addition of two key items to its exhibition honoring the late Rear Adm. William A. Moffett, also known as the “Father of Naval Aviation,” after whom Moffett Field is named.

After a multiyear effort, the U.S. Department of the Navy delivered a duplicate of Moffett’s Medal of Honor for display at the museum.

Moffett, who served as the first chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics, died in the crash of the naval airship USS Akron off the New Jersey coast in 1933. Following his death, the Sunnyvale Naval Air Station was renamed in his honor.

A crowd of nearly 100 people – including local military officials, veterans groups, a representative from U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo’s office, NASA Ames Research Center Director Eugene Tu, Google Inc. employees and more than 20 members of the Moffett family – attended the ceremony, which also commemorated the delivery of Moffett’s ceremonial sword to the museum.

Retired Rear Adm. James Schear recounted Moffett’s heroic actions in the harbor of Veracruz April 22, 1914, when he brought his warship into the bay at night without a pilot and suffered withering fire in the ensuing battle.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. William A. Moffett III attended to share stories of his grandfather and to donate his grandfather’s sword, which he had found among his father’s things and first doubted was genuine because Moffett’s middle name, etched onto the blade, was misspelled. Moffett museum president Harold “Herb” Parsons knew about the error and was able to confirm the sword’s authenticity.

The Medal of Honor was placed in a custom-made case and will become the centerpiece of an already large collection of Moffett family artifacts at the museum.

The museum is located at 126 Severyns Ave., on Moffett Field in Mountain View. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for youth ages 13-17 and free for children 12 and under, currently serving military and museum members.

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