Spread over two counties – Lanier and Lowndes – and less than 15 km away from Valdosta, Moody Air Force Base is one of the multitude of military installations built to support World War II, prior to the United States of America joining it. Its current mission is to provide air support, search and rescue operations for humanitarian purposes. It is actively involved in the recent conflicts of the Middle East. The base is named in the memory of George Putnam Moody (1908-1941), one of the pioneers of the US Air Force. He was killed in a plane crash while testing one of the most advanced equipments of those times. The AT 10 machine he was flying was then intensively used throughout World War II.
The base origins date back to 1940, when a small committee formed of local citizens was looking for a potential spot for a military base to increase the defense in the area. By the end of the year, they found the perfect place. They invited the authorities to see it through an official letter. The proposal was rejected, as the authorities decided the place was not good enough. Instead, the Air Corps started looking for a different spot. The new place was owned by the Department of Agriculture. By the summer of 1941, the ownership was changed and the construction began the same year. By July, it was ready. The project “ate” $3.4M and included the construction of 160 buildings. More than 70 of them were barracks. Over 4000 men were deployed there.
Moody AFB played a major role during World War II. Some of the most experienced pilots in the world graduated from the local schools. However, the demands decreased in intensity by 1945. In 1946, it adopted a stand-by position and the training sessions were ceased. Over the upcoming decades, the place was taken through a few series of upgrades.
The upcoming wars and especially the Korean War brought in a new wave of students and professionals at the base. These days, the base was the subject of the 2005 commission for base realignment and closure. It was not closed, nor forced to merge with another facility. Instead, it was restructured. Among the most famous people who trained at this base, you can count the former US president George W. Bush. At the same time, the base was included in the “cast” for “Callin’ Moody Field”, in the ’50s.
The most important unit hosted at Moody Air Force Base is the 23-rd Wing. It deals with operations all over the world and consists of four groups – medical, maintenance, fighter and mission support. At the same time, the 347-th Rescue Group and the 563-rd Rescue Group also see this base as home.
Moody Air Force Base hosts 9 tenant and associate units too, such as the 93-rd Air Ground Operations Wing, the 820-th Base Defense Group or the 336-th Recruiting Squadron. All of them work together for the good going of the military base.