Congratulations to The State for the Nov. 4 article on
World War II's Black Sheep Squadron and its commander, World
War -11 ace, Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. Jeff
Wilkinson's excellent article also celebrated the participation
of members of this famous Marine squadron in Columbia's
Veteran's Day activities. The article, however, failed to
mention the role played in the history of the Black Sheep
Squadron by Columbia native Maj. Gen. James Tillinghast
Moore, USMC. Gen. Moore, deputy commanding general of the
Pacific First Marine Aviation Wing, was the principal sponsor
and mentor of "Pappy" Boyington and the Black
Sheep Squadron. 10 the popular TV series of the 1970s, "Baa
Baa Black Sheep," actor. Robert Conrad played "Pappy"
Boyington, and actor Simon Oakland played Gen. Moore.
No other fighter pilot in US history has been a true-life
main character for a television series. Both in the TV series
and real life, Boyington is relieved of command and sometimes
faces disciplinary action from his immediate superiors for
his frequent antics and unorthodox ways. Gen. Moore periodically
intervenes and puts Boyington back in command of the Black
Sheep Squadron. He was Boyington's supporter and protector.
Bruce Gamble, in the first biography of Boyington, tided
"Black Sheep One," suggests that the actual concept
of the squadron was Gen. Moore's. "The results were
legendary," Gamble wrote.
The record of the Black Sheep Squadron was tops in the
Pacific Theater. Later "Pappy" Boyington was awarded
the Congressional Medal of. Honor, with Gen. Moore's endorsement.
Gen. Moore was later commanding general of the Marine aviation
wing, and at the end of World War II, he was commanding
general of all Marine aviation in the Pacific and ended
the war with the rank of lieutenant general. He was affectionately
called James "Nuts" Moore by his aviators And
fellow Marines. He was called " Tillinghast" by
his South Carolina Moore family. Gem Moore graduated from
The Citadel in 1919 and was a pioneer in Marine aviation.
His portrait is in a place of honor in The Citadel library
with other noted Citadel alumni. He died in 1953 and is
buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Barnwell.
Gen. Moore should be remembered for his recognition of
the potential and sponsorship of the Black Sheep Squadron
and keeping its controversial commander, "Pappy"
Boyington, America's No. I Marine ace, in the war.
E. RAY MOORE JR.