Gen. Joseph H. Moore


The speed you quote is too low to be an X-15. The speed records being set by that historic craft were on the order of 4,000 mph (6,435 km/h). Nevertheless, I located the answer to your question by searching through official US Air Force biographies. Gen. Joseph H. Moore received the Bendix Trophy in 1959 for flying a Republic F-105 Thunderchief over a 100 kilometer closed course to establish a world speed record of 1,216 mph (1,956 km/h). Official speed records are measured over these closed courses and recorded by an international organization called the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). The Bendix Trophy was an annual award given to a military pilot for "an outstanding speed flight." It was discontinued after 1962.

Joseph Moore
Joseph Moore

Gen. Moore's exciting military career started in 1937 when he entered the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet training program, earning his wings in 1938. He was stationed in the Philippines at the start of World War II and piloted one of only three fighters that managed to become airborne just prior to Japanese attacks on US military installations. He claimed two kills in his first engagement, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After the Philippines fell to the Japanese, Moore relocated to Australia where he continued to serve with the Army Air Corps. He was later transferred to the European theater where he participated in D-Day and the invasion of Germany.

Following the war, Moore transitioned to command-level assignments in both Europe and the US. Among his many assignments included command of the 137th Fighter-Bomber Wing, Vice Chief of Staff for the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE), command of the 323d Fighter Bomber Wing, and chief of staff of the Ninth Air Force. By 1959, Moore had been promoted to Brigadier General (one star) and took command of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing. It was during this assignment that Gen. Moore set his speed record. This record would have occurred several years before the SR-71 set its (still standing) speed record for jet-powered aircraft of 2,200 mph in 1976, and the X-15 set its record for rocket-powered aircraft of 4,500 mph in 1967.

Gen. Moore later served as assistant deputy for operations at the Headquarters of the Tactical Air Command, commander of the Second Air Division in Vietnam, commander of the Seventh Air Force, vice commander in chief of the Pacific Air Forces, inspector general of the Air Force, and commander of NATO’s 6th Allied Tactical Air Force. He retired in 1971 at the rank of Lt. General (three stars). In addition to his Distinguished Service Cross, Gen. Moore's accomplishments also earned him the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.
- answer by Joe Yoon, 21 December 2003


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