by Jess Clackum
In the 1970s, the Army had entered a time of change. The feminist movement, elimination of the draft and the Vietnam War had influenced a change in policies and a shift toward equality and increased opportunities for women in the military.
Major Katie McKnight Moore was one of the courageous women who joined the Army during its time of change. Having grown up an Air Force brat and proud daughter of a B-17 Bombardier with the 8th Air Force in WWII, she was heavily influenced by her father's bravery and devotion to duty. Her father was shot down over Germany on his 33rd mission, he and his crew barely escaped before their plane exploded midair. The entire crew was captured and spent the rest of the war at Stalag Luft #1, a German POW camp. Years later during the Vietnam War, Moore's father commanded an airlift squadron supporting US Special Forces before until his retirement in 1968. His military service and devotion to duty and country was passed on to his daughter.
Upon earning a Bachelor's degree in Business with minors in Economics and English Lit from the United States International University in San Diego, Major Moore carefully considered her options for her future. After a short and forgettable stint in the banking industry, she considered military service and after visiting with a number of recruiters in spring 1976, she knew she'd found her calling. Given opportunities in all five branches of the Armed Forces were extremely limited at that time, she was thankful when the Army contacted her and welcomed her to join.
After Basic Training, Moore trained in military intelligence at Fort Huachuca. A year later, she attended OCS. After graduation, she returned to intelligence at Fort Huachuca where she met a number of Army pilots who convinced her that she too could fly. It wasn't long before she attended flight school in Fort Rucker and trained to fly helicopters and twin engine turbo prop planes.
In addition to serving as a military intelligence officer, Major Moore spent her career flying and managing flight detachments, Army air fields, and aviation companies. Twenty years later, in 1996, she retired to Atlanta where she began a career as an Aircraft Flight Dispatcher. There, she utilized the skills she learned as an Army Aviator. After retirement in 2010, she relocated to Florida to spend time with her family, especially her father, with whom she was extremely close all her life, until his death at the age of 91.
Major Moore acknowledges the women who broke barriers three decades before her service, making it possible for her to have the opportunities she did.
"The same year I enlisted in the Army, 1976, the USAF started accepting women to their flight training program. The Navy and the Army had started accepting women to their flight training programs two years before, in 1974. The announcement by the USAF that they were training women to be Air Force pilots for the first time enraged the women who had been WASP and rightfully so!! It was not until 1976 that the WASP started seriously working to gain recognition and it took decades for them to achieve it.
That is why the scripted TV series Fly Girls is so important and critical. The vast majority of the 1,074 women who graduated from the WASP program have passed away. Very few of them and The Greatest Generation, to which they were an integral part, are still with us."
Major Moore did for today's military women, what the WASP did for her generation. She had a dream and she lived it. Her courage and determination helped break down gender barriers and open opportunities for women to serve in all branches of the military and for that, we are grateful!