Retired Aug. 1, 1966. Died May 29, 1976.
Henry Keppler Mooney was born in New Orleans, La., in 1910. He graduated from Warren Easton High School in New Orleans in 1926 and attended Marion Institute, Marion, Ala., and Tulane University in New Orleans before entering the U.S. Military Academy in July 1927. He graduated from West Point in June 1931 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering and military sciences.
From the U.S. Military Academy, Second Lieutenant Mooney was assigned to Randolph Field, Texas, as a student pilot, receiving his wings in September 1932 at Kelly Field. He holds the ratings of command pilot and senior aircraft observer.
Lieutenant Mooney's first duty station after Kelly Field was at Barksdale Field, Shreveport, La., where he was assigned to the 20th Pursuit Group. In 1936, Lieutenant Mooney was reassigned to the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Ill., where he completed the Aerial Photographic Course in May 1937. March Field, Riverside, Calif., was the lieutenant's next duty station where he was assigned to the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron.
In February 1940, Lieutenant Mooney was transferred overseas to the Panama Canal Zone. During the following three years his rise was rapid. His first command was the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron at France Field, a position he held from February 1940 until September 1941. It was during this period that he was promoted to captain and later to major.
In September 1941, Major Mooney assumed command of the 6th Bomb Group in the Canal Zone. In January 1942 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and in February 1942 he received his promotion to colonel.
From February 1943 until May 1943, Colonel Mooney was commander of all Army, Navy and Army Air Force troops in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. As a result of his exceptionally meritorious performance with this command, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
In May 1943 he took command of the 40th Bomb Group, which was returned to the United States to become the first group to be equipped with B-29s. His next assignment took him to Colorado Springs, Colo., in July 1943, where he was deputy chief of staff for the Second Air Force.
From January to August 1944, Colonel Mooney commanded the 15th Bombardment Operational Training Wing at Boise, Idaho. In August 1944 he departed for overseas and assumed command of the Fifteenth Air Force's 459th Bomb Group in Italy. Colonel Mooney flew 23 combat missions in B-24 Liberators as his squadrons struck hard at such notable targets as Ploesti, Schweinfurt, Munich and Vienna. For his meritorious war service, Colonel Mooney won the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.
In July 1945, Colonel Mooney returned to the U.S. and until December 1946 he was commander of the Redeployment and Separation Center, Drew Field, Tampa, Fla., and the Overseas Replacement Depot, Greensboro, N.C., respectively.
Colonel Mooney's next assignment was deputy director of military personnel at Headquarters U.S. Air Force which he held until August 1949, at which time he entered the National War College. Graduating in July 1950, he assumed command of the Strategic Air Command's 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. During his tour with the 91st, Colonel Mooney's abilities as an organizer and troubleshooter of operational tactical units was noted.
From May 1951 until November l952 he commanded the 4th Air Division at Barksdale. It was at this time he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
In November 1952, General Mooney moved to MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla., where he commanded SAC's 6th Air Division, the first B-47 air division in the command.
In August 1954, General Mooney was ordered to Lake Charles Air Force Base, La., where he assumed command of the 806th Air Division. On July 25, 1955, he received his promotion to major general and in August of that year he departed for March Air Force Base, Calif., where he became deputy commander of the Fifteenth Air Force.
While at Fifteenth Air Force, General Mooney personally directed the functions of a specially selected team to determine areas of weakness in the command and to identify where increased operational efficiency could be effected. The results of this survey, called the "Fresh Approach Concept, saved the Fifteenth Air Force $24 million a year. For this General Mooney was awarded the first oak leaf cluster to his Legion of Merit.
In July 1957, General Mooney was ordered to Spain where he assumed command of the Sixteenth Air Force, SAC's only overseas numbered air force.
On Sept. 1, 1960, General Mooney was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as vice commander of the Air Training Command.