Lakehurst Naval Base, along with the nation, lost a hero this week.
The last sky sailor from the World War II era of blimp patrols for German U boats, died on Tuesday, according to Carl Jablonski, president of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society.
Clarence C. "C.C." Moore was 90 when he passed away in his Whiting, Manchester home.
On Monday, 12 navy sailors gave Moore a deserving sendoff in a 21-gun salute at a military funeral at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetary Arneytown, New Egypt.
Moore joined the navy in 1938. Two years later he was accepted into the Navy's last Lighter Than Air (LTA) training class. Though he retired from the Navy in 1959 and the airship program ended in 1962, when he was 80 Moore made another appearance.
With the new millenium came a renewed interest in the blimp. And whom did they call upon for his expertise? Yes, C.C. Moore. On Oct. 26, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory unveiled the MZ-3A airship, according to the Homeland Security Newswire. For now, it is the only manned airship in the U.S. Navy's inventory.
"I'm glad he lived long enough to get the program started," stated Jablonski. "We did pick his brain. The [government] realized what a great surveillance tool [the airship] is. It is very economical to operate. It was on the homeland security end."
Economy and logistics aside, Jablonski becomes emotional when talking about the day Moore died. Jablonski just happened to be in Whiting that day when, of all things, the MZ-3A flew over on its way to North Carolina... at about the same time Moore died. "It passed over his head. Like I said, you could say he hitched a ride."
Among Moore's other contributions to society, he was Trustee Emeritus for Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, past Vice President of the Naval Airship Association, lifetime member of the Elks Lodge in Lakewood, member of the Fleet Reserve and past member of the Toms River School Board. He was an usher at St. Barnabas Church, Bayville and communicant of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Whiting.
The Ready Room at historic hanger number one at Lakehurst (where the Hindenburg once moored and eventually crashed) is dedicated to Chief Clarence "C.C." Moore in perpetuity.
And it was the simple things that mattered to Moore, too. Daughter Barbara Kemph, of Toms River, said her father was always a ball of energy. "Whenever I was sick he would always drive from Whiting to my home in Toms River with a container of soup," she said.
Moore is survived by his wife, Catherine, of more than 66 years; daughter Deidre Lasfar of Virginia Beach, VA; daughter Cynthia Kennedy of Pensacola, FL, daughter Barbara Kemph of Toms River and son, Ronald, of Mount Laurel, and many grandchildren nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.