Cornelius Nooy was born on April 15, 1921, in Smithtown, New York. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Ornamental Horticulture from the New York State Institute of Agriculture in 1941, and enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on March 18, 1942, beginning flight training on August 1, 1942. Nooy was commissioned an Ensign on August 6, 1942, and was designated a Naval Aviator on January 15, 1943. After completing fighter and carrier training, he was assigned to VF-31 from April 1943 to August 1945, first aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Cabot (CVL-28), from January to September 1944, and later aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) from July to August 1945. During this time he was credited with the destruction of 19 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 3 probables and 2 damaged. Nooy left active duty on December 28, 1945, and served in the Naval Reserve until his death on March 12, 1958.
His 1st (of 3) Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism as Pilot of a Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron THIRTY ONE, attached to the U.S.S. CABOT, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area, on July 4, 1944. Participating in the initial fighter sweep over the Japanese-controlled Bonin Islands, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade,) Nooy fought his plane gallantly against the enemy, dived from an altitude of ten thousand feet to destroy a hostile fighter which was pursuing a friendly plane about fifty feet above the ocean. During this same action, Lieutenant Nooy shot down three other enemy aircraft and probably destroyed a fourth. By his fighting spirit, initiative and courage, Lieutenant Nooy contributed materially to the success of our operations in this area, and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.