VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Within the confines of the 30th Space Wing Headquarters building lies a now vacant office. Standing outside is a man surveying his once professional abode. His office, once adorned with mementos garnered during his almost three decades of service, is now empty of such ornamentations. All that remain are a man and his memories, not only of his time at Vandenberg, but of a long, distinguished Air Force career.
Col. J. Christopher Moss, who had his retirement ceremony June 2, reminisced on his 26 years in the Air Force, including his last two as commander of the 30th Space Wing.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” said Moss. “The Air Force is all I’ve ever known as an adult, so it’s hard to leave. This is the only thing my family has ever known, but the timing just seemed right for us. I’ll tell you, it comes up quick. You don’t think it does but it comes up quick. The only word I can think of is bittersweet. I feel like it’s time for us to go so I feel good about it, but at the same time I feel very sad that we’re leaving.”
Throughout his Air Force career, Moss continuously impressed his fellow Airmen at every assignment. One, however, believes Moss’ performance reached its apex in his final role.
“Col. Moss has led a distinguished career and, having had the privilege of serving as the 30th Space Wing commander, I can say with a high degree of certainty that he saved the best for last,” said Lt. Gen. David J. Buck, commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) and Joint Functional Component Command for Space. “We have been fortunate to have him and his family as part of our Air Force family for so long, and I am grateful for the chance to have served alongside him.”
Although impossible to pick one definitive event, Moss discussed one of his favorite aspects of the job.
“Chief [Bedell] and I get to do these things together where we get a chance to talk to the Airman Leadership School students, or the NCO enhancement seminar, or the Officer Professional Development,” said Moss. “Those kinds of smaller group sessions where we just get a chance to talk about what it is to be an Airman, about what it is to be an Airman at Vandenberg – I think those are my favorite moments. They’re motivational. You get to hear all the things that people are doing, what inspires them, what made them want to be in the Air Force and you just get a chance to talk about that and share it as Airmen. It’s pretty cool.”
Beginning his new career in a similar mentorship role, Moss will be responsible for shaping the minds of today’s youth in the classroom.
“We’re going to go down to Arizona and I’m going to become the principal of a combined junior and senior high school,” said Moss. “It’s going to be something kind of outside the military experience, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Moss hopes to make an impact with students and communicate the importance of an education.
“Getting the chance to be around young people, it’s about mentoring and setting a good example,” said Moss. “It’s about teaching discipline, values, ethics, and commitment. Being part of a team and being part of something bigger than yourself, and hopefully, helping young people understand how critical education is. It’s one thing simply to go through school, but it’s another thing to learn while you’re there and learn the skills that will make you successful in life.”
Regardless of their day-to-day job or responsibility, Moss tasked Team V members to take great satisfaction in their contributions to the 30th SW.
“Continue to take pride in what you do here and never take it for granted,” said Moss. “I think sometimes you talk to some of our Airmen and they do amazing things and they take them for granted. They talk about some truly phenomenal actions as if they’re routine and normal. It is not routine to be a critical part of responding to a 12,000-acre wildfire, it is not a normal thing to be out battling 50-knot winds in the face of historic rains. It is not a normal thing to be able to figure out how to take a billion dollar satellite and to launch it exactly on time. These are not normal things, but we talk about them like they’re normal. They are all doing a part of making all of that possible. If I could do anything it would be to have them believe how special that is, how important it is, and how good they should feel about it. Everybody should leave an assignment at Vandenberg thinking they did something for the nation because they do it here every day.”