Preparing Airmen to stay ahead of the game

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Moore became Kentucky’s eighth state command chief master sergeant in July, bringing 32 years of Air Force knowledge and experience to the position. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — In 2000, after 17 years in the active-duty Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Moore found an opportunity to return home, and to stay in uniform, beginning the next chapter of his military career.

While serving at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, Moore heard about the need for ammunition specialists in the Kentucky Air National Guard. The Gallatin County, Kentucky-native jumped at the chance to find a stable place to continue serving, stop the every two-year change of station, and be close to family.

It was decision that would lead him to the highest ranking enlisted position for the Kentucky Air Guard, the state command chief master sergeant.

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Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Moore passes the Air Guard flag to Master Sgt. Monte Goldring, completing the change of responsibility ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., July 11, 2014. Moore succeeded Chief Master Sgt. James Smith as Kentucky’s state command chief master sergeant. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“Without a doubt, this has to to be the highlight of my career,” he said. “This is the highest you can achieve, and I ‘m proud to be here.”

Moore assumed the role during a change of responsibility ceremony in Frankfort in July. He succeeded Chief Master Sgt. James Smith who had held the title since 2010.

Enlisting straight out of high school, Moore followed a strong family tradition of military service. As an ammunition specialist, Moore would see eight different bases in his 17 years working on several classified projects along the way.

When the National Guard Bureau sent out announcements for ammunition specialists to train Air Guard units, Moore noticed that the 123rd Airlift Wing in Louisville, Kentucky was one in need. It was an easy decision he said, but a reluctant one.

“My opinion initially of the Guard wasn’t very high,” he said. “After so many years active-duty, the atmosphere was a little loose for my taste, but it didn’t take long before the dedication and work ethic of the Wing showed me the Guard was and is a critical part of the force.”

“It has to be the best move of my life, coming to the Guard.”

Moore recalled how everything changed when 9/11 happened, roughly a year after he joined the 123rd. Moore said the Guard changed as well, for the better. He recalled the consistency that Guard units have developed thanks to Airmen sticking with the same job and the same unit for years, not changing locations every couple years like active-duty units and remaining a part of overseas operations.

“Active duty just couldn’t compete with them,” he said. “They’re moving every other year, and we have Airmen staying for 20 years or more. Those guys know the C-130 like the back of their hands.”

“I’d put the Guard up against anybody, that’s my opinion now.”

Moore has served numerous deployment overseas throughout his career with roles in support of Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom, partially because he remembers always volunteering for assignments.

“That is what we are trained and paid to do. When you sign that dotted line you can go anywhere in the world. You train your whole life and that’s what it’s about.”

Moore’s quality service to the Guard has earned him a variety of awards and honors including being named the Kentucky Air Guard’s Outstanding NCO of the Year in 2001 and Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year in 2007. In his new position as the state’s command chief master sergeant, Moore expects to use what he has learned to act accordingly as the ranking enlisted Airman.

Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Moore

Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Moore’s role as Kentucky’s state command chief master sergeant is an integral day-to-day member of the adjutant general’s senior staff, overseeing the needs and concerns of the state’s enlisted corps and is a vocal advocate on their behalf. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Moore’s biggest goal in his tenure is to ensure Airmen are taking advantage of education programs and are aware of future opportunities. He said he aims to also make sure each Airman’s record properly reflects their education achievements.

During Moore’s time as a first sergeant within the 123rd he learned and enjoyed helping and taking care of Guardsmen. Showing them what’s out there as a future opportunity is something Moore will continue to do. He wants to let them know just how many chances there are to do something different and something rewarding, from the lowest level on up.

“You see the Guard in key positions in the military now and in a few years, you’ll see a Guardsman as the chief master sergeant of the Air Force,” he said. “I think the future is great for our young Airmen.”

“I will tell them all, focus on your education, know your opportunities and be ahead of the game. Never be the one they’re waiting on, always be waiting on them.”

After 32 years, Moore has remained ahead of his game, but knows it’s about time to hang up the uniform. He already looks forward to spending more time in his community and with family and friends. And just like 1982, when he enlisted and kept the Moore name on an Air Force uniform, he now enjoys following the careers of a son and daughter both serving in the 123rd.

“It makes me happy that they would  join, maybe because of me, I don’t know. I didn’t push them, they made their own choices and I couldn’t be more proud.”

While he hopes the Moore name goes on forever in the military, he will focus on his work at hand for his remaining years with simple ideas.

“Leave it better than you came, that’s my goal.”

 

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