Spring will bring a brigadier general to the ranks of
those making outstanding achievements as Cocke County natives in their
careers-civilian or military.
The US Senate has recently approved Col. Charlie Moore,
commander of the 20th Fighter wing at Shaw Air Force Base, to become
Tennessee's newest brigadier general. He is expected to wear the general's star
sometime in late March.
Col. Moore assumed command of the 20th Fighter Wing-the
largest operational F-16 Fighting Falcon wing in the world-on June 2010. And,
at age 46 he continues to fly at least twice a week to maintain his edge as a
member of the 77th Fighter Squadron.
As a one-star general, probably the first ever from Cocke
County to wear this US Air Force rank, he takes on more responsibility. Moore
is preparing for his eminent transfer to Nellis AFB near Las Vegas about March
His wife, Niki, and son, Christopher Walker Moore, age 17
months, will accompany him and said they are sad to leave Shaw, at Sumter,
South Carolina. Col. Moore said they have "bitter sweet emotions"
about the move because they will leave many friends, their extended airmen
family, but return to a familiar air base.
During his 21-month command, Moore said he has been proud
to work alongside about 8,500 people at the base of which about 3,800 are
active Air Force and some 1,200 Army soldiers. The Third Army/USARCENT-made
famous by Gen. George Patton during World War II-is located at Shaw.
Specifically, the 20th Fighter wing has 3,798 military,
443 federal civilians, 879 military in tenant units, 151 other Shaw federal
civilians, 251 other civilians, an estimated 6,000 family members that includes
spouses and children.
Col. Moore said he is also happy to see some of the
31,000 retirees still visiting and using base facilities after being stationed
there at one time and still living in the community. Shaw AFB began operating
during World War II and is named in honor of Lot. Ervin Shaw, a WW I RAF
reconnaissance pilot killed in that war. The base recently celebrated its 70th
Air Force structure has the 20th Fighter Wing directly
under the oversight of the 9th Air Force with a formidable and modern
headquarters complex. Col. Moore answers directly to Major General Lawrence L.
Wells, who is the commander at 9th Air Force, co-located at Shaw. The 9th AF
command oversees all the air combat command bases in the US.
Yet, while Col. Moore looks west to his move to Nellis, he
still has much to do at Shaw. He recounted in summary the many construction
projects completed and others, such as building 630 housing units as part of
the AF's privatization of housing program.
Surrounding by modern amenities of America and military
facilities second to none in the world, Col. Moore has remained fixed on his
command's combat military mission. Last year, the three striking squadrons of
the 20th Fighter Wing deployed tons of munitions on Libyan despot Muammar
Gaddafi's army as it attacked and killed civilians and opposing rebel army
On February 6, Tuesday, while touring some of Shaw's
12,000 acre base, Col. Moore drove by the twin airstrips' F-16 hangers and
pointed to a small population of warplanes. Two of the squadrons are currently
deployed overseas at "hot spots" in the world. The 20th Fighter Wing
has been flying worldwide the past 12 months deploying about 85 F-16s.
The day was an important one because his father, retired
Col. Charles Lewis Moore, was also on the base for a visit with his son before
he leaves to Nellis where the younger Moore trained at the famous AF Warfare
Center, a school reserved for pilots deemed the best of the best.
The father said he got his training in combat beginning
in 1967 in Vietnam with the Army Air Cavalry as a helicopter pilot who flew
more than 2,000 combat hours. By comparison, the soon-to-be brig. gen. has more
than 600 combat flying hours.
Col. Moore is a lean 6'2" commander who is obviously
respected, appreciated, and "loved," as one airman said, by fellow
airmen. When he drives or walks the base, he is constantly saluted and he
returns salutes and also an East Tenn. style handwave or gives words of praise
What motivates him is when he sees "every day the
sacrifices these men and women make" to accomplish the AF mission. Col.
Moore said he is humbled by the airmen who surround and support him. The
commander's attitude is also reflected in comments he made on learning of his
pending promotion. "I was shocked," he said.
Upper command AF leadership faces many challenges largely
because of the reduced budget of the Department of Defense and the continued
military threat to America and its allies, explained Col. Moore. "It keeps
us constantly looking for ways to save money and to be more efficient."
"We ask the men and women to do more and they
sacrifice and do it," he said. Col. Moore is confident he will find the
same high quality and dedication of airmen at Nellis, which is like a
homecoming because of his past years' training there.
When the senior Moore was asked how he will feel when his
son outranks him, he replied with a smile, "I will be proud to salute