by Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
1/19/2016 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The
second half of 1990 saw the Middle East erupt in turmoil, as Iraqi
forces under the leadership of Saddam Hussein launched an unprovoked
invasion of Kuwait. This resulted in the formation of a U.S.-led
coalition whose purpose was to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
In January 1991, the buildup of U.S. forces in the region, known as
Operation Desert Shield, saw then 20-year-old Senior Airman Geraldo
Moore performing his duties. He was assigned to the 52nd Military
Airlift Squadron as a loadmaster on the C-141B Starlifter, an aircraft
no longer flown by the U.S. Air Force, at Norton AFB, California, a base
that no longer exists. Jump ahead 25 years to today, Senior Airman
Moore is now Chief Master Sgt. Moore, 436th Operations Group
superintendent and 436th Airlift Wing interim-command chief.
"I was flying the air-bridge from the United States through Europe, down
into Saudi Arabia to plus up the forces for Desert Shield," Moore
Throughout Operation Desert Shield and its successor Operation Desert
Storm, Moore estimates that he accumulated more than 1,500 flight
"This was a time when the Air Force wasn't as close to the fight as we
are today," said Moore. "Most of our bases were in Saudi Arabia, well
away from the Kuwait border. So it isn't like it is today where we put
an airfield where all the action is."
This is not the only thing that has changed in the Air Force over the
past 25 years. We have gone from a total force of more than 712 thousand
and 8,600 aircraft, to a force today of 486 thousand and 5,500
Over the past 25 years, Moore has watched and been a part of the ever
changing Air Force. He has seen it shrink, grow and shrink again. He has
been amazed by the level of professional growth that he has witnessed
in the force's newest Airmen.
"The everyday Airman now is more combat ready and equipped for
contingency operations," Moore said. "I am amazed by them and I thank
them, because they are coming into the United States Air Force when we
are in a shooting conflict, and the Air Force is right where the bullets
fly. When I came in, that concept was unheard of."
"The combat attitude, the warrior Airman spirit, that's all new over the
last 20 years or so," he said. "It gives us a capability that is
unmatched by any other nation to be honest."
Not only have the Airmen changed for the better, but so has the Air Force as an institution and organization, said Moore.
"We are better equipped to deal with emerging threats in an expeditious
manner," said Moore. "If you look how long it took us to get ready for
combat in the Gulf War, it was almost nine months; it took a long time.
Now if you compare that on how long it took to insert ourselves and get
ready for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, we are
light years ahead of where we were then."
The Air Force has changed dramatically throughout its history,
especially the past 25 years. But more so, its Airmen have changed as
well, and for the better.
"Today's Airmen carry a heavier responsibility than the Airmen of my time," said Moore.