SOUTHWEST ASIA, August 7, 2014 —
What little boy doesn't like ripping apart his toys and making a mess of things? But the older most men get, the more expensive and fancier the toys become.
Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Moore, a vehicle mechanic with the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, is no exception. When it comes to tinkering and fixing things, he has a passion and curiosity for it all. Now, his toys are much bigger than they were when he was a boy, and they belong to the Air Force.
"Working on cars brings a sense of pride when you see what you've fixed," Moore said. "I recently replaced the engine in a truck. It took three days to take apart the entire vehicle, but it felt good to hear the engine fire up and to watch it drive away."
He said he likes to challenge himself and feels confident in his skills to try new projects and learn from them.
Moore grew up in Lebanon, Missouri, with his father after his parents divorced. He was 13, when he started working as a floor sweeper at a salvage yard. Throughout his teenage years, he spent his time working at his father's vehicle restoration shop, where he developed his skill for working on cars. In college, he worked as a mechanic at a major automotive business and continued to refine his maintenance skills.
"I went to college for two years, taking classes such as marine biology, science and other subjects, but I was really drawn to auto mechanics," said Moore, who is deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Moore said he decided to join the Air Force to continue his education, to travel, and to see the world while serving his country. "My grandfather, Peewee, served as a mail clerk in the Air Force and spent time in Germany," he said. “I felt it was a good way to give back.”
Moore said he lucked out when he was guaranteed a position in the Air Force as a vehicle mechanic.
"Growing up, I used to think the Air Force was cool," he said. "As a kid, you always aspire to be a pilot. But, when I got older, I had a new desire -- I wanted to work on cars. Since joining the Air Force, I've learned so much more about how vehicles run. Now, I get to work on large trucks and construction equipment that civil engineers operate."
Being in vehicle maintenance takes a lot of patience and anger management, Moore said. "Little things on the job that look or seem simple can test a mechanic's patience," he added. "What should be a quick fix can turn into an eight-hour project where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."
Moore said he thoroughly enjoys his personal and professional life in Germany, and that he has found a great mentor in Air Force Master Sgt. Paul Bohn.
"When I first got to Germany, he was my shop foreman and made a lasting impression on my career," Moore said. "I only worked with him for a few months when I was a new airman. I made my share of mistakes, but he stood behind me through it all and he had faith in me."
Moore was promoted to senior airman below the zone -- earlier than his peers -- and he cited Bohn’s mentorship as a key factor in that achievement.