Popular Moose Lodges Success in Other 'National' Setting
By Master Sgt. Bob Haskell, USA
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 1, 2002 The police chief for Montgomery County in Maryland who led the high-profile manhunt for the snipers who killed 10 people and terrorized the Washington, D.C., region for most of October is also a highly regarded officer in the Air National Guard.
Charles Moose, who seemed to breathe a little easier on Thursday night, Oct. 24, after the two suspects had been arrested without incident early that morning, has become the new poster person for members of the National Guard and other military reservists who maintain demanding civilian careers.
Most Americans know him as Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, the leader and national spokesman for the multi-agency task force that devoted three weeks to tracking down those responsible for killing 10 innocent people, wounding three others and terrorizing people around the nation's capital before the Oct. 24 arrests. Maryland authorities charged the two suspects with six counts of first-degree murder on Oct. 25. Other jurisdictions have also taken action against them.
His military colleagues also know him as Maj. Charles Moose, commander of the District of Columbia Air National Guard's 60-member security forces squadron in the 113th Wing based at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Moose, 49, has commanded the 113th Security Forces Squadron since May 2000, a D.C. Air Guard spokesperson explained. He has spent much of the past 13 months dealing with two unthinkable and historic events -- the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon and this October's hunt for the accused snipers.
Members of the National Guard and the president of the United States praised the no- nonsense Moose for his conviction and his compassion. The imposing police chief in his trademark tan shirt and black tie relayed the sniper's chilling message that "your children are not safe, anywhere at any time," and he repeatedly addressed the cold-blooded serial killer on national television.
"What you see is what you get with Maj. Moose. He is direct, but he is also a humanitarian," said Chief Master Sgt. Bobby Spear, the senior enlisted member of the security forces squadron who has recently retired from the U.S. Secret Service after 26 years.
"The admiration that he's received from the national and international media and communities comes as no surprise to us," added Spear about his commander who grew up in Lexington, N.C., and studied American history at the University of North Carolina. Moose has also earned a doctorate in urban affairs, and he clearly knows how to balance his civilian and military obligations.
"He worked around the clock for two or three weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001," Spear recounted. "He would work all day at Montgomery County and then come to Andrews (Air Force Base, Md.) and work with us late into the night, making sure we had everything we needed to keep our planes and our part of the base secure. He'd spend the night and then go back to work at Montgomery County the next day.
"We're proud of him for what he has done," said Spear about Moose's highly visible participation with the sniper task force. "This is not a role that he would ordinarily relish."
"You have lifted a shadow of fear for many families. God bless you and may God bless the victims," President George Bush said in praise of Moose, according to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer in the Associated Press.
"Many police and law enforcement officers still serve their nation in the National Guard while supporting their communities as well. We are proud to count among them the leader of the task force that is even now working to bring this investigation to a conclusion -- Police Chief Charles A. Moose, Montgomery County, Maryland," stated Maj. Gen. Raymond Rees, acting chief of the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
The two accused snipers' victims include six who were killed in Montgomery County, next to the District of Columbia, where Moose has been the police chief since 1999.
That's where the killing began on Oct. 3. That's where it ended on Oct. 22. That's where it was determined on Oct. 24 that a Bushmaster XM-15, .223-caliber rifle recovered from the two suspects' car was linked by ballistics to 11 of the then-14 shootings attributed to the sniper.
That's where Moose led the multi-agency task force that included members of the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Secret Service, D.C. Metropolitan Police, Maryland and Virginia state police, the U.S. Marshals, and a half- dozen other county and municipal police forces.
"This is a very complex investigation. The unprecedented cooperation has made this case possible," Moose said on Oct. 24, cautioning that much more work remains to be done. "It's been very, very honorable to work with all of the men and women involved in this matter.
"We have not given in to the terror," he said to everyone the sniper has afflicted. "Yes, we have all experienced anxiety, but in the end resiliency has won out."
(Master Sgt. Bob Haskell is senior correspondent in the National Guard Bureau Public Affairs Office, Arlington, Va.)