Steve Moss is a 58 year old, happily married, father of 2, living in the Temecula Wine County. Steve served our country for 10 years in the US Air Force as a Aircraft Loadmaster, Air Lift Control Element member, and Mission Support Team Chief. He entered the Air force out of his hometown of Abilene Texas in 1978. “At that point in my life I didn’t have much if any direction, collage wasn’t working out the way I had hoped, so I went into the service. I had grown up on and around Air Force bases so that was the natural place to go.” Steve did his boot camp in Lackland AFB, Texas, technical school in Sheppard AFB, Texas and finally his advance technical training was completed in Altus AFB, Oklahoma.
While serving as a Loadmaster on the C5A/B Galaxy at Dover AFB Delaware, he travelled extensively around the world. Some days had him waking up in one country, eating lunch in another, dinner in a third and midnight snack in a fourth. “It was crazy, we lived our life by the daily news. I remember once being in McDonalds having lunch, and hearing about a news story about some out of the way place, and thinking we ought to head out to the base as we were about to get busy. Sure enough we were on our airplane and on the way in an hour.”
Steve was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster (second award), for work he did during Project Urgent Fury, the Grenada rescue operation. It was on Grenada that in addition to other duties he was instrumental in deployment of the first logistics computers in to a combat environment. Utilization of the system allowed for a significant reduction in the time Air Force aircraft needed to be on the ground.
He was also awarded Master Aviator Wings, Combat Crew Badge and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
About 5 years into his career he was transferred out to Clark AB in the Philippines. This is where found and fell in love with SCUBA diving. “I will never forget the first time I had a regulator in my mouth and took my first breath underwater. I was hooked instantly.” His instructors Eric Brown and Johnnie Morris were Air Force sergeants also stationed at Clark. Eric owned a 42’ live aboard dive boat, which Steve worked on for years helping establish the MV Maverick as one of the premier dive boats in the Philippines.
While stationed in the Philippines he continued to travel extensively and was afforded the opportunity to dive in many countries around the Pacific rim. “During peace time our job was just hauling cargo from one interesting place to another. Eric would occasionally allow me to borrow one of the portable compressors from the Maverick. My favorite was time spent on Tinian Island. We’d be typically be there for 2 weeks supporting a Navy Sea Bee (Navel Construction Battalion) exercise. We’d work our butts off for 3 days getting the Sea Bee’s on the island and then again at the end getting them home. During the actual time of the exercise we would support 1 or 2 resupply birds and the rest of the time we would just set the compressor up on the beach, and dive until we could barely move.”
During the 5 years he was stationed in the Pacific, he racked up well over 500 dives, and 800 hours in the water.
Steve left the Air Force after 10 years as a Staff Sargent and now the Director of Custom Software Development for a major Semi-Conductor manufacturer. “I enjoyed the Air Force, travelled a lot, learned a work ethic that has followed me into civilian life.” Upon returning to the USA he hung up his regulator, mask and fins. “I dove in paradise. I really wasn’t interested in diving in cold, murky, California waters, so I sold off the gear and didn’t think much about diving again”. Other than a trip to Hawaii right after hurricane Iniki he had not been in the water in some 28 years. It took a lot to get him to re-enter the world of SCUBA.
Steve says “I met Ron and the WAVES group at a BBQ. After talking to Ron for an extended time, I knew that this was something I had to get involved in.” And get involved he has. Steve executed a refresher course with the WAVES project and was able to dive with some of the wounded vets in the program. “Seeing and talking with the vets about their experience has been phenomenal.” Steve is working through the Dive Master course and hopes to become a PADI Instructor as well as a HSA (Handicap SCUBA Association) instructor. He’s also a contributing author for the WAVES Project site.
Contributor: WAVES Project