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Staff Sgt. Raymond Moose, an aircraft services shift supervisor for the 728th Air Mobility Squadron, ties down cargo on the flight line at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Moose was recently selected as a member of the Thunderbirds team.

Staff Sgt. Raymond Moose, an aircraft services shift supervisor for the 728th Air Mobility Squadron, ties down cargo on the flight line at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Moose was recently selected as a member of the Thunderbirds team. (Courtesy of USAF)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Raymond Moose is still in shock.

Last month, the airman, stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, discovered that he had earned a spot on the elite U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration team.

“It still hasn’t sunk in for me,” Moose said. “A lot of people have come up to me and said, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ ”

An aircraft services shift supervisor for the 728th Air Mobility Squadron, Moose will report to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in October. He will serve a three-year tour as an airlift coordinator.

“Even though my job is going to be 100 percent behind the scenes, or 90 percent behind the scenes,” Moose said, “the articles [written] have really made my job sound miraculous … but it’s really not. It’s just a lot of preparation, getting them [the Thunderbirds] in the air and getting them to and from air shows.”

As one of the two airlift coordinators, Moose will be responsible for transporting support people, extra pilots and equipment for the Thunderbirds.

Moose has been in the Air Force for six years, but said it wasn’t until he became a noncommissioned officer that he considered applying to the elite team.

After several people he worked with encouraged him to apply, Moose began the application process in April. He was one of 16 people to apply.

Then came the hardest part: the waiting. On Aug. 4, Moose was notified of his selection.

While he is not totally sure of what to expect when he arrives at Nellis next month, he does know that he will be well-versed in Thunderbird history by the end of his training.

“It’s something that’s going to be a part of you if you’re going to be a part of them,” Moose said. “I’m looking forward to it.”


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