The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base is set to go undergo a change in leadership this week.
Col. J. Christopher Moss, who has served as the wing’s commander since July 2015, has announced his plans to retire from the Air Force. Moss will relinquish command of the 30th Space Wing to Col. Michael S. Hough in a ceremony planned for 10 a.m. Friday at the base.
Moss, who has served in the Air Force for 26 years, said his retirement was “bittersweet,” according to 30th Space Wing Public Affairs.
“The Air Force is all I’ve ever known as an adult, so it’s hard to leave,” Moss said. “This is the only thing my family has ever known, but the timing just seemed right for us.”
Moss, according to public affairs, is planning to move to Arizona to begin a second career as a principal at a combined junior and senior school.
“Getting the chance to be around young people, it’s about mentoring and setting a good example,” Moss said. “It’s about teaching discipline, values, ethics and commitment. Being part of a team and being part of something bigger than yourself and, hopefully, helping young people understand how critical education is.”
For Hough, this will be his second assignment at VAFB, though the first since the start of his military career.
He was initially stationed at VAFB as an undergraduate student in missile training in 1993. Since then, he has had 24 assignments, including many leadership positions. From 2013-15, he served as the vice commander of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, and he was the director of Space Forces at U.S. Air Forces Central Command in Qatar from 2015 through this year.
Other assignments for Hough, who entered the Air Force as a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Texas Tech University in 1992, include a stint as commander of the 527 Space Aggressor Squadron and staff assignments at the National Reconnaissance Office.
Hough will become the 17th commander of the 30th Space Wing.
A retirement ceremony was held Friday, June 2, for Moss. At that event, the commander delivered a direct message to the airmen he is leaving behind at the base.
“Continue to take pride in what you do here and never take it for granted,” he said, according to public affairs.
Moss then described how some of the tasks performed at VAFB may seem routine even though they are from it. Those include battling wildfires, performing in harsh conditions, and launching billion-dollar satellites.
“If I could do anything, it would be to have (these airmen) believe how special that is, how important it is and how good they should feel about it,” he said. “Everybody should leave an assignment at Vandenberg thinking they did something for the nation, because they do it here every day.”