“My appreciation for working in a law enforcement capacity was solidified in the Air Force.”
It’s an appreciation that dates back 26 years. That’s when then 18-year-old Aaron Moss first enlisted in the Air Force.
It was his first job out of high school and his first assignment was in what he calls a “sleepy village” in Germany.
But shortly after, he was deployed to Saudi Arabia during the Khobar Towers Crisis in 1996.
“Americans had died in a terrorist attack two days after I got there at a different base in Dhahran, the Khobar Towers,” he recalled. “It really opened my eyes to the reality of what I was doing in times of serving my country and serving with our allies overseas.”
The following year was when the hen Californian found his new home. He was assigned to Minot Air Force Base.
In 2001, he joined the reserves. That fall marked 9/11 and he was mobilized back to active duty. He said he was lucky, and when the country went to war, he went to Idaho for eight months.
But then it was back to North Dakota, where he’d stay.
He said, “After being here [Minot Air Force Base] about a year, I decided that I really didn’t want to live anywhere else.”
But let’s rewind a bit and learn why he joined the military, to begin with.
“Very few militaries around the planet can be pointed to as a force for good, a force for liberation and I think that’s truthful in our own country even with the Civil War,” Moss said. “The American armed forces were used to liberate other people, not to conquer.”
With pride, Moss carried out a family tradition of service.
His great-grandfather immigrated from Lithuania and served in the Navy, and at least one man from every generation in the family had served as well.
He started a new lineage by joining a different branch but said he did it to give back to the country that historically gave so much to his family.
Fast forward to today. Moss is a Master Officer at the Minot Police Department, working in crime prevention and community outreach, and it’s no coincidence that he was a security forces member in the Air Force, with half of his years in the service as a military working dog handler.
He said, “In the armed forces, we were always trained to look out for each other and that can be easily transferred over to how we live the rest of our lives and I think I’m very grateful to have had that instilled in me.”
Those values hold true in the many relationships he’s made.
He said being deployed to a hostile environment is among some of the most memorable times, but beyond the danger, the camaraderie is what sticks out in his mind the most.
“I think when you have to depend on each other just for your day to day duties to be done or even in more dangerous situations to keep each other safe, you end up much more openminded to different opinions and different ideas from people that you’ve learned to trust for other reasons,” he said.
Thanks to social media, Moss says he’s still able to stay in touch with airmen he met as far back as basic training.
Moss has been with the Minot Police Department for nearly 17 years.