News: Father promotes son in combat zone, a rare opportunity
Story by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Special events such as an awards or a promotion ceremony during a combat deployment are rarely attended by family members, due to obvious circumstances.
This was not the case for 1st Lt. Steve Moon, who had his father, Lt. Col. Steven Moon, promote him from second to first lieutenant July 14, 2014, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
“It’s a rare moment when a father gets to promote his son,” Lt. Col. Moon said, “and it’s even more rare when a father gets to support his son in a combat environment in Afghanistan.”
Lt. Col. Moon serves in Regional Command-East as a Ministry of Defense program manager with a Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan Special Operations Planning and Liaison Element in Kabul, Afghanistan, while 1st Lt. Moon is in Regional Command-South in Kandahar serving as a human resources officer for the 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Both father and son come from Schertz, Texas.
Miles apart in different areas of operation, the father and son put forth the necessary effort to get Lt. Col. Moon to KAF for the promotion, while accomplishing their mission simultaneously.
“Because of my position, we have some projects here in Kandahar,” Lt. Col. Moon said, “so we scheduled some projects in Kandahar that were at the same time of my son’s promotion, which enabled us to complete our mission and promote my son at the same time.”
Although work took up a lot of his time in Kandahar, both of them were happy to get to spend some quality time together.
“We got to spend several hours together, but I had to visit my projects as well, so it wasn’t much, but it was still nice to see my son,” Lt. Col. Moon said.
During the promotion ceremony, Lt. Col. Michael Egan, 1st Lt. Moon’s commanding officer, highlighted a few of Steve’s accomplishments as he took the position as a human resources officer.
In an ideal circumstance, the position would call for an officer with more rank and experience.
“My personnel officer had to leave just a few days after taking command, which is usually a captain’s position,” Egan said. “Other than the initial conversation we had, which was, ‘Sorry for what you’re walking into, but I need you to fix this,’ Steven didn’t even have to ask for any guidance. He got a little scuffed up along the way, but he took it in stride, and he just set out to get the work done.”
Egan explained that the younger Moon “has been operating at the first lieutenant level for many months now, and now we’re just formally recognizing it with pay and putting rank on his chest. This is a fantastic day to give somebody a promotion who has absolutely earned it.”
After the promotion ceremony, refreshments were served and everybody lined up to congratulate Moon. He expressed a few feelings of how it felt to have his father present.
“It’s a very special thing to have your father promote you. It feels like my graduation. Although I’m away from my family, friends, and my wife is not here, it is nice to have my dad here,” he said.
First Lt. Moon explained that he plans on continuing his career as a human resources officer and furthering his education by achieving the Professional in Human Resources certification, and eventually going to the Captain’s Career Course. He has a bachelor’s in business administration, as well as a master’s degree in adult learning in teaching, and plans to eventually pursue another master’s degree in human resources management or entrepreneurship.
Confident in Steve’s course in life since his youth, Lt. Col. Moon said he always knew his son was going places.
“As a father and a Soldier, I couldn’t be more proud of my son. His command, peers, and subordinates seem to love him, but that’s no surprise to me because he’s been squared away since he was chasing grasshoppers.”