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Nomads: Face to Face Col. Paul Moga

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson
  • 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

“My mom was and remains a diehard Vikings fan. With four kids and being a single parent, she looked for ways to get us out of the house. When we were kids she would load us into the station wagon and truck us up to the Metrodome.”

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul D. Moga, 33rd Fighter Wing commander, grew up in Minnesota where he became a fan of many of the state’s professional sports teams at an early age. He shares that love for football and hockey with his children.

“We have an eight and a six year old who both play sports… and it’s teaching them lessons that they will bring with them and keep with them as they grow and develop.”

Moga’s beloved Vikings have found recent success that he readily talks about but he admits being a fan hasn’t always been easy. He has learned many lessons over the years that have helped him during his career. One of the most prevalent practices is adaptation.

“Members of sports teams move around all the time. When they move, in a relatively short amount of time, they need to come together as a unit, understand what their objective is and use team work to get there. Military people move every two, three, four years. They leave their units and sometimes their families, show up to work one day and have to figure out how they are going to achieve their goals.”

Moga feels learning to be adaptable and having a strong support system helps lead to easier transitions from one assignment to the next.

“Teamwork is a core competency and it is very transferable. You are rarely going to be successful as an individual in sports and the military so you need to understand the importance of working together as a team. People in your unit may not be your best friends but you still need to work together to build a team, a core understanding of your goal and the plan to achieve it.” 

While the level and gravity of the situations differ, Moga says dealing with adversity is another similarity both sports teams and military personnel experience.

“Things are not always going to work out the way you thought they would. But we all rebound using the team around us. Being able to deal with failure and still maintain forward progress is a critical skill.”

Nomads, just like many of our beloved sports teams, have a history of dealing with adversity but Moga feels it is in our unit’s heritage to overcome tribulations. 

“A nomad is someone who moves around a lot and wherever they are is their home. If you have the ability to live a nomadic life style you will be able to reduce some the stress and realize it’s part of life in the military.”