A 2013 Watson Chapel graduate and Pine Bluff native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission at Strategic Communications Wing ONE.

Airman Edward Moten is an aircrew survival equipmentman assigned to Tinker Air Force Base at Oklahoma where the Navy command is headquartered, according to a news release.

Moten credits Hollywood for his decision to join the Navy.

“As a kid, I saw Top Gun and Men of Honor and that piqued my interest in the Navy,” Moten said. “When it was time to choose what to do with my life, the Navy immediately came to mind.”

As a Navy aircrew survival equipmentman, Moten’s job is to maintain survival equipment like parachutes, life rafts, oxygen masks, escapes slides and more that all aircrew and pilots require when flying a mission.

“We are America’s 911,” Moten said. “Our presence helps deter threats, and if America is ever attacked by a nuclear weapon, we are the country’s response force.”

According to the release, the Navy’s presence aboard an Air Force base in the middle of America may seem like an odd location given its distance from any ocean, however, the central location allows for the deployment of aircraft to both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico on a moment’s notice. This quick response is key to the success of the nuclear deterrence mission.

Sailors serving from America’s heartland take pride in the vital mission they support as well as the nuclear deterrence they help provide, according to the release.

“Serving in the Navy means I am held to a higher standard and I am prepared and ready for anything at all times,” Moten said. “I feel like I have responsibility and purpose in my life.”

The command consists of three squadrons and a wing staff that employs more than 1,200 active-duty sailors who provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the TACAMO aircraft fleet.

“The mission stems from the original 1961 Cold War order known as Take Charge and Move Out! Adapted as TACAMO and now the command’s nickname, today, the men and women of TACAMO continue to provide a survivable communication link between national decision makers and the nation’s nuclear weapons,” according to the release.

“The commander-in-chief issues orders to members of the military who operate nuclear weapons aboard submarines, aircraft or in land-based missile silos. Sailors aboard TACAMO E-6 Mercury aircraft provide the one-of-a-kind and most-survivable communication needed for this critical mission,” according to the release.

Captain Edward McCabe is commodore with the Strategic Communications Wing ONE.

“I’m honored to serve with the men and women who help keep our nation safe through nuclear deterrence,” McCabe said. “Their dedication to our mission is a testament to our mantra of Take Charge and Move Out!”

— Lt. Lauryn Dempsey is with the Navy Office of Community Outreach.