Master Sergeant spends 26 years with maintenance company
Story and photos by Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
3th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE TAJI, Iraq — Throughout their careers, Soldiers make difficult decisions whether to go to college, re-enlist, switch units or stay in long enough to retire.
Master Sgt. Clarence L. Mooi, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the maintenance control shop with the 3666th Support Maintenance Company out of Phoenix, Ariz., 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), made the decision to spend 26 of his 30 military years with the same maintenance company.
Mooi, a Mesa, Ariz., native, who supervises 14 maintenance shops while deployed, said after leaving active-duty service, a young recruiter convinced him there was still a place for him in the Arizona National Guard.
"When she told me that she had a unit for me … I came in and looked at it and became a part of it," he said. "I really enjoyed it. I was born there and figure I'll retire there."
Mooi said his experience and knowledge has helped him lead and mentor Soldiers.
"They look up to me a lot," he said. "They take the experience I've got and use it. It's a challenge … because some of them are headstrong like I was when I came in. We're all headstrong as young kids, thinking we can do it all. I look at it and say, 'if I don't (teach them) some of the stuff I know, then I'm holding them back.'"
Second Lt. Kelly D. Milner, the maintenance control officer with the 3666th SMC, said Mooi has helped him throughout the deployment.
"He's a good mentor," said Milner, a Yuma, Ariz., native. "He would always brief me on what he was doing and, like any mentor, he just kind of slid things onto my plate, slowly made sure I had a grasp. He was always there to answer my questions."
Milner said this is his first deployment and with the help of Mooi, it has gone smoothly.
"He is great; he doesn't have an 'I am better than you' attitude," he said. "He is really good with his Soldiers. After 20 some-odd years in, he's done it all, been there, so he understands what it's like to be a specialist, or corporal or sergeant … I don't know anybody in the company who doesn't enjoy working with him."
Cpl. Justin L. Dudley, an automotive logistics clerk with the 3666th and a Victorville, Calif., native, said Mooi is full of information.
"He has all the answers to anything I have about parts, or just requests from customers needing extra information that I can't give them," he said.
Dudley has worked with Mooi for five years, and said he has not changed.
"I look up to Master Sgt. Mooi," he said. "He's always there when I need him. If I have a question or even if I have any personal issues, I can go to him and talk to him about it and he helps me out. It's very motivating to have someone like him."
Mooi said no matter what career path Soldiers decide to follow, he makes sure to let them know there is no easy road. Whether a Soldier chooses a military career or an alternate lifestyle, they will come in contact with many individuals. Some they will like or dislike, he said. There will be many changes throughout their lives, and they have to find ways to accept them, said Mooi.
"The people that seem to like you the most, (sometimes) move the fastest out of your life," he said. "You can either accept that and stay doing what you're doing, or you've got the opportunity to move on too."
Mooi said there are many different personalities within the company and it makes for an interesting dynamic.
"I like to do things the old way, but the more I look at it the more I understand where they're coming from," he said.
Milner said the master sergeant's knowledge and skill as a mechanic is what the company needs in a supervisor. He knows all the equipment, and the tricks to get the job done successfully and in a timely manner.
"We're as successful as we are today because of his actions," he said. "It's very comforting."
Milner also said Mooi's physical training regimen has been motivating for everyone in the unit.
Mooi challenged himself to run 100 miles with some of the other Soldiers in the month of February. He surpassed that mark with a week left in the month.
"I tell them … PT is always going to be there," he said. "You need to make sure you're physically fit at all times. It's tiring after a while, but my brain starts to function better. I feel like I've got more energy after doing a healthy PT (session)."
Milner said Mooi is an inspiration to him and all the Soldiers. He motivates everyone to run, to stay in shape and be proud of what they can accomplish, he said.
"It just can't help but inspire you to go those couple extra miles," said Milner. "If a Soldier with his seniority can do it, why can't a 20-year-old Soldier do it? I think he is definitely an asset. I think his presence and experience will be missed (if he leaves the military), because physically and mentally he's just the total package as far as what you're looking for in a Soldier and an NCO."
Master Sgt. Clarence L. Mooi, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the maintenance control shop with the 3666th Support Maintenance Company out of Phoenix, Ariz., 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), moves a forklift in front of the shop Feb. 26 at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq. Mooi, a Mesa, Ariz., native, has served in the 3666th for 26 years.
Master Sgt. Clarence L. Mooi, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the maintenance control shop with the 3666th Support Maintenance Company out of Phoenix, Ariz., 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), uses a wrench to tighten up a container at the maintenance control shop Feb. 26 at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq. Mooi, a Mesa, Ariz., native, has spent 26 of his 30 years in the military with the 3666th SMC, an Arizona National Guard unit.