VANDALIA — A son following in the footsteps of his father is not a new thing. Multiple generations, working in the same profession is a long-standing tradition, especially in law enforcement and fire service.
One father/son duo traveled to Dayton for this year’s 2022 CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show, capping off an almost eerie series of events that brought them back to the place where, some might say, their journey began.
Jeff Moss, a former U.S. Army Air Cavalry captain, served with the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry during Operation Desert Storm. His son, Jeff Moss, Jr, whom everyone knows as “Jay”, grew up watching his dad flying what was the United States Army’s first generation attack helicopter, the Cobra, first as an active duty officer, then after his discharge, as a member of the famed Sky Soldiers, a group that owns and operates not only the Cobra, but also several vintage UH-1 Huey helicopters for air shows and events around the country.
When a kid grows up learning that, not only do soldiers of the United States Army Air Cav divisions get to fly the hottest helicopters, but they also earn the right to wear the traditional U.S. Cavalry Stetson hat and spurs, he naturally sets his sights on following in his father’s footsteps to earn a Stetson of his own.
Young Jay enrolled at the University of Georgia and entered the Army R.O.T.C. program. Upon graduation he qualified to be trained to fly the state-of-the-art Apache attack helicopter.
“So, we are first and second generation Army R.O.T.C. graduates from the University of Georgia,” said Jeff, “First and second generation attack helicopter pilots, flying first and second generation attack helicopters, the Cobra and the Apache.”
Another first took place at this year’s Dayton Air Show when the pair become the first father/son duo to appear together at an air show.
Jeff was scheduled to be at Dayton with the Sky Soldiers and by coincidence, when Jay’s unit was ordered to provide an Apache and crew for the air show, Captain Jay was giving the assignment. The eerie part of this transpiring is that Jeff has photographs of and eight-year-old Jay standing alongside his dad, wearing a child-size flight suit and checking out a Cobra helicopter … at the Dayton Air Show.
As word got around in aviation circles that the father/son duo would both be in Dayton at the same show, it was decided that they should both be in the sky together. This was not as simple as saying, “great, lets do this,” as there are many rules, air show, FAA, and military, to deal with before the bugler can sound “Charge.”
Fortunately for all, those hurdles were cleared and Jeff and Jay took to the skies over the Dayton International Airport, thrilling crowds of patriotic air show guests as they demonstrated some of America’s awesome air power.
Father and son both hope to, one day, be able to perform a Heritage Flight with the helicopters, honoring the men and women of our Armed Forces, at air show and events around the country.