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Jacqueline Moses poses for a photo while on base in Kandahar, Afghanistan where she served as a logistics management specialist for three years.

Photo by Jacqueline Moses

Logistics on the Frontlines: A Civilian's Journey of Service

29 Dec 2023 | By Johannes Schmidt, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication Marine Corps Systems Command

Growing up in Nashville-- a small, closeknit community in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain-- it would have only been natural for Jacqueline Mills-Moses, logistician at MARCORSYSCOM, to dream of becoming a teacher, nurse, or even follow in her father’s footsteps as a vegetable and tobacco farmer.

However, having been born in Nash County, a place named after Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash, Moses recalls feeling called from a young age to serve her country. Perhaps inspired by her county’s namesake and his dedication to service, she recalls dreaming of one day donning the legendary uniform of a United States Marine.

Although life had other plans in mind for her, all roads ultimately led to the Corps. In a twist of fate, she married an Army soldier at the age of 23 and together they had two daughters. Their 21 years of marriage were marked by numerous deployments, taking them to places as far away as Italy, Belgium and Germany. It was in these countries that Moses furthered her education, earning her undergraduate degree in business administration and master's degree in human relations, all while embracing the unique challenges and opportunities of being a military mother and spouse abroad.

“Upon returning to the states my marriage ended in divorce. That's when I took a new direction and applied for an internship with the Department of the Navy, landing a placement with MARCORSYSCOM,” recalled Moses, who recently retired as a Logistics Management Specialist, or LMS. “I chose logistics because it's a field with so much to offer. What sets the Marine Corps apart is their 'cradle to grave' approach in logistics. While other services might specialize in areas such as supply or warehousing, we cover all 12 elements of logistics, offering a comprehensive view that you just don't get elsewhere."

From that internship, a 26-year career as a civilian Marine was born—one marked by service, countless accolades, and a three-year deployment to Afghanistan in support of the warfighter and our coalition partners.

"I began as a logistics intern at MARCORSYSCOM, graduated from the program, and worked on various projects within the command and PEO Land Systems,” Moses explained. “In 2016, I was deployed to Afghanistan as an LNO with the Corps' Civilian Expeditionary Workforce. My goal was to observe our gear in action. As a teenager, I had aspired to be a Marine but held back due to fear. Being able to serve as a civilian Marine was incredibly fulfilling; it felt like a second chance. It was an honor to serve with the Marine Corps in this capacity, almost like a blessing. It was as if God was giving me the opportunity I missed out on in my youth."

While in Kandahar, Moses’ role focused on ensuring coalition forces had all necessary resources, from housing to equipment. She played a crucial part in coordinating logistics and infrastructure, facilitating smooth operations and collaboration between different nations' military forces. Her work was pivotal in maintaining the functionality and efficiency of the coalition's efforts and even earned her honors from the governments of Romania and Bulgaria.

Although Moses initially deployed for a year, she was ultimately asked to stay on for an additional two years—something previously unseen for a civilian in the command. According to CWO3 Joseph Digirolamo, project officer for Digital Media Systems at MARCORSYSCOM, this level of sacrifice and dedication is admirable for anybody—especially a civilian.

As he recently noted, “It's hard to fully express the extent of personal sacrifice involved in spending three years in a combat zone. Going to war, wearing a uniform, and serving in logistics, all while knowing you're leaving behind two daughters, your home, and the comfort of everyday life, is a tremendous commitment. You're only kept around in a place like that if you're truly making a difference, and she did."

But Jacqueline Moses' career encompasses more than just her three-year deployment, impressive and inspiring though it was. At her core, she is, after all, a logistician. In a phone call just days before her retirement, she reflected on a project that stands out as a particular point of pride: the Flat Rack Refueler, or FRC, program.

Unlike many logisticians who may see projects stagnate or shift during their early stages, she managed the FRC program from inception through to fielding. This involved navigating the complexities of funding, development, and implementation, a process that can often take 10-15 years. Moses saw the FRC transition from a mere concept on paper to a fully built and supported asset, eventually integrated into the fleet with proper training.

“Having been on the ground with service members, I saw first-hand the importance of ensuring gear reaches the troops. Often in logistics, we're confined to office spaces, dealing with acquisitions, but our ultimate goal is to deliver that essential gear. To see a project through from start to finish, to witness it become a reality, is truly rewarding. It's a reminder of the tangible difference our work makes,” she noted.

As Moses approaches her retirement after nearly three decades of dedicated service, her colleagues recognize the magnitude of her departure. Rodney Jordan, senior sustainment logistician at MARCORSYSCOM, recently shared insights into the significance of her impending departure.

"Jackie's unwavering commitment to ensuring the warfighter's needs are met represents an intangible loss for the Command. She is one of those rare individuals who possesses comprehensive knowledge of all the legacy systems and the evolution of their replacements, a testament to her extensive tenure here. When she departs, it's not just an employee we're losing; it's a reservoir of invaluable experience and expertise."

As she reflects on her imminent retirement, Moses acknowledges she will miss the world of logistics and her connection with the Corps. Yet, she expresses profound gratitude for the opportunities she received, including the chance to wear a military uniform and serve her country.

Her future plans are characterized by a continued commitment to service. Over the phone, her enthusiasm is palpable as she shares her anticipation for hiking, quality time with her daughters, experimenting with vegan recipes, and dedicating more time to her church. She is especially eager to use her personal training certificate to aid the elderly in her community.

Concluding the interview, Moses shared a heartfelt message, saying, “I just want to say to everyone, don't let anything hold you back. I was in my 50s when I went to Afghanistan. I had to pass all the physical tests, but I did it. It's never too late. If you have a dream, a goal, just go for it. Make it happen. If you want something badly enough, you can achieve it. Age or circumstances shouldn't be barriers. Your determination can make your dreams a reality.”

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