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9-year-old joins 4th Airlift Squadron at McChord

Mark Moore Jr., left, and Jaden Remaly climb aboard a fire truck while on a tour of the fire station during the "Pilot for a Day" program Dec. 17 at McChord Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. They also toured the military working dog unit, command tower and a C-17 Globemaster III. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young)

Mark Moore Jr., left, and Jaden Remaly climb aboard a fire truck while on a tour of the fire station during the "Pilot for a Day" program Dec. 17, 2010, at McChord Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. They also toured the military working dog unit, command tower and a C-17 Globemaster III. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman Leah Young)

Bret Stohr, left, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant fire chief, presents Mark Moore Jr. with a fire coin during a tour of the fire station Dec. 17 at McChord Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young)

Bret Stohr, left, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant fire chief, presents Mark Moore Jr. with a fire coin during a tour of the fire station Dec. 17, 2010, at McChord Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman Leah Young)

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- After bouncing around from foster home to foster home, Mark Moore Jr. is relieved to be with a loving family during the holiday season.

The 9-year-old Tacoma, Wash., native was selected by members of the 4th Airlift Squadron to participate in their "Pilot for a Day" program Dec. 17.

Pilot for a Day is an Air Force program that enables challenged youth a chance to visit an Air Force base, becoming part of the team in the process. The participants are usually selected through a partnership with a community hospital or foster program.

"There are so many different agencies and people working to make this day special for one child," said Capt. Chris Kojak, 4th Airlift Squadron Operations flight commander. "We all know how much it means to them. We try as hard as we can to make today perfect."

As a new member of Team McChord, Mark, along with his foster mother, brother and grandfather, took a ride in a fire truck at the McChord fire station. They tested out the emergency evacuation hanging hardness and climbed to the top of the command tower. They also got the chance to visit the 62nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog unit and tour the inside of a C-17 Globemaster III.

"My favorite part was visiting the military dogs," said Mark. "I want to buy one when I get older. Not a mean one, but a nice one."

Moore's foster mother, Colleen Remaly, expressed his long awaited anticipation and excitement for the day's events. Her son, Jaden, is two years older than Mark, and she says they get along perfectly.

"Instead of counting down the days until Christmas, they've been counting down for this," said Remaly. "They have not stopped talking about how awesome today is going to be."

After a long day of tours and demonstrations, Mark explained how the Air Force sounds like an appealing career choice.

"I'm going to be in the Air Force when I grow up," said Mark. "I don't know what I'm going to do. But I really like this uniform. I want to wear it for a long time."
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