Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Where are they now? Cristina Moore-Urrutia


April 26, 2018

Editor's note: We are reprinting a past story this week, as Cristina Moore-Urrutia is in charge of an Air Force band, and this week the Offutt Brass Ensemble will perform in Kimball.

Former Kimball resident, Christina Moore, who is the granddaughter of Mary Moore of Kimball, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, on April 1, 2016, which is her third official command in the USAF.

"I am in charge of 40 personnel, 25 in Japan and 15 in Hawaii. 39 of these personnel are US Air Force enlisted, and 1 is a Japanese civilian who works with our group in Japan as our Community Relations Specialist."

Moore-Urruitia is in charge of the vision and direction of the unit, including decisions involving operational strategy, budget, training, and discipline. She works with other Department of Defense and at times Department of State agencies to synchronize their efforts and align with Air Force priorities in the region in which they are located.

A ceremony for Moore's honorable promotion was held in March at the Yokota Air Force Base near Tokoyo, Japan, with her mother, Stella, in attendance. Mrs. Moore had the honor of pinning her daughter during the ceremony. "I found out back in June of 2015 that I was selected for promotion," offered Moore Urruitia, " but I didn't actually "pin-on" until April 1, 2016."

Moore graduated from Scottsbluff High School in 1991, and then went on to college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, receiving her Bachelor's of Music degree in Horn Performance, and her Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting.

"In 1992 I joined the Army National Guard as the Principal horn of the 43rd Army Band in Lincoln," stated Moore-Urruitia, "At the time, this was an opportunity for me to serve part-time in the Guard while going to college, allowing me to focus on my music in both places and have some steady income to help cover expenses outside of my scholarship."

"I was also gigging as a horn player in the local symphony where I met the Deputy Commander of the Heartland of America Band who was subbing as a percussionist. When I told him I was working on a Master's degree in conducting, he encouraged me to audition to participate in a conducting clinic the band had that summer."

Moore began her career in the US Air Force in April of 2001, and throughout her service -- was an instrumental part of the U.S. Air Force band as the Conductor. Prior to moving to Japan, Moore was stationed in Boston, Mass., Washington, D.C., San Antonio, TX, Belleville, IL, and Montgomery, AL. Alongside being a Conductor, she is also the Commander of her unit.

Moore Urruitia explained that at that time, she wasn't really sure if she wanted to be in the military full time, but after lots of prayer and soul searching, she decided to "go for it!".

"I am so grateful that I made that leap of faith," shared Moore Urruitia, "It has been such a joy to serve my country through music. It hasn't been easy, having to pick up and leave friends and family every few years to go where the AF said I needed to go, but it has certainly been an exciting journey thus far." She also stated that at this point in her life, she has made the commitment to make the military her lifetime career.

The USAF of the Pacific band in which the young woman belongs, as well as others in the military, have been throughout history as a key part of the United States' strategy in using music to help build strong and lasting relationships with a diverse set of allies throughout the Pacific region and many different regions.

The most exciting part of being a commander of an Air Force band is being able to use music to break down barriers and build relationships in ways that no other military tool can do. I have performed for diverse audiences , from local communities to heads of state, and each one is important as we seek to honor our veterans, inspire patriotism and boost morale, as well as foster trust in our Air Force and nation worldwide.

"Frankly, I'm just thankful. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and I am grateful that my leadership saw fit to recommend me for promotion. Commanding such a gifted group of Airmen is an awesome responsibility, and I pray that I am able to lead them well."

Moore Urruitia explained that being stationed in Japan is "incredibly exciting." "The Pacific is a very dynamic theater, and there has never been a more important time for the US to work on strengthening relationships with our current allies and partners in this area," gave Moore Urruitia, "as well as seeking to reach out to other nations for the security and stability of the region. Air Force bands are often able to open doors where other military units may not have as much success. We have seen this first hand in Okinawa, and being part of our nation's efforts to strengthen ties with the local population is more important than ever!"

Moore Urruitia offered that as a member of the Air Force, she never expected to have to do "sea duty," but she had the opportunity to deploy with the Navy on a humanitarian training mission to Central and South America.

"I commanded a small Air Force band aboard the USNS Comfort as part of Operation CONTINUING PROMISE in 2009. The band's mission was to take the message of the US' friendship and partnership to the local population in the areas that we docked, sharing the story of the US' ongoing efforts to build relationships in our own hemisphere. We visited nine countries, some of which included Haiti, Colombia, Panama, and Nicaragua."

Moore Urritia is on a two-year assignment in Japan, but there is a chance she stated that it will be extended to a four year tour. She should learn more about the length of the assignment this summer, she added.


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