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Grand Forks Airman rises to the challenge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand
  • 319th Reconnaissance Wing

Airman 1st Class Maria Moskvichova was completing Air Force missions all around the world prior to even enlisting.

However, while the missions were comparable to those conducted by the Air Force, they weren’t actually real.

You see, the Air Force website features a game called “Airman Challenge”, which begins with players providing air support over a village in Afghanistan. It then progresses through various missions across the globe to demonstrate what the Air Force does and the many jobs within the force that contribute to its overall success.

The game was going well until Moskvichova had to shut it down and head to work. Interested in completing real world missions and building a better life for herself, she decided to enter her contact information. She was soon connected with a recruiter and the rest is history.

Moskvichova now works as an operations management journeyman in the 319th Civil Engineer (CE) Squadron, where she handles customer service and manages inventory for units across the installation. She is considered the go-to person in her office for her vast knowledge of CE procedures and is highly respected by her peers.

Her dedicated work ethic transfers to her personal life as well, where she spends her spare time progressing towards a bachelor’s degree in computer science and frequently volunteering in the local community.

“I’m passionate about doing things I enjoy, like practicing Jiu Jistu, spending time with dogs and longboarding,” said Moskvichova. “I’m also really passionate about my job and learning as much as I can.”

Her passion for learning was exemplified when she volunteered for the base honor guard, with whom she traveled to nearby states and represented the Air Force in ceremonies and funerals.

“That was such an unforgettable experience,” said Moskvichova. “It meant a lot to be able to pay our respects to fallen Airmen. It is something I recommend everyone do at least once.”

Moskvichova was proud to represent the Air Force in such a meaningful capacity, as she never expected herself to be where she is today.

She was born and raised in a small town in Western Ukraine, where she grew up bilingual speaking Ukrainian and Russian. She began learning English at age five, which she continued to perfect after moving to Thailand at the age of 15.

Moskvichova moved to the United States a couple years later, where she lived in North Carolina until deciding to enlist in the Air Force.

“I was a Ukrainian citizen in the U.S. military, so I decided to become a U.S. citizen after arriving at Grand Forks,” said Moskvichova.

It was difficult for her to complete this process, as she struggled to find the information and resources she needed. After countless hours of research, she was at last successful.

“I was so relieved when I finally got my citizenship. It was a huge milestone I achieved,” said Moskvichova. “I am finally a citizen and I have the same rights. I can vote, I can run for president if I want to.”

Due to the challenges she faced, she decided to use her experience to help other Airmen more easily navigate this life-changing milestone. Moskvichova taught a class to 11 Airmen and was able to help eight of them gain U.S. citizenship.

She claims her successes – her work performance, contribution to the base honor guard and helping Airmen gain U.S. citizenship – are attributable to her always having a goal.

“The drive is the most important thing to me,” said Moskvichova. “I always have a goal and make sure I am doing everything I can to pursue that goal.”

Her work in the 319 CES provides vital mission capabilities to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing, allowing the RQ-4 Global Hawk to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information to joint combatant forces worldwide.

Moskvichova lives out the Airman Challenge everyday by ensuring the wing remains mission ready and protecting national security by supporting the crucial ISR mission at Grand Forks AFB.