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Cannon captain shares students' letters

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elliott Sprehe
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Deployments are challenging, but when you have the force of a fifth-grade class cheering you on, anything can be accomplished. 

With almost 100 handwritten letters in hand from Eyestone Elementary School in Wellington, Colo., Capt. Tyler Moore, 27th Special Operations Wing Equal Opportunity director, compiled and published "Dear Captain Moore," a 56-page novella that took a journey into the inquisitive minds of children. 

After helping him through his deployment, Debra Dale's fifth-grade class continued corresponding with Captain Moore when he returned to the United States, culminating with a visit to her class. 

The journey began with an e-mail. 

"I heard about a letter-writing campaign between servicemembers and children in the United States," said Captain Moore. "So I put my name on the e-mail list and a month later I got my first letter." 

"We had about eight to 10 names of people who we were corresponding with when we began," said Mrs. Dale, who has been teaching at Eyestone for nearly 10 years. 

Captain Moore was one of the young letter-writers' recipients, and as the students wrote their second, third, and fourth letters, others would not write back as often, but the captain continued his correspondence, said Mrs. Dale. 

"I wanted to show my appreciation to the students who wrote the letters," said Captain Moore. "I decided to write them back. The more I wrote back, more and more students would write back to me." 

The letters the captain received asked questions about deployed life, holidays, family, and favorite sports teams. 

"I really appreciate you sending me a letter. You are the first one to send me back a letter," a fifth-grader named Martin wrote. 

"I'm sorry you don't get snow, but we have six inches of it," said fellow classmate Chance. 

"Thank you for serving our country well. I feel like this shouldn't even be happening," wrote Deanna. 

Upon returning to the states in early 2007, Captain Moore continued to write and receive letters until he decided to visit Mrs. Dale's class so that the future published writers could put a face to his name. 

"There was excitement about his visit that built over time," said Mrs. Dale, who added that the students were "awestruck" when Captain Moore entered the classroom. "He came in wearing full (service dress). He was just a powerful presence." 

He presented the class with appreciation certificates, a plaque, and an American flag that flew over his base. The students also enjoyed spending their lunch and recess with him, said Mrs. Dale. 

Captain Moore continued to read the letters and thought they would make a good story. iUniverse, Inc. published his book, "Dear Captain Moore," in early 2008. 

"He made reading come alive for these children," said Mrs. Dale. "He's a man of high honor and integrity and made an impact on these kids that will last the rest of their lives." 

"From their letters of support and appreciation, I would find inspiration through the voices of America's youth," said Captain Moore. "It was a rewarding and unforgettable experience." 

Captain Moore still reads the letters, a tribute to the hope, ideals and thanks that rest with children who, when given the time, can cheer a person up with a letter that begins with the simple salutation, "Dear ...."