U.S. Senior Airman (SrA) Nicholas Schmidt, left, receives a plaque from fellow service members in recognition of his work at Edwards Air Force Base in California. I keep some type of camera with me at all times; even if it’s just a phone. I’ve learned “those” moments happen when you least expect them. After four years, my son had decided to leave the U.S. Air Force and return to civilian life. He had two years of overseas duty, and the last 16 months, he was stationed at Edwards AFB in California. I had flown out to help him pack up and drive home to Iowa and, hopefully, spend time just talking. During his last full day on base, we walked through a maze of hallways in “his” building, up some stairs into an office space when I heard a voice say, “Gentlemen let’s do this.” Several heads popped up from cubicles and moved toward my son. A staff sergeant appeared from around a corner holding a large plaque. Luckily, I had stopped just inside the office door and had just enough time to pull my phone out and capture a few images of this impromptu presentation. In a world that recognizes individuals by last name only, it was a surprise to hear his first. The sergeant said several things and concluded by reading part of the inscribed plaque … “412th TW Weapons Standardization, Fighter Squadron Load Crew Member, Nick Schmidt. Thank you for all the hard work, dedication, hilarious stories and moments. The talent you shared amongst us all in W.S. will be missed ... but never forgotten.” A moment I'll never forget.