The Campaign to Change Direction Launch

Mar 04 2015

Photo by Rene Campos

Photo by Rene Campos

MOAA was honored to participate a summit held here today in Washington, DC, launching ‘The Campaign to Change Direction’, a national initiative aimed at increasing public awareness around topics of mental health, mental illness and wellness. As part of collective effort led by Give an Hour, 50 other campaign partners like MOAA, have pledged their support over the next five years in helping create a new story and way for society to respond to mental health.

Inspired at a White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, ‘Change Direction’, this transformative movement is to help address a growing trend today—that is, one in five Americans are living with a diagnosable mental health condition, and it is expected that more Americans will die by suicide than in car accidents this year. Often friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even family members are suffering emotionally and don’t recognize the symptoms or won’t ask for help. The five signs of suffering icons provide an easy tool for recognizing emotional pain in yourself, in a loved one or in others.

Featured keynote at the summit was First Lady Michelle Obama. She talked about the many military, veterans and their families who return home okay, and those who have returned home with a diagnosed with a mental health condition, she praised them for showing tremendous courage and strength in seeking help and sharing their experiences.

MOAA has pledged to raise awareness of the initiative through our annual Warrior-Family Symposium, leveraging our Military Coalition relations, and through our print and online publications. “The mental well-being of our troops, veterans, and their families has long been a concern and mission for MOAA, and we look forward to helping raise awareness of mental health at such a critical time—a natural extension of our service to nation and our service to the brave, men and women and their families in and out of uniform,” said VADM Norb Ryan, MOAA president. This campaign is an extension of MOAA’s continued service to America and to our brave military, veterans and their families.

Learn more about the National Campaign to Change Direction at

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Mil Tech — Navy, Marine Corps Order Blackjack Small Tactical UAVs

Mar 03 2015

Published by under Technology

The U.S. Navy is purchasing three RQ-21A Blackjack small tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Boeing Insitu Inc. in Bingen, Wash., to provide information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for tactical commanders in the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.


The $41.1 million contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.

The RQ-21A Blackjack is 8.2 feet long, has a 16-foot wingspan, weighs 81 pounds, and carries multi-sensor payloads in a under-nose pod. The UAV uses a pneumatic launcher and net-style recovery system, allowing it to be launched and recovered on both sea and land.

Blackjack’s maximum payload weight is 39 pounds with its standard payload configuration of an electro-optic imager, a mid-wave infrared imager, a laser rangefinder, an infrared marker, and a communications relay and automatic identification system.

Key features of the Blackjack, according to Insitu, are the rapid integration of new payloads for expanded mission sets; its roll-on, roll-off capability that supports ship-to-objective maneuvers; its minimal footprint that accommodates small sites and deck operations; and the fact it is expeditionary and runway independent to support tactical missions on land and sea.

The RQ-21A Blackjack features an endurance of up to 16 hours and has a ceiling of 19,500 feet. Blackjack uses an 8-horsepower reciprocating engine with electronic fuel injection and can ingest both JP-5 and JP-8 fuel. It’s cruising speed is 60 knots, and its maximum horizontal speed is in excess of 90 knots.

The RQ-21A Blackjack started its development in 2010 for the Navy and Marine Corps and was the first organic and dedicated multi-intelligence unmanned aerial system available to Marine and Navy tactical commanders.

The Navy expects Blackjack to provide real time situational awareness information to its ships, Navy special warfare units and expeditionary combat command forces, and Marine Corps land forces.

The Marine Corps will use Blackjack for dedicated real-time ISR for its expeditionary forces, divisions, and regiments, with information being delivered to a tactical commander.

About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., journalist who writes for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s the author of the historical mystery, Full Moon; the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert; and his newest historical mystery, Asylum Lane, all available at

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The Marines of Montford Point

Feb 27 2015


In honor of African American History Month, we’re sharing some of our favorite past features and stories about African Americans in the military through the month of February!

Learn about the Congressional Gold Medal the Montford Point Marines were awarded in 2011, and how they led the country to victory in war and in civil rights!

The Montford Point Marines entered the Armed Forces as a segregated unit during World War II. Their success paved the way for other African American units before the Marine Corps was officially desegregated in 1949.


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Celebrating 100 Years of the U.S. Navy Reserve

Feb 26 2015

Navy Reserve CentennialThe Navy Reserve will mark its centennial anniversary on Tuesday, March 3rd with a series of events starting in Washington DC and continuing at installations around the country during the year. The events will highlight the history of the Navy Reserve and the remarkable contributions Reserve Sailors have made to the nation’s security.

For 100 years Navy Reserve Sailors have answered our nation’s call in times of war and peace.  From communities across America, young men and women left their homes and jobs, trading out civilian clothes for Navy uniforms. From its earliest days, the Navy Reserve has reflected the face of the nation, welcoming members from every race, color, creed and gender to strengthen our Force.

The U.S. Navy Reserve – Ready then. Ready now. Ready always.

For information on Centennial events, as well as the history and heritage of the Navy Reserve, visit

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2015 National Veterans Day Poster

Feb 23 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ mission to fulfill its promise to Veterans exists because of the service and sacrifice of our Nation’s heroes. Each year — through a national Veterans Day poster contest — VA’s National Veterans Outreach Office, in conjunction with the Veterans Day National Committee, publish a commemorative Veterans Day poster, soliciting and selecting from the numerous creative contributions of U.S. citizens nationwide. Through the years, these posters have illustrated the rich history of our country’s protectors, and continue to remind all who see them of the accomplishments and struggles faced by our Veterans, past and present. From Revolutionary War battles, to an Old Guard soldier rendering a salute in a solemn ceremony, vivid images and artwork call on us to pause and reflect in homage to those who paved the way for our freedom. The poster is distributed to VA facilities and military installations around the world, and graces the cover of the official program for the Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery.

Do you have an idea for a national Veterans Day poster? If so, the Veterans Day National Committee wants to hear from you. The committee is seeking submissions for the 2015 national Veterans Day poster.

Poster submission guidelines:

  • The final posters must be 18×24” at 300 dots per inch (scale down submissions to 9×12”).
  • Submit electronic versions as jpg images or PDF files via e-mail to: or alternatively, send copies of artwork on a CD with artwork files to:

Veterans Day National Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs, ATTN: Micheal Migliara (002D), 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420

Please do not send originals. The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2015.

FULL entry criteria and examples of past winning submissions are displayed at: (Scroll down and click on Poster Gallery to see past winners.)

If you have any questions, please contact Micheal Migliara at or 202-461-5386.


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