Currently serving troops and spouses are empowered to steer the Military Officers Association of America toward their unique needs as military families.
In November, MOAA celebrated the outgoing members of our Currently Serving Advisory Council and Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council and also welcomed our newest class, who will serve two-year terms.
The councils lend a voice to all currently serving troops and spouses. They help MOAA shape strategic plans for advocacy, membership, member engagement and councils and chapters.
Past councils have provided comments on readiness, family matters, retirement and healthcare. They’ve helped craft messaging for advertising campaigns and met with lawmakers to talk about legislation during MOAA’s annual Storming the Hill event.
Meet a few of the members:
Currently Serving Advisory Council
Air Force Col. Bill Kale, 2019-2021 council member
Kale, who recently returned to the U.S. after an overseas assignment, said he wanted to use his 24 years of experience to shape regulations that benefit troops.
“I think I bring a huge breadth of knowledge that impact our airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines,” he said. “Everything from housing privatization to all the medical centralization under DHA to pay issues- you name it, I’ve been involved in it. Hopefully I can be of benefit to MOAA and others in this role.”
Marine Corps Col. Brain Russell, 2017-2019 council member
For Russell, his role with the council not only helped MOAA understand current troops issues, but he was able to help his Marines understand how legislation would affect their pay and benefits.
“I probably should have been involved a lot earlier,” he said. “Officers have an obligation to take care of the troops and be informed on legislative issues that impact troops.“
Army Maj. Doug Taylor, 2017-2019 council member
Serving on the council was a way Taylor, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, hoped to help currently serving troops by breaking down the stigma of behavioral health issues.
“The council is one way MOAA is able to get more of the subjective understanding of the military life that is constantly changing,” he said. “The military doesn’t stagnate. It’s a shifting culture. The council provides a touch-base for what all servicemembers are dealing with.”
Navy Reserve Lt. j.g. Dean Castaldo, 2019-2021 council member
As a newly minted lawyer, Castaldo helped ensure servicemembers and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were able to file claims related to water contamination. That’s how he developed other important skills he’ll bring to the council – budget management, storytelling and rallying people together around a root cause.
“We have a responsibility to take action,” Castaldo said. “We know what the problems are. I think it’s important to bring that insight. MOAA is speaking to the decisionmakers and defense leadership – so who better to articulate what is going on now than the folks living and breathing the situation.”
Spouse Advisory Council
Catherine Chalkley, 2017-2019 council member
In her time on the council, Chalkley said she was proud to help plan MOAA’s first National Guard and Reserve Family Forum. She is the wife of a reserve officer and shared her own experience as part of the forum, attended decisionmakers from the Pentagon.
“Having a council of spouses that are acutely aware of challenges helps gauge the seriousness and offer perspectives on things that not everybody would think of,” she said. “The council really brings those issues to light because we’re living them.”
Misty Motion, 2019-2021 council member
Motion joined the council this year to raise awareness on issues spouses face, including lack of childcare resources and spouse unemployment. She has been challenged to continue her career as a school counselor each time the Coast Guard moves her husband.
“I’m at a place where I feel passionate about being able to lend a voice to other military spouses that feel they don’t have the ability or opportunity to serve to bring a light to an issue,” she said.
Josh Green, 2017-2019 council member
The council helps MOAA focus on real issues and hardships placed on military families, said Josh Green, husband of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Loretta Stein. Green also brings a unique viewpoint as a male spouse.
“There’s a perspective that we can offer to servicemembers and retirees who are advocating for us that they don’t realize because they don’t live that life every day,” he said. “It was important to me as a male military spouse that has not previously served that I do make sure there is a voice in our small subset of the community. I wanted to be able to provide a larger voice.”