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Star Spangled Banner Chapter

Star Spangled Banner Chapter

COL George Stakias, USA (Ret.)
President, Star Spangled Banner Chapter, 2024

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Presidents Reports

President’s Remarks

Col George Stakias, USA (Ret.)           Jan 2024
Happy New Year to my fellow chapter members. I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season with family and loved ones. As we kick-off the New Year, my goal is to strengthen the chapter by bringing in new members and continue the mission of assisting our ROTC graduates in taking the oath of office and serving this great country. I look forward to this year and the opportunities that will present themselves to serve our community and the organization!


COL George Stakias USA (Ret)

President, Star Spangled Banner Chapter of MOAA

(410) 707-6947


CAPT Mike DeHaemer, USN (Ret.)             Dec 2023

As my term as Chapter President has come to an end with calendar year 2023, I am happy to see the new year begin with a full slate of officers for the Star Spangled Banner Chapter.  Congratulations to Colonel George Stakias, USA, and the other officers and board members who were elected for the 2024-2025 term at the November membership meeting. 

2023 was a successful year for our chapter.  Lt. General Brian Kelly, USAF (Ret.) was our guest speaker at the November dinner meeting.  He opened his remarks with congratulations to the chapter as he presented three awards of national recognition – two Harris Communications awards for the Chapter Newsletter and the StarSpan Website, and the Level of Excellence Award.  He noted that our chapter is among the best since he has visited many chapters which did not receive awards.

Colonel Rita Kurek, ANG (Ret.) received the MOAA Leadership Award from General Kelly for her outstanding community work with fund raising for Paws4Vets and for her excellent efforts on the Chapter Newsletter and as the chapter secretary.  Congratulations to Rita and thank you from the whole chapter for your efforts “above and beyond.”

In 2023 the Star Spangled Banner Chapter held five dinner meetings, each with guest speakers of note; and we had a field trip to the impressive USMC “Sunset Parade” at the DC Marine Barracks in June. Our support of university and high school ROTC programs was noteworthy.  Under the chairmanship of Colonel Frank Hilsher, USA (Ret.) multiple commissioning ceremonies were attended at three universities, Johns Hopkins, Morgan State and Loyola.  51 new second lieutenants received an “Officers Guide” book from our chapter. We also presented Leadership Award medals to five Junior ROTC high school programs.

For the 2023 state legislative session, Lt. Colonel Bill Gray, USA (Ret.) kept us informed, especially about the passage of the state income tax exemption for military retirement pay. As our chapter Chair of Legislative Affairs, his work continues for the 2024 session, which is just now beginning.  See his articles in this newsletter and participate in sending emails to the legislators.

I am very happy that the Star Spangled Banner Chapter will continue to do important work in 2024 and beyond, representing the military in the Baltimore area and supporting the ROTC programs in our community.

Happy New Year to all the Star Spangled Banner Chapter members!

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CAPT Michael J. DeHaemer, USN (Ret.)    Dec 2022

The Star Spangled Banner Chapter is going “Full Speed Ahead” for 2023 . With the assistance of MOAA National and members of the Maryland Council of Chapters, we conducted a successful revitalization meeting last November.  A full slate of energetic officers and service representatives for 2023 were confirmed by the Board in December, and we are preparing for a full schedule of meetings, field trips, and member activities in the New Year.

We will continue our mission:

  • looking after active duty and veterans’ interests in Maryland and nationally
  • recognizing newly commissioned officers from the area ROTC units
  • serving our community, particularly supporting paws4vets
  • and providing opportunities to enjoy the camaraderie of our common service.

Opening the New Year will be a dinner meeting, 18 January, at the Blue Stone Restaurant in Timonium. Captain Jan Miles will talk about his long career and adventures as the skipper of the tall sailing ship Pride of Baltimore II. There will be a lunch meeting in March. Plans are in the works for attending the Sunset Parade at the US Marine Corps Barracks in June with another outing in late summer. Of course, we will celebrate our 59th Anniversary in November.

Every Chapter Member is on the Program Committee! Please give me your input (by email or phone) on speakers, dining venues, costs, time of days, or other ideas. Send to:; text or phone 443    695-4741.

We will be active with the Maryland Military Coalition and the Maryland Council of MOAA Chapters to advance legislation in support of military personnel issues.  In particular we support the elimination of state income tax for military retirees. LTC Bill Gray, Legislative Affairs Liaison, recently notified chapter members of the email alert system put in place by our State Council of MOAA Chapters for the 2023 session of the Maryland General Assembly. You may assist by a quick response to the alerts during the General Assembly beginning 11 January 2023.

The ROTC/JROTC programs are supported by our $25 annual dues which fund the Army Officer Guides presented to newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenants, and MOAA Certificates and Medals presented to cadets that show exceptional potential for leadership.

Thank you for you support! Your active membership is key. With your help, we will continue to grow our chapter’s membership in the greater Baltimore area, present meaningful programs, take care of our military communities and greatly enjoy lively camaraderie!

Mike DeHaemer

CAPT, USN (Ret.)

President, Star Spangled Banner Chapter
Military Officers Association of America, MOAA

443 695-4741

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