Presenters & Speakers

Keynote Speakers

FRIDAY | Betty Mosely-Brown, President of the Women Marines Association

Betty Moseley Brown was installed as the 19th President of the Women Marines Association on September 4, 2012 at the National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She is known across the nation as a Veteran’s advocate and she is never shy about sharing an “OOHRAH” with her audiences.  Betty Moseley Brown is no stranger to Veterans and their benefits and services.  She is an example of how many Veterans transition from wearing the uniform to serving Veterans and their families; she does this as a passion and a career.

Betty enlisted in the Marines in 1978 and served until 1992 in various billets, from a MEPs Liaison to canvassing Marine Corps Recruiter.  Betty worked as a federal government employee with the Marine Corps at MCRD San Diego before joining the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Diego and later moving to Washington, DC.  In 2004, Betty Moseley Brown assumed the position of Associate Director, Center for Women Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC and earned her Doctorate of Education in 2006 from the University of Sarasota.

In September 2016, Dr. Moseley Brown was awarded the Dickey Chapelle Award; honoring the memory of the late Dickey Chapelle, an American foreign correspondent who first covered Marines in combat at the Battle of Iwo Jima and was killed while on patrol with a Marine Corps infantry unit engaged in combat operations against enemy forces during the Vietnam War. The award was established by the Marine Corps League to extend recognition to a woman who has contributed substantially to the morale, welfare and well-being of the officers and men and women of the United States Marine Corps.

Betty Moseley Brown is honored (and humbled) to lead the many women who have earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and especially those who are members of the Women Marines Association.

SATURDAY | Major Margaret Witt, Veteran and Author: “Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights

Margaret “Margie” Witt is a decorated, 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force who made history in 2010 with her successful constitutional challenge to a notorious law— known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT)—that prohibited known gays and lesbians from serving in the U.S. military. Three months after she was ordered reinstated, Congress repealed the law.

Margie was born in 1964 in Tacoma where she became, among other things, a four-sport varsity athlete at Curtis High School and a two-sport varsity athlete at Pacific Lutheran University. She received her Nursing degree from PLU in 1986 and joined the U.S. Air Force the following year. She was on active duty for over eight years and, among other assignments, served as an operating room nurse at the Wiesbaden Regional Medical Center in Germany where she tended to soldiers wounded in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. After transferring from active to reserve duty, she joined the 446 AES at McChord AFB where she served an additional ten years.  She served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch. While serving with the 446th she received a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Eastern Washington University in 1998. Since then her work (as a civilian) has mostly been as a physical therapist for Spokane-area school districts and the Veterans Health Administration. In 2012 she received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Temple University. She is currently the supervisor Rehabilitation Services at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Portland. Most recently she has assumed the authorship of Math for Meds and Dimensional Analysis for Meds textbooks for nurses, created and authored for decades by Anna Curren.

In her Air Force career, Margie logged nearly 2,000 hours as a flight nurse before being suspended, in 2004, when the Air Force announced it was pursuing her discharge under DADT. After prevailing against the Air Force and the U.S. Government at trial, she reached a settlement agreement and retired from the Air Force. She continues to speak out about her challenge to DADT and to campaign for equal rights and protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. She lives with her wife, Laurie Johnson, in Portland Oregon.

A book signing for “Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights” will be held after Major Witt’s keynote.

In 1993 Margie Witt, a young Air Force nurse, was chosen as the face of the Air Force’s “Cross into the Blue” recruitment campaign. This was also the year that President Clinton’s plan for gays to serve openly in the military was quashed by an obdurate Congress, resulting in the blandly cynical political compromise known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Contrary to its intent, DADT had the perverse effect of making it harder for gay servicemen and -women to fight expulsion. Over the next seventeen years more than 13,000 gay soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guard, and airmen and -women were removed from military service. That is, until Margie Witt’s landmark case put a stop to it.

Tell is the riveting story of Major Margaret Witt’s dedicated and decorated military career as a frontline flight nurse, and of her love and devotion to her partner—now wife—Laurie Johnson. Tell captures the tension and drama of the politically charged legal battle that led to the congressional repeal of the controversial law and helped pave the way for a suite of landmark political and legal victories for gay rights. Tell is a testament to the power of love to transform hearts and minds, as well as a celebration of the indomitable spirit of Major Witt, her wife Laurie, her dedicated legal team, and the brave men and women who came forward to testify on her behalf in a historic federal trial.