FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2011
Maritime Patrol Association Launches Official Plank Owner Membership
JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Maritime Patrol Association (MPA) launched its Plank Owner Membership program on the organization’s website on September 13, 2011, beginning the inaugural drive to build a strong foundation of members to support the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF).
Members of MPA will have the opportunity to network with each other through a variety of meetings, events and media; give and receive recognition to those persons who have made significant contributions to the community; and be informed of new developments and accomplishments in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community. Members who register in the association’s first year will be considered “Plank Owners,” a historical tradition in the U.S. Navy whereby crew members of a newly commissioned ship had bragging rights to the “ownership” of one of the planks on the main deck.
Incorporated earlier this year, MPA has grown from wishful thinking to an official Florida non-profit corporation in less than ten months.
“The idea of an MPA organization has been around for a long time,” said CAPT Rich Heimerle, USN (Ret.) “It’s just never seemed to be the right time and we never have had the right people to put it together, until now.”
A group of MPRF officers recognized the need for a member association in 2010 while planning the MPRF Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration events that took place at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in April 2011. They began talking to counterparts in other professional military membership organizations and an idea began to take shape. With the ongoing effort to link the community as a family of systems, along with the transition to a new aircraft and the stand up of the first long range Navy UAV on the horizon, the founding members of MPA realized that if ever an association was going to exist, now was the time.
“I want to thank those who have made this association a reality,” said Rear Admiral Michael W. Hewitt, U.S. Navy. “As we close out the first 100 years of Naval Aviation and celebrate the rich heritage of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, I look forward to a bright future with the P-8A Poseidon and BAMS UAS. Now that we have begun the complex transition from a legacy aircraft that has served us well for over fifty years, it is more important than ever to bring together our past, present, and future warriors. Synergistic efforts between those great Americans assigned to our squadrons, the organizations that support them, and our many dedicated industry partners will continue to deliver unmatched capability to the Fleet. Continuing communication and collaboration between Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force and our civilian partners is vital to our overall success.”
A 501(c)(3) Florida non-profit corporation established in 2011 and headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, the Maritime Patrol Association plans on being a premier professional organization representing the U.S. Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community by promoting the use of the patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in the United States Navy. For more information, contact September Wilkerson, Executive Director, at (904) 563-4036 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or check out the MPA website at www.maritimepatrolassociation.org.
Maritime Patrol Association