Veterans Day has extra meaning for many at Viasat

Former Marine Mike Moore oversees program to connect military aircraft

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When Mike Moore joined the Marine Corps, he thought it would be for just a few years. He stayed 22, gaining valuable experience that informs his current role at Viasat as a program manager for airborne terminals. He’s seen here during his promotion to master sargeant in Afghanistan, July 2012, with promoting office Col. Roger Standfield.

Viasat has hundreds of military veterans in its ranks — former members of the armed forces who have the opportunity to take what they learned in the field and apply it to Viasat products and services needed by active military. This Veterans Day, we catch up with program manager and former Marine Mike Moore.

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Mike Moore takes time every Veterans Day to reflect on his service with the Marines, and the people with whom he served. But he doesn’t pause for long: He’s found another way to serve both the military and his country through his work at Viasat.

Moore is a program manager for the company’s Marine Corps airborne terminals, charged with overseeing a program that installs connectivity on military aircraft and ensuring those systems run smoothly.

“I’m bringing them the technology I wish I had when I was their age,” Moore said. “Most of my Marines experience was with groundside networking. With Viasat’s technology, we have more capacity available for one MV-22 aircraft now than I had in 2004 for an entire airbase. To me, that’s a game changer for Marines.”

Moore works with the U.S. Marine Corps to add Viasat’s secure, high-speed connectivity to MV-22 Osprey rotary wing aircraft. Marines use the Osprey as the workhorse for moving forces, especially when speed and distance are a factor. The MV-22 can fly 900 miles — three times the range of helicopters. But when this valuable tool was first introduced, it lacked connectivity — technology the Marines needed to let them know the situation they were entering. Viasat’s secure network has filled that missing gap.

“We’re providing global internet to the back of the aircraft, just like we would for a commercial airliner,” Moore said. “We’re enabling them to have broadband communication through secure networks so they can have full-motion video feeds, the common operational picture, chat, and phone calls. That’s important during long flights since the situation en route can change more dramatically, and they can maintain situational awareness.”

Mike Moore with family

Mike Moore at his reenlistment ceremony in April 2015 aboard the SS Curtiss in San Diego. From left, son Kai Moore, Mike, wife Laura Moore and stepdaughter Alexis Garcia.

Long experience

Moore understands those logistics better than many. He served 22 years in the Marines, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired in 2017 as a master sergeant with commendation and good conduct awards from both the Navy and Marines.

It’s a military career the teenage Moore never could have foreseen. The Virginia native enlisted in 1995 after graduating high school, with no intention of serving long-term.

“I was college-bound as a high school student but couldn’t afford the tuition; I looked at the Marines initially as a means to get to college,” he said. “My plan was to do four years and get out.”

But Moore served his first five years in Japan, and found he enjoyed not only life overseas but the military itself.

“I really felt I could make a difference within my circle of influence,” he said.

Moore trained in communications electronics, eventually serving as technical control chief and technical control engineer in Iraq, Afghanistan, and San Diego’s Marine Corps Air Station.

During those 22 years, he met and served with Paul Miller, a retired Marine colonel who works as Viasat’s senior director of support services, and Jim Robinson, vice president of Marine Corps Programs at Viasat.

Moore also became familiar with Viasat’s products while he served, including the Linkway and Enhanced Bandwidth Efficient (EBEM) modems, and the Arclight waveform. He was impressed with the technology, which made working for Viasat an easy decision.

“It’s very difficult to retire, to remove yourself from an organization you’ve been part of for such a long time,” he said. “But it’s good to be able to give back. I get to take the experiences I’ve had with the Marines and bring that to Viasat, and also help Viasat engineers who may have never served or been on a helicopter. I’m no longer living the day-to-day Marine Corps life, but I get to keep my toes in the water.”

Working at Viasat is dramatically different from military service, but also echoes those years in some key ways, Moore said.

“Because Viasat’s a more flat organization where so many opinions are valued, it can be a tough transition for prior military folks,” he said. “In the service organizations, you have to believe your boss is the ultimate decision maker. At Viasat, it’s often not that way. Employees at all levels are encouraged to challenge the status quo and may often be leading new efforts for their team.

“But one of the things I love about Viasat and that most Marines love about the Corps is the camaraderie. You have these really close relationships in the military that are very difficult to find elsewhere. You get a similar level of that here at Viasat. That’s one of the things that attracted me to Viasat, and is keeping me around today.”

Moore, who will soon celebrate his four-year anniversary with Viasat, intends to stay around a long time.

“Viasat’s my forever job, and that’s what I tell everybody,” he said. “One of the things I like about it is it feels like a choose-your-own-adventure company. If you really love the technology and want to go back to school to learn more, they support that. If you want to get more into business development or finance, they’ll support that, too. You can really just move around, and there are so many opportunities to do multiple things within the company.”

For someone who spent decades in the military, such career flexibility is especially gratifying.

“It’s great to be in an organization that value veterans’ experiences and sees that our skill sets are so translatable to multiple business areas,” he said.

Moore is married to a former Marine. He and his wife, Laura, have four children and two German shepherds.

Jane Reuter was a Colorado journalist for 20 years before transitioning to Viasat as a corporate communications writer. A mother of one, she lives in Golden, CO and is an outdoor enthusiast.