Ceremony honors Oklahoma's CASA
June 23, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Fort Sill honored the Oklahoma Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army with a retreat ceremony June 14 -- the Army's 236th birthday.
Bill Burgess Jr., who was appointed the CASA in October by the secretary, uncased his flag, and was presented with an artillery canister representing the first round fired as a tribute to him as CASA.
"It's a great honor, and I look forward to serving the Army," said Burgess, the son of a retired Army sergeant. "I grew up at Fort Sill ... to be able to serve our Army and our Soldiers is a big honor."
As CASA, Burgess reports to the secretary of the Army about Army affairs in the state.
"We are his eyes and ears in the state of Oklahoma, and represent him at official events," said Burgess, who attended Geronimo Road Elementary School here.
Burgess said his main mission is to support the Soldiers and their families every time he can.
"My dad used to tell me: 'I never worry about myself, I worry about you kids and your mother,'" Burgess said.
During the ceremony, Burgess uncased the CASA flag which is classified as a personal flag similar to a general officer's or senior executive's flag, according to the program narrator. Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill Command Sgt. Maj. Dwight Morrisey and Staff Sgt. Kevin Siders, Headquarters Detachment, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, helped Burgess unfurl his flag.
Burgess told the crowd the United States is strong because of its military.
"Without the armed services there would be no stock market," he said. "We need to readily recognize that the way our lives are lived is a direct result of what the Army and the other armed services do for each one of us everyday."
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. David Halverson, FCoE and Fort Sill commanding general, said Burgess' personal accomplishments, service and dedication to state communities are truly awesome.
In 1993, Burgess was appointed to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, a post he served for 18 years, Halverson said. Burgess also served as chairman of the Citizen's Commission on the Future of Oklahoma Higher Education.
"His accolades show that it is not just what he has done in Lawton, but what he has done for the state, and what he's going to do at the national level," Halverson said.
According to his biography, Burgess is the chairman of the board of Vortex, and the senior partner of Burgess & Hightower Law Firm. He has served as ambassador for the Army Reserve, and is a past president of the Association of the U.S. Army, Fort Sill chapter. He is a member of the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara, a military honor society. The former Eagle Scout has served as president of the Boy Scouts of America - Oklahoma Council.