By SFC John FriesJanuary 26, 2015

81st Wildcats host CASA briefing
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81st Wildcats host CASA briefing
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FORT JACKSON, SC -- Eight Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) spent two days visiting military installations in South Carolina including Fort Jackson and the 81st Regional Support Command. The purpose of the CASA visit was to get detailed information about current Active Duty, Army Reserve and National Guard initiatives and major programs in the area.

The visit was the first time all CASAs from states within the 81st area of responsibility were brought together to receive information they need to serve the Army.

This is a valuable opportunity to connect our Reserve partners, according to Mr. Peter Quinn, 81st RSC's Chief of Staff.

"This briefing provides them with an overview of the Amy Reserve and the Army Reserve program, the Soldiers that we have in their states and what those Soldiers do and bring to their economy," said Mr. Quinn.

The Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) is a volunteer assignment, appointed by the Secretary of the Army and is equivalent to a three-star general position. Typically, each state has one CASA appointed and their role is to provide individual advice to the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff, and commanders at all levels on public sentiments toward the Army. They also disseminate information about the Army's objectives, roles, requirements and major programs to the public through public speeches and personal contact with the public.

"Particularly for me, today and yesterday has been pretty much what the doctor ordered because in the role of the CASA, I wanted to make sure that I represented the Army. And the Army is the active Army, the Reserve and the National Guard," said Mr. Bill Dukes, CASA for South Carolina.

Some of the programs that were highlighted in the briefing include Army Reserve Family programs, Strongbonds, Soldier for Life, and Yellow Ribbon Events.

Prior to the second-day briefing, the group of CASAs and Army Reserve Ambassadors attended a basic training graduation ceremony for the Soldiers of 3-13th Infantry Battalion followed by a lunch engagement with recruits from their respective states and a visit to the Master Resiliency Training Center on Fort Jackson.

"I was just impressed with their self confidence and it was just good to be around young people with that level of commitment to service" said Mr. Bill Cathcart, CASA for Georgia (Costal Region).

Mr. Jim Hill, CASA from Louisiana, commented on the two recruits he had spoke to, "I was impressed that they were so young and I was so impressed and so proud of them because they were both committed to the regular army. They were articulate, confident and what you would expect for the combat training course for Soldiers to produce Soldier who can communicate, and survive and do what they need to do."

The CASAs in attendance for the briefing included, Mr. Bill Dukes -South Carolina, Mr. Bill Cathcart -- Georgia (Coastal Region), Mr. Wallace Schoettelkotte -- Florida, Mr. Virdin Brown -- Virgin Islands, Mr. Felix Santoni -- Puerto Rico, Mr. Joe Fitzgerald -- Alabama (North), Mr. Jim Hill -- Louisiana and Mr. Danny Pugh - Arkansas.

Army Reserve Resources:

- Army Reserve Family Programs www.arfp.org, a site for support to our Army Reserve families and survivors.

- Strong Bonds www.strongbonds.org, a chaplain-led program to increase Solider and family readiness through relationship education and skills training

- Soldier for Life www.army.mil/sfl , supports successful reintegration of our Soldiers, veterans and their families and instill their values, ethos and leadership within their communities.

- Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program www.yellowribbonevents.org , Four-event program that prepares Reserve Soldiers and their families for all aspects of the deployment cycle.

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