Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army
From left to right, CASA for Louisiana (North), Rodney Ellis; CASA for Washington (West), Tay Yoshitani; CASA for California (Sacramento), Lance Izumi; Acting Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy; CASA for Wyoming, Mark Johnson; CASA for Florida (Sou... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army appointed seven new Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army during an Aug. 12 investiture ceremony here in the Pentagon.

The Honorable Ryan D. McCarthy, Acting Secretary of the Army, selected Dr. Rodney A. Ellis to represent Louisiana (North); Dr. Jeraline M. Johnson to represent Florida (South); Dr. Mark W. Johnson to represent Wyoming; Babejohn 'Babe' Kwasniak to represent Ohio (North); Lance Izumi and Charles "Chuck" Pattillo to represent California (Sacramento); and Tay Yoshitani to represent the State of Washington (West).

"As I looked over your biographies and resumes, I am happy to welcome the best of the best educators and men and women in business to serve on my behalf in your community," McCarthy said. "I am pleased to have each of you help me connect the Army to your community. The Army is a huge organization which means I need a lot of good communicators to tell the Army story. I ask that you visit every corner of your community to support recruiting efforts and help diversify and build the force of the future."

CASAs are a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the Secretary about regional issues.

Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs appointed to provide a vital link between the Army and the communities for which they serve. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and their communities.

CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service. The secretary may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 10 years of service with distinguished service.


"This opportunity to serve as a CASA, with so many other incredible leaders throughout the nation, provides another avenue in not only supporting my community, but my country," Ellis said. "I am so honored to be selected as a CASA for Northern Louisiana and help the soldiers and families of our proud United States military."

Ellis earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Alabama; a master's degree in judicial administration from Auburn University at Montgomery; and a doctorate degree in higher education administration from the University of Georgia.

Ellis has a distinguished career in the higher education community college sector where he served students he believes come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds but contribute significantly to the growth of this great nation. As chancellor of Southern University at Shreveport -- a SUSLA -- Ellis said he strives each day to make a specific impact in the African-American and minority communities. SUSLA is one of three campuses of the Southern University System, the only historically black college and university -- HBCUs -- system in the country. Ellis was also appointed to President Trump's Board of Advisors on HBCUs.


"My entire career as an educator," Johnson said, "has allowed me to serve in a variety of positions to provide guidance to our youth and assist them and their parents in making well-informed decisions that would ultimately allow them to reach their goals and be the best they can be."

"My years of work to help others succeed can be seen through my 25 plus years of teaching, counseling, and serving in administrative roles with the 10th largest school district in the nation. I am beyond honored to continue the work of providing accurate and beneficial information about how the Army can assist young men and women with fulfilling their career dreams and aspirations," she said.

A graduate of Alabama State University, Johnson has served others on a local, state, and national level. Her work as an adjunct professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and through leadership positions with organizations such as the National Career Pathways Network, has afforded the opportunity to collaborate with many individuals on projects that help communities understand the wealth of benefits the Army has to offer.


"When I say I've had a lifetime of Army involvement, I mean that literally," Johnson said. "I was born in Germany and raised in an Army family. My own career spanned 34 years of military and Department of the Army civilian service. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend nearly half of my active-duty career immersed in the accessions process, serving in both Army Recruiting and Cadet commands."

A graduate of the United States Military Academy with a degree in international affairs, Johnson earned two graduate degrees in history, a master's from the University of Wyoming, and a doctorate from the State University of New York.

With experiences in recruiting the topic for his doctoral dissertation, he said, was easy to pin down: the challenges associated with recruiting the regular Army during the mid-nineteenth century, during both times of peace and wartime.

Johnson is now administrative manager, Natrona County High School in Casper, one of the largest secondary schools in Wyoming. He interacts with and mentors young people -- at-risk students in particular. He also coordinates with the Casper Police and Fire departments and other first responders to develop and implement emergency action plans.


"When I was honorably discharged as a captain in 2004, I will never forget a highly decorated four-star general whom I admire state, 'The United States Army is the best team you will ever be on,'" Kwasniak said. "Not a day goes by that I don't miss putting on the uniform of the greatest team in the world. To be appointed as a CASA for Ohio is the biggest professional honor of my life."

A graduate of West Point Class 1999, Kwasniak holds a bachelor of science degree in geopolitics. Since 2010 he has coached at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, Cleveland, and led the team to three state championships.

"I'm most proud of the fact seven of my players have gone on to serve in the armed forces," he said. "That means they learned to be a part of something bigger than themselves."


"I have been blessed with many leadership roles during my career to include California's Community College System as president of its board of governors," said Izumi. "However, my work with the United States Army, which has spanned more than a decade, holds a truly special place in my heart.

"As co-chair of the grassroots community outreach board for Army's Los Angeles and Southern California recruiting battalions and then as president of the community relations board for the Northern California Recruiting Battalion, I have been able to see up close the incredible quality of America's Army and to tell the Army story to my fellow Californians."

Directly commissoned as a captain in the California State Military Reserve, Izumi served five years as a public affairs officer and received the CSMR commendation medal. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Law, Izumi holds a master's degree in political science from the University of California at Davis and a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Izumi is currently senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute and is a prominent book author, writer, researcher, and film producer. In addition to his 11-year tenure on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, he served as California Postsecondary Education Commission commissioner; Foundation for California Community Colleges board chair, and California Advisory Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission member.


"It is an honor to be selected to be part of a team of civilians dedicated to supporting the Army mission," Pattillo said. "I am humbled by this appointment and look forward to continuing my public service with the Army, the very agency where I began my public service career as a soldier in 1982."

Pattillo has over 35 years of public service and recently retired after 13 years as general manager (CEO), California Prison Industry Authority -- CALPIA -- an agency dedicated to the rehabilitation of incarcerated men and women. Pattillo was the longest serving CEO in the 70 year history of CALPIA. He continues to work part time with local governments, designing and evaluating criminal justice rehabilitation programs.

Pattillo worked previously as a finance analyst for the California Department of Finance and in senior staff roles with the California Assembly Committees on Budget and Appropriations and the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

Pattillo earned a bachelor of science degree in finance and an master's degree in business administration, both from California State University, Sacramento.


"Over a span of 25 years, I've had the honor and privilege of serving a diverse group of stakeholders as CEO / executive director of four seaports and two airports, Yoshitani said. "I hope to leverage my network and experiences to provide assistance to the Secretary and the Army on a variety of issues."

"One issue I am passionate about is to support veterans following years of sacrifice in defense of our freedom," Yoshitani said. "As CEO of the Port of Seattle, I formed a task force that was later called the Veteran's Fellowship Program which is designed to bridge the gap between military service and work in the private sector. I hope to encourage other organizations to adopt similar programs."

Related Links:

Secretary of the Army