WASHINGTON – During a virtual investiture ceremony on May 21, 2020, the Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy appointed three individuals as Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army. The new CASAs are Stan Soderstrom, a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana; Mary Jane Jernigan, a resident of Havre de Grace, Maryland; and Michael Schmitz, a resident of Dothan, Alabama.
“Now more than ever, CASAs with strong community connections like Stan, Mary Jane and Michael are needed to help recruit in a digital environment,” McCarthy said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our rules of engagement within communities; however, I’m confident that force enablers like our CASAs will ensure the Army makes mission.”
CASAs, a vital part of the Army, promote good relations between the Army and the public and advise the secretary on regional issues.
Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs to provide vital links between the Army and the communities 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.
“The ability to serve as the U.S. Army CASA for Indiana is an honor for me, and I am excited at the opportunity to serve in this role,” said Soderstrom, executive director of Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis Children’s Fund since 2009. “This state’s legacy of providing our nation with Soldiers in times of war and peace is an important part of our history and our ethos. Our communities must continue to support our Soldiers, whether they are active-duty, Reserve or National Guard. Our primary commitment is to advocate for Soldiers and their families, and I am looking forward to dedicating myself in that endeavor.”
“I am profoundly honored to represent Maryland as a civilian aide to Secretary McCarthy,” said Jernigan, vice president of business development at LOGIX, LLC., a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. “The strength, resiliency and fortitude of our Army is remarkable. Our Army is the greatest on the planet, and I am proud to be part of the team.”
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army,” said Schmitz, founder of Mike Schmitz Automotive Group and former mayor of Dothan, Alabama. “Having four brothers and a father who all served in the military, I have seen the challenges that they and their families faced as they dedicated their lives to serving our country. I look forward to serving as the voice for families like theirs, and I will continue to tell the story of the U.S. Army and its impact on the great state of Alabama and the United States.”