WASHINGTON – During a virtual ceremony on August 18, 2020, at the Pentagon, Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy appointed six individuals as Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army. The new CASAs are Joseph Toloa’ Ho Ching, II, a resident of Pago Pago, American Samoa; Ken Keen, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia; Elizabeth “Beth” Kubala, a resident of Cicero, New York; Mark K. Benton, a resident of San Francisco, California; Michael Sablan, a resident of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and John Phillips, a resident of Canton, Georgia.
Secretary McCarthy thanked them for their willingness to serve.
“These are unprecedented times and the Army is fortunate to have you in the community interacting with civic leaders, educators and businesses,” said Secretary McCarthy. “We have found that there is a dramatic correlation with CASAs and an increase recruitment. CASAs are a valuable asset in the community and help make a difference”
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 distinguished service.
“It is a privilege to have been selected,” said Ho Ching, II, president and CEO of CBT Ho Ching & Co. Inc. The US Army is a tremendous institution providing opportunities for so many American Samoans as well as Americans in general. I am grateful for this position as it affords me a platform that will allow me to work in the community and tell the Army story on behalf of the Secretary of the Army. I look forward to collaborating with the leadership and people of our territory in strengthening the relationship between the Army and American Samoans.”
“I am honored that the Secretary selected me for this important position,” said Keen, a retired lieutenant general who served in the Army for 38 years, and who currently serves as associate dean of leadership development and senior lecturer of leadership at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business in Atlanta, Georgia. “I am privileged to serve our Army in this capacity and look forward to working closely with the active Army, National Guard, and Reserve units in Georgia and to helping future Soldiers achieve their goals of serving in the U.S. Army.”
“As a proud member of the Syracuse community,” said Kubala, who served in the Army for 22 years culminating her military career at Fort Drum, New York, as the Military Judge. “I am extremely grateful and honored to have been selected by the Secretary for this position. Military service runs in our family – my father and great-grandfather served in the Army. This position provides a platform to tell the Army story from my personal and professional perspectives. I’m fortunate to understand what it means to serve through my experiences as an Army officer, military spouse, and military mom.”
“I am exceedingly thankful for God’s grace for this selection by the Secretary and his team,” said Benton, who served with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Military Police Corps and recently retired from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. “This awesome position will allow me to nominate students for college scholarships allowing them to graduate with minimum or no debt and the opportunity to help change the trajectory of lives.”
“It’s an honor to have been selected,” said Sablan, a graduate of UCLA and a licensed certified public accountant who currently serves as vice president of Triple J Enterprises. “The CASA position provides a vital platform to articulate the Army’s mission and strengthen bonds with the local community. As home to proud Americans in the insular areas, the CNMI and the other territories have among the highest rates of military service in the nation. I intend to continue to honor their service by working to strengthen relationships within our military and civilian leadership.”
“I am profoundly honored to represent Georgia (North) as a Civilian Aide to Secretary McCarthy,” said Phillips. The strength, resiliency, and fortitude of our Army is remarkable! Our Army is the greatest Army and I am proud to be part of the team. Thank you for this opportunity to serve and for your belief in me.”