Secretary of the Army appoints four new civilian aides

By U.S. Army Public AffairsNovember 5, 2020

WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy appointed four individuals as new civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 30, 2020, at the Pentagon. The new CASAs are James Iacocca from Fisherville, Kentucky; Thomas Shuler from Boise, Idaho; Sonki Hong from Santa Monica, California; and Ralph Schulz from Nashville, Tennessee.

“I am honored that these four gentlemen have agreed to serve in our CASA program,” McCarthy said. “Our Army is an all-volunteer force, and now more than ever, we rely on our volunteers, such as CASAs, to help build networks, foster relationships and tell the Army story to our communities. The coronavirus pandemic has changed our rules of engagement within communities; however, I am 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.

“I am honored and privileged to continue my service to our Army’s Soldiers, families and our communities and am humbled by the Secretary’s appointment as a CASA,” said Iacocca, a retired brigadier general who is currently president and CEO of the Knox Regional Development Alliance, chairman of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, and a board member for the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“I am honored and excited that the secretary selected me for this important position working closely with the National Guard and Reserve units in Idaho and helping future Soldiers achieve their goals of serving in the U.S. Army,” said Shuler, a retired colonel after 30 years of service, who is currently a bike patrol officer for the Boise Police Department.

“As an immigrant from South Korea who served in the U.S. Army, I consider myself a proud and patriotic American with an undying love for my country and feel honored to have served in the greatest military in the world,” said Hong, a former Army Intelligence Officer and the founder and CEO of Sonki Fitness. “I’m indebted to the Army for making me the person I am today and I am incredibly honored to be selected and excited to continue serving my country again.”

“I am honored and excited that the secretary selected me for this important position and I look forward to utilizing my network and platform as a community leader to build bridges of understanding between the U.S. Army and the public," said Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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

For more information about the CASA program, please visit