Appointed by the Secretary of the Army, with no paycheck or benefits entitled to them, one couple dedicated their loyalty and service to the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield community for nearly a decade.
“I did it for the pension,” joked Dr. William “Bill” Cathcart, retired Welcome to Our City (WTOC-TV) vice president and general manager.
Cathcart moved to coastal Georgia in 1985 and was nominated by then-3rd Infantry Division commanding general, Robert Abrams, in March 2013 to become a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the coastal Georgia region. Cathcart became a CASA one year before ending his 29-year job newscasting with WTOC-TV.
Since its group’s establishment in 1922, CASAs are Special Government Employees that volunteer their services across the U.S. to serve as the liaison between the Army and civilian community and present any developing issues of Army life across the United States directly to the Secretary of the Army.
“There are well over 100 [CASAs] around the country,” Cathcart said. “There are four in Georgia: [one in] coastal Georgia, two in Atlanta, and then [one] in Columbus for Fort Benning.”
From advising and supporting Army leaders to connecting the local communities to better understand the Army’s mission, these members, appointed by the Secretary of the Army, are afforded a 3-star protocol status without salary, wages or related benefits.
“[Cathcart] volunteers his time to help take care of the Army, which is pretty special,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, 3rd ID Commanding General. “But he can only do that because of the support he gets from his spouse, Julia.”
Standing alongside him and his long-standing journey of raising awareness of the United States military, Dr. Julia Olsen, Cathcart’s wife, was also awarded by the 3rd ID for her dedication and contributions to coastal Georgia communities. Olsen, president of Workplace Advancement Strategies, was awarded the Commander’s Certificate and the Coastal Charm Award for her unwavering dedication and extraordinary service as a community leader since March 2013.
Near the end of the ceremony, Dr. Cathcart was inducted into the Order of Saint George by Maj. Gen. Costanza. Cathcart received the Order of Saint George Medallion, which is the top award given to members of the Army's mounted force by the U. S. Armor Association of the Army. There are two requirements to be awarded the medallion: being a member of the association and a nomination of a member also qualifying for the award.
“The bronze medallion is what most of us have,” Costanza said. “Then there’s silver, which is for significant contributions to the armor branch, [which] is what we were able to secure for you.”
Though Cathcart is no longer a CASA, his services to raise awareness of military presence to the coastal Georgia community will always be remembered.
“I want to thank all of you for continuing your service in our green Army, especially here with the legendary 3rd Infantry Division,” said Cathcart. “Thank you for all that you do in the Army, for our nation, and especially for what you do 24/7, preserving our safety, our security, and most of all – our freedoms.”