More than 90 soldiers graduated from the Civil Affairs Officer Qualification and Specialist Qualification Courses and entered the ranks of the U.S. Army's Civil Affairs Regiment on March 2 during a graduation ceremony at Fort Bragg's John F. Kennedy auditorium.
These soldiers completed anywhere from 35 to 41 weeks of training, depending on their designated specialty and language requirements.
During the ceremony two former Civil Affairs officers were inducted as distinguished members of the Civil Affairs Regiment: Retired Lt. Col. Steve Foster and Retired Col. Thomas P. Baltazar. Foster served as the Civil Capacity Instructor at the Iraqi Counterinsurgency School, where he provided graduate-level instruction to all incoming U.S. brigades on the broader civil-capacity challenges facing them in Iraq. He continues to serve the Civil Affairs community by playing an instrumental role in transforming the joint CA force at the operational and strategic levels of war. Baltazar served as the SWCS Civil-Military Operation Division chief, and currently manages the office charged with formalizing the U.S. Agency for International Development's relationship with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military, both U.S. and foreign.
Two Civil Affairs Soldiers were honored during the ceremony as distinguished honor graduates: Capt. Russell Dubrowa and Staff Sgt. Matthew Davis.
The honor graduates were Capt. Daniel Gregorio and Staff Sgt. Sean Reardon. An allied Civil Affairs Officer who attended the course was recognized as the Allied Officer Honor Graduate: 1st Lt. Shawn McIntyre from Singapore.
Civil Affairs units help military commanders by working with civil authorities and civilian populations in the commander's area of operations to lessen the impact of military operations on them during peace, contingency operations and declared war. These culturally-oriented soldiers may also be tasked to provide functional expertise for foreign internal defense and unconventional-warfare operations.
The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School is responsible for special-operations training, leader development, doctrine and proponency for America's Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces soldiers. SWCS conducts more than 70 different courses and trains more than 14,000 students annually.