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WASHINGTON The newest Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) was invested during a ceremony conducted last week at the Pentagon. It commenced inside the Hall of Heroes.
Mr. Mario A. Guerra was selected by Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning to represent California (Greater Los Angeles).
Guerra said, “It is my great honor to accept this appointment as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for California. To be able to serve the Army in this capacity is humbling and exciting. I am deeply committed to my community, especially the men and women who serve in uniform, and their families. My goal is to serve the American solider, our beloved Army, and our Veterans. I came to the United States as a Cuban refugee and immigrant at the age of 6 on one of the first “Freedom Flights,” and I truly appreciate the many opportunities that this country has provided for me. I look forward to taking on this position and executing my duties with pride, passion and integrity.
The Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) is appointed by the Secretary of the Army and is equivalent to a three-star general position.
A CASA reports directly to the Secretary of the Army about the Army and community activities. CASAs are a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the Secretary about regional issues.
The CASA program is “as important now as it has ever been. Forty-plus years into an all-volunteer force, the most professional, capable force I’m sure we have ever had, has also led in many ways to a growing divide between those who are serving and those who are being protected,” Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning said. “CASAs are one critical element to help us with that link, to keep that connective tissue strong, so that the public understands why we have a military, and what it is doing.”
“The Army is of course its people,” said Fanning. “We are the sum of our Soldiers, Civilians and their Families, and their collective contributions. But the Army also depends on another source of strength and support: the Army is only as strong as our connection to the American people. Our CASAs are our front line of maintaining and strengthening that fundamental bond.”
CASAs, formally recognized in 1922, advise the secretary of the army. Since then only about 500 people have ever been asked to serve as CASA’s.
Typically, each state has one CASA appointed and their role is to provide individual advice to the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff, and commanders at all levels on public sentiments toward the Army.
Guerra served as Mayor of the City of Downey and as President of Independent Cities Association representing 53 Cities and over 7 million people. He was ordained a Deacon, a member of the clergy, in the Catholic Church. For 8 years he was the only Catholic Clergy to hold elected office in the country. Today he still proudly serves as Chaplain for the Downey Police Department. He has served on the Los Angeles Battalion Community Advisory Board since its inception 8 years ago. Mr. Guerra also serves on several executive boards including the Josephson Institute of Ethics and the Living Tree Foundation serving Veterans. He is Co-Founder of one of the largest Insurance Brokers in the country and is currently an executive with Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance. He is a published author, motivational speaker and has received several Professional and Humanitarian awards.