Utah Dignitary Visits Ft. Carson

 

Written by Sgt. Scott Faddis

 

   
Utah’s Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) John S. Edwards visited the troops, on January 13th, that are preparing to leave for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Scott Faddis

Utah’s Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) John S. Edwards visited the troops, on January 13th, that are preparing to leave for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Utah’s Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) visited the troops, on January 13th, that are preparing to leave for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  He visited the troops in Ft. Carson, Colorado with Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet and his staff.   

Utah’s CASA is John S. Edwards.  Edwards was appointed May 2003.   As a Civilian Aide Edwards is an adviser and an advocate for Army issues. Civilian Aides explain Army programs, positions, and problems to local, state and national leaders through correspondence and meetings. They serve at the discretion of the Secretary of the Army and are afforded the protocol of a three-star flag officer.

The trip was short because of fog delays leaving Salt Lake, and they had to leave early because of fog concerns returning to Salt Lake.  The two units that Edwards visited with are the 115th Engineer Group and the 1/211th Aviation Battalion.  The agenda included briefings on the training the units were receiving, a meeting with the base commander, and meeting with the troops. 

Edwards was reassured by the positive attitudes of the soldiers as they were preparing to leave.  One soldier told Edwards that his “personal goal was to see every country in the world.  I’m just starting with one of the tough ones.”

One of Edwards’ duties as CASA is to report information to Secretary of the Army.   Edwards will report about a problem with the lack of body armor which means troops don’t have an opportunity to train with it before arriving in Iraq.  “The newer body armor has ceramic inserts that make it bulky and difficult to move in,” said Edwards.    “Also, certain troops, such as Military Intelligence troops, don’t have the proper body armor for the conditions in which they are operating.”  A story by Vernon Loeb and Theola Labbé about the body armor and its availability problems is at www.msnbc.com/news/1000971.asp?cp1=1

Civilian Aid, John S. Edwards pauses for a picture with troops that are preparing to deploy.
U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Scott Faddis

 

Civilian Aid, John S. Edwards pauses for a picture

with troops that are preparing to deploy.

Edwards was pleased to see that the training was geared towards exact environments.  “The Engineers were training for the specific areas in which they will be operating,” said Edwards. 

Edwards was also pleased to see that the focus in Fort Carson was not only on the soldiers as they leave, but also on returning soldiers.  “They were interested in people who are returning.  There was interest in both their medical and mental well being.  They try to make sure that help is there,” said Edwards.  He also noted that the Utah National Guard seems to be at the vanguard of dealing with these concerns. 

“I was glad that I could make the trip.  It was time extremely well spent,” said Edwards.