Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, administers the oath of office to E. Tracy Beckette, center, and Keith W. Pritchard, right, as Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army during an investment ceremony at Fort Leonard Wood, April 2. (U.S. Army photo by Robert Johnson/Released)
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (April 3, 2013) – Two new Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army were invested during a ceremony April 2 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Keith W. Pritchard and E. Tracy Beckette were selected by Secretary of the Army John McHugh to represent the state of Missouri.
Before administering the oath of office to them, Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said the two men were part of a very elite group of people selected to represent the Army.
“Since 1922, only about 500 people have ever been asked to serve as CASAs. Each CASA is in a key role that helps connect communities to the Army and the Army to those same communities,” Yenter said.
CASAs, who were formally recognized in 1922, have become a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the secretary about regional issues.
Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs appointed to provide a vital link between the Army and the communities for which they serve. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and their communities.
Beckette will serve as CASA-East and Pritchard is designated as CASA-West, both for the state of Missouri.
Beckette is no stranger to the Army. Beckette served in the U.S. Army on active duty and in the Army National Guard from 1971 through 2005. Beckette retired at the rank of brigadier general and commanded the 35th Engineer Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood.
Since 2006, Beckette has served as the state chairman of the Missouri Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. He also serves as the chairman of the Executive Advisory Subcommittee for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Beckette is the executive vice president and chief credit officer for Heartland Bank in Clayton, Mo. He and his wife, Cathy, have four children and four grandchildren.
Pritchard is a native of Pulaski County and is the chairman of the board of Security Bank of Pulaski County. Pritchard serves as the state president of the State of Missouri Association of the United States Army chapter and president of the Mid Missouri Association of the United States Army chapter. In addition, Pritchard served as the chairman for the Committee of Fifty, Fort Leonard Wood support group and director of the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce. Pritchard and his wife, Barbara, have three daughters.
Pritchard said he was honored to be selected and that he would always do his best to support the Army in this position.
CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service, followed by a possible appointment as a CASA Senior for six additional years. The Secretary of the Army may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 16 years of service.