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Pope member receives prestigious award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mindy Bloem
  • 43rd Airlift Wing
An assistant operations officer with the 2nd Airlift Squadron received the Chief of the Defence Staff commendation for his efforts during a deployment to Afghanistan as an Air Force exchange officer with the Canadian Forces. 

According to his commendation, Maj. Casey Dodds acted as both the headquarters executive and military assistant, and he effectively managed the daily battle rhythm of a staff of 210 multi-national personnel. 

During his collegiate days attending the University of Colorado, Major Dodds noticed the ROTC cadets around campus and decided he wanted their same job security. He soon enrolled in the program and graduated with a degree in Aviation Management. It wasn't long before he was attending Undergraduate Navigator Training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. 

In 2004, an opportunity arose for him to be an Air Force exchange officer with the Canadian Forces. In a happy twist of fate, he was assigned to same Canadian town his wife, Kimberly, is originally from, which made the transition easy on the family.
In his third year as an Air Force exchange officer, where he wrote Canadian Force's policies and doctrines, Major Dodds volunteered for a seven-month deployment with the Headquarters International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. 

Having deployed six times in his career, Major Dodds was no stranger to deployment, but on this particular assignment, he worked as an assistant to Brig. Gen. James Ferron, Chief of Intelligence, International Security Assistant Force, which was very different from his previous deployments. 

"I was basically his go-to guy," said Major Dodds, referring to his position. "Simply put, I tried to get done what the boss needed me to get done. At no time did I walk around like I was the general or try to act like I wore his rank, and I was able to foster a good relationship with the command staff, which helped to get things done."
For Major Dodds, the change of pace on his recent deployment was just what was needed. 

"It was so far outside of what I do, that everything was fascinating to me. I really enjoyed it." 

Another advantage for the major was being able to deploy as an American in a Canadian position for NATO, which is a rarity. 

"I was much more integrated and included with the Canadian team than I would have been otherwise. They did everything they could to make me feel part of the team.
"I also feel I have a better grasp of the politics within not only multi-national arenas but also of why things are done the way they are. I was able to see how a plan came about, how it was implemented, then executed." 

The special recognition Major Dodds received during his deployment to Afghanistan came as no surprise to the operations officer at the 2nd AS, Lt. Col. Larry Floyd.
"He absolutely knows his stuff," the colonel said. "He shows great attention to detail and fixes problems as soon as he sees them. I am leaving him the entire flying operations to manage while I'm away this weekend, and I will sleep very well."