Story by Lt. Col. Michele R. Sutak and Maj. Michael Condon
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. -- Maj. Gen. Robert J. Kasulke, commanding general of the Army Reserve Medical Command, relinquishes command and retires after 32 years in uniform here at the C.W. “Bill” Young Armed Forces Reserve Center Sept. 23.
Kasulke, a resident of Watertown, N.Y., received the AR-MEDCOM colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Roger B. Schulz, for the last time. He thanked Schulz for a job well done, and wished him the best upon his retirement.
Kasulke passed the colors to Maj. Gen. Luis R. Visot, deputy commanding general, operations, of the United States Army Reserve Command, Fort Bragg, N.C., who transferred the AR-MEDCOM colors to Maj. Gen. Bryan R. Kelly. The passing of the colors symbolically represents the passing of responsibility and authority over to the new AR-MEDCOM commander.
Kelly, a psychologist from East Sandwich, Mass., is no stranger to the command, he recently served as the commanding general for the Medical Readiness and Training Command, AR-MEDCOM.
Kasulke’s effective date of retirement is Oct. 1, 2012. He retires with Schulz, the senior enlisted advisor of AR-MEDCOM, and a resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., who served more than 37 years in uniform.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Schulz is one of the best Battle Buddies I ever had in my life,” expressed Kasulke.
Kasulke and Schulz recently traveled to Kosovo and Germany to visit deployed and mobilized Soldiers who were providing global medical support, assistance and care.
Visot, the host, praised Kasulke on his three plus decade career and the successful mission he accomplished throughout the Army.
“We simply could not do the job that we do without you,” remarked Kasulke. “Bob we are indebted to you for your leadership and service during your military career, but also for the care you continued to provide to our service members.”
Kasulke joined the Army in 1980, and received a direct commission in the Medical Corps. Since then, he’s served at every level of command to Major General. In his last assignment, he served as the Deputy Surgeon for Mobilization, Readiness and Reserve Affairs.
As the Commanding General of the AR-MEDCOM, he employs more than 9,000 Soldiers and Civilians across all 50 states. The command provides trained, equipped and ready, skill-rich Citizen-Soldiers, to meet medical requirements across full spectrum military operations. Dual-hatted, in 2011, he took command of the Reserve Component Soldier Medical Support Center, a command that develops, coordinates, and integrates administrative and medical efforts for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers in order to promote future readiness of the force.
“Your perseverance and your persistence allowed this center to be a huge success … and we look forward to enjoying the fruits of your benefits,” praised Visot. “General Kasulke, thank you very much to you and to your team.”
The Soldiers of AR-MEDCOM hosted a farewell dinner for Kasulke and Schulz, Sept. 22, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tampa.
Honorable Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense (Health Affairs) and director of TRICARE Management activity, and former deputy commanding general for AR-MEDCOM, was the guest speaker for the dinner, addressing Kasulke.
“I highly respect you for bringing AR-MEDCOM to the point of where it is today,” said Woodson, who holds the rank of brigadier general in the Army Reserve.
He remarked that the country will always need great leaders, who are innovative and take care of Soldiers. “Leaders, who will step outside of their comfort zone, challenge the conventional wisdom, make modifications and take on the bureaucracy for the betterment of the organization for which they serve.”
Woodson added, “You leave this place a much better organization for having spent time here in leadership positions, and we thank you deeply for your years of service.”
As the evening came to a close, the jazz combo of the 313th Army Reserve Band from Birmingham, Alabama, played Felix Medelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’ for Kasulke, who surprised his wife Cathy of 38 years, with the renewing of their vows. Retired U.S. Army Chaplain (Colonel) Edward Northrop officiated the ceremony. After the ceremony, the couple shared a piece of wedding cake as Kasulke providing an anecdote of their special day.
“When we were married, we ordered a vanilla cake from the bakery … but we got someone else’s chocolate cake,” Kasulke reminisced paying homage to that day. “So that’s why the top of the cake is chocolate.”
In his civilian career, he is a board-certified doctor in general and vascular surgery, has a practice specializing in the medical and surgical treatment of patients who suffer from venous disease. Additionally, Kasulke serves as deputy medical examiner and as the medical director of the Hospice of Jefferson County.
Kasulke is a Knight, NATO Grand Priory Saint Sebastian – Soldier Martyr Knight of the Temple of Jerusalem (K.St.S), and also serves as a member of the Congress of the International Organization of Medical Reservists (CIOMR).
“I am now the International President elect, and take the position in 2014,” said Kasulke, a resident of Watertown, N.Y. “The President elect term is two years and I am the first U.S. President elect [ever] in the Congress of the International Organization of Medical Reservists.”
Kasulke begin his remarks thanking his family first for their support.
“A part of my success in the Army Reserve is because of my wife, Cathy,” credited Kasulke. “My family believes in the military and has always supported me.”
Cathy, received a certificate of appreciation for Kasulke’s retirement from President Barack Obama, and presented the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service on behalf of Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, the Chief of Army Reserve and commanding general of the United States Army Reserve.
Kasulke thanked the leaders before him, colleagues, friends and the Soldiers of the Army Reserve Medical Command.
“It’s an honor to live for my country and to serve with folks like you,” Kasulke said. ” … it has been a privilege to serve with you, I would never take a day back. God bless you, God bless your families and God Bless America.”