With the passing of Air Force Maj Gen (Ret) John Casciano, the country has lost a leader, a gentleman and mentor for countless men and women over the last 5 decades. A career intelligence officer who rose on a non-traditional path that included both Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command, a long deployment to Thailand during the Vietnam war, teaching political science at the Air Force Academy, and leading the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise, he did everything and did it well. He exuded calm in the office and deliberate decision-making so that everything was transparent, thorough and decided right the first time. He treated everyone who walked in his door with the dignity inherent in them as people. I never once saw him lose his cool.
John Casciano was the most formative leader on my professional career both in and out of the military. He sent me to Sweden as a young Captain with little more than his confidence in me to do important work. Years later I would realize how he set that all up for success with the team that was there. Yet he was interested in my success as an individual and that left a lasting impression and deep motivation to do the same for others. I still keep the personal note he sent me thanking me for a trip I set up for him and accompanied him on in 1994.
There are a lot of interesting details there that we can unpack if anyone is ever interested or that I tell in leadership seminars and over dinner with friends.
Though he had ever-more taxing assignments and an ever-growing tree of mentorees to lead and teach, he took time for each person as if they were unique in the world when we came through town or when he visited us. He stood by me through a very difficult time as a colonel and then at my retirement, he was in the front row, where my father would have been had he been alive.
My memories of him are not unique. I know of many others who have similar stories of General Casciano’s leadership and love. His devotion to his wife, Pat, and his family was an example for us all.
Eternal rest grant to him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.