William Cassida


Military Affiliations
  • Veteran Parent

MY connection to 9/11
  • I was serving in the military on 9/11

Where were you when you first heard about or saw the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

I was an active duty Major in the USAF serving as a South Asia intelligence analyst at USCENTCOM HQ in Tampa, FL on 9/11. I was actually writing an assessment about Afghanistan at my desk in the USCENTCOM Joint Intelligence Center when someone stopped by my desk to tell me about the first plane striking the World Trade Center. I walked out to a conference room with a large screen TV to see what was going on where I saw the second plane strike in NY.

How did the events of that day shape your life and inspire your service to this country?

I met with my South Asia team of only four analysts and a USAF Lt Col in charge of the team around Noon. We divided the team to begin 24-hour operations. I took over the night team charged with providing a 4:30am briefing to the USCENTCOM Chief of Intelligence and a 7am briefing to the USCENTCOM commander, Gen. Tommy Franks. My next day off did not come until six months later. While the work was challenging and, at times, frustrating, I went to work every day with the knowledge that I was making a difference and helping defend the US against future terrorist attacks. In June 2002, I actually traveled to both Pakistan and Afghanistan for several weeks in preparation and support for a visit by Gen. Franks. I had deployments in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011 serving in Qatar, Iraq, and Afghanistan in support of the wars against terrorism. I retired in early 2012 a few months after returning from a 6-month deployment to Afghanistan.

What are you excited to contribute to your community, however you define it, for the next 20 years?

I struggled for several years after my retirement with PTSD and adjustment issues. I received support from the VA Health System in dealing with the issues resulting from my 28 years of military service. Today, I live in Western North Carolina near where I grew up. I work as a Realtor and have been involved in educating the community to the issues facing combat veterans.