CORT’s Jay McCasland Joined the Army During the Vietnam War, Launching Path to Leadership

Born and raised in Southern California, CORT’s Director of Product Operations, Planning & Logistics for CORT Trade Show & Events (TSE), Jay McCasland, attended Cal State Northridge on a football scholarship when the Vietnam War draft began in 1969. Rather than wait to be drafted, Jay decided to join the United States Army on his own to uphold a family tradition of serving his country.

Jay’s grandfather was an Irish immigrant that volunteered to serve in the Army Horse Calvary in WWI. His father was an MP (military police) in WWII and served in England, Italy, and Germany. He also had three uncles that served in the South Pacific during WWII, and his youngest uncle, Kenny, served in Korea in the infantry.

Military Career Advancement & Opportunity

In 1969, Jay left for basic training in Fort Ord on Monterey Bay in California. From there, Jay went for Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in Aberdeen, Maryland, where he trained for 18 weeks. After AIT Jay was assigned to go to Germany with the 14th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The Calvary’s mission was to patrol a 20-mile sector of the East German border to provide early warning in case of invasion by Germany or Russia.

During the 18 months Jay spent in Germany, he rose in the ranks very quickly. When he enlisted he was an E1, and he completed his service as an E5-Sergeant.

While in Europe, Jay was also a boxer and went to the Olympic trials in England for the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Jay boxed athletes from other NATO countries such as Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and Spain to fight for a position on the U.S. Olympic Team. Unfortunately, Jay lost to a Marine.

Jay was sent to Vietnam from June 1970 to June 1971, where he was part of a special organization assigned to the Department of Defense and served as an advisor, working for the Inspector General (IG). The mission was to train the South Vietnamese, Koreans and Australians on the use of their equipment, so when the U.S. left Vietnam they could take over.

Civilian Career Success & Support

His advisory role during his time in the Vietnam War served Jay well in his civilian career path. He has served in a leadership role at CORT over the last 18 years. Jay started with CORT as a general manager for the Las Vegas District, then was promoted to area manager. About three years ago, Jay was made Director of Operations, where he is responsible for testing all new product being brought in for TSE’s business. Jay also manages logistics, along with his team of 20 staff members, as they assist and instruct the rest of the TSE team on best practices, furniture maintenance, transportation and product selection.

Joining the military was easy for him, because he always felt comfortable in a leadership role, whether it was being the captain of his football team, or serving his country. He knew lower-ranking military personnel didn’t get a lot of information, so he made sure he was in a position to set the rules instead of living by them.

Since leaving Vietnam over 45 years ago, Jay has belonged to a 14th Calvary Regiment organization where he has attended reunions with his fellow veteran soldiers.

Jay was also married for 23 years, but sadly three years ago his wife passed away from brain cancer. “During this difficult time in my life, CORT was amazing and supportive so I could take care of my wife during her final days,” said Jay.

For a long time after his wife’s passing, Jay felt lost and searched for a purpose. He decided to pour himself into his work and devote himself to his CORT family that stood by him during the most challenging time in his life. Work, his daughter and two grandkids are his purpose now.

Thank you Jay for sharing your story and for your service to our country.