AUSA serves you

Local, state and federal chapters work together

By J.M. Simpson on October 19, 2021

At the end of World War II, the United State Army was quickly reduced in size.  Congressional support for funding and maintaining even an adequate land power force was not politically popular.

Recognizing this challenge, a number of Army leaders knew that the Army could survive as a viable force if it spoke with one voice. In a sense, these leaders argued the old slogan, "The Army - That's What is Important."

Accordingly, on July 5, 1950 the Association of the United States Army, or AUSA, was established with the stated purpose of providing an independent focus and voice for the Army outside of the federal political structure and outside the official Army.

The AUSA's first president was General Wade Haislip, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and former president of the Infantry Association.

Since then, the AUSA has remained committed to its 1950 charter which states: "The particular business and objects of the Association of the United States Army as
reincorporated shall be wholly educational, literary, scientific, fostering esprit de corps, dissemination of professional knowledge and the promotion of the Army components of the Armed Forces of our country."

Specific to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the surrounding communities, AUSA's mission is as clear now as it was at its founding, and leading AUSA's local efforts is Isabella Colvin.

She comes from a military family; her husband served in the Army for a quarter of a century; and she has a background in non-profit growth and development.

"During my time as a military spouse I dedicated my service to helping families deal with trauma, military stress and transition," she began.

"I'm the founder of Heroes Challenge, a non-profit that serves military families and first responders who need help connecting to resources, community and building healthy families."

With these and other accomplishments, Colvin was asked to volunteer to serve in the AUSA Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter.

"Then I was given the opportunity to serve in a position that suited my talents and experience." 

As the chapter's president, Colvin and those she serves with are focused on supporting soldiers in their careers with educational opportunities, community engagement activities, and as professional growth and development mentors.

"We provide programs to JBLM soldiers, their families, and the surrounding community by supporting the five pillars of resiliency (physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family), by adopting the ‘People First' philosophy, and by investing in our members," she explained.

One of those individuals helping to invest in and strengthen AUSA's efforts is Army veteran Amy Tiemeyer, the new Washington State President of the AUSA.

"AUSA's mission is to support the Army," she said, "and I mentor and advise the chapter presidents, and I will be working with businesses to get them involved with chapter activities.

Tiemeyer initially became involved with the AUSA in 2011 when she became a member of the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter. Her willingness to help in numerous highly regarded events supporting soldiers and their families became noteworthy. 

"I enjoy the inclusivity of the AUSA; it made me feel included and valuable," she explained "and AUSA doesn't separate male and female, enlisted and officer or even civilian and veteran.  If you want to support our soldiers, join us."

Then she added that the AUSA offers a lot of information to active-duty soldiers on the needs and focus of the Army; it offers local connections and programs specific to the needs of the local area; it connects and voices the needs of both veterans and military spouses in the employments and resource arenas; it brings financial savings to members through discounts; and it offers local and national scholarships in a number of fields to encourage and inspire youth.

"We are active because of all the things AUSA does; we are inclusive because of everyone working together without silos," added Tiemeyer.

As AUSA's state president, she is aware that the biggest challenge facing the organization is engagement.

"We need more voices; we are doing awesome things! Anyone can join and because we are a military service organization ... for the active duty, military spouse, and especially the young professional," Tiemeyer emphasized.

"Looking ahead to 2022 with the hope of being out of the pandemic, I realize that our manner of communicating has changed, and I look forward to seeing how we can continue to contribute to a better military service organization," she added.

She concluded by pointing out that the local AUSA chapter has been fortunate to have past and present I Corps commanders as both members and contributors.

One of those former I Corps commanders is Gen. Robert Brown, who is now the new President and CEO of the AUSA.

A soldier for 38 years on "the greatest Team in the world - The U.S. Army!" Brown served at JBLM from 2002 thru 2005 as commander of 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team and then from 2012 thru 2014 as the Commanding General, I Corps.

His vision of the mission is clear: "We support the Army and its people; we promote a strong military posture now and into the future; and we promote the Army as an institution and service in the Army as an honorable profession."

Brown noted that the AUSA works with the Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, plus with the Defense Department and other federal agencies, with Congress, industry and many of this country's foreign partners.

"I don't do this alone," he continued. "We have a dedicated and innovative professional staff and an incredible team of volunteers at our nine Regions and 122 Chapters located across the country and overseas who connect AUSA with their local communities."

Strengthening this connection, the AUSA produces a variety of professional publications, some of them provided exclusively to members, like the award-winning ARMY magazine, a weekly Monday morning tip sheet, a Thursday digital newspaper about what's happening in the Army and in our chapters, and a twice-weekly digital publication called Soldier Today that is written with enlisted soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers in mind.

On top of this, AUSA produces podcasts, webinars and in-person events that provide in-depth information that helps currently service members in their careers and veterans, families and community members know how the Army is evolving.

"We are unique and dedicated, and there is no one like us," Brown said.

"Volunteer leaders like Ms. Tiemeyer and Ms. Colvin are the key to success of AUSA. Their selfless volunteer service has a huge impact on soldiers, families, veterans and their community. We are grateful for their selfless service and amazing support."