Robert Cronin, Esquire is an Associate Attorney at the Lycoming County office of Casale & Bonner, P.C., a law firm located in Williamsport, PA, that represents individuals in many areas of law. Attorney Cronin focuses his practice areas in criminal law, estate planning, estate administration, and family law, and has handled cases in Federal Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, as well as in 11 county courts in Pennsylvania, including Potter, Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, Clinton, Centre, Northumberland, Union, Snyder, Perry, and Columbia.
Q & A With Robert Cronin, Esq.
Attorney Cronin, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Prior to working at Casale & Bonner, I was employed as an Assistant Public Defender in Lycoming County, PA, where I represented indigent clients from 2006-2010 and from 2012-2015. From 2010-2012, I was employed as an Associate Attorney in two different private law firms, where I handled criminal cases, family law matters, estate planning, and estate administration, among other types of cases.
Let’s talk about your time in the service. What branch were you in?
I was in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Where and when did you serve?
I served in the Middle East (Kuwait and Jordan) in support of Operation Spartan Shield from February 2018-November 2018.
What type of work did you do when deployed?
I was the Trial Counsel (military prosecutor) for Task Force Spartan and the 28th Infantry Division. The trial counsel 1) advises commanders and staff in all areas of military justice; 2) prosecutes courts-martial arising within the unit; 3) coordinates with law enforcement agencies on pending cases and investigations within the unit; 4) represents the government at Article 32(b) investigations and administrative boards; and 5) reviews adverse administrative actions, Article 15 punishments, and other military justice matters arising within the unit.
Why did you enlist?
Operation Spartan Shield, Judge Advocate Training, Fort Hood, TX (February 2018)28My core values are God, Family, and Country. I know that God has called me to be His beacon in my community. As a youth, I knew it was my calling to be an attorney and help those in my community. Knowing I could do more for my community, I joined Borough Council in 2010. But when I walked by an Army National Guard advertisement at Bowman Field in 2014, I knew I was being called to do more for my community. By joining the National Guard, I was able to follow my calling as an attorney, serve my country, continue my civilian career, and still be present for my family.
How did your family feel about your enlistment?
Prior to deployment, I told my family I was scheduled to deploy. Tryston, my son, replied, “Daddy, I want you to deploy. I can’t be selfish. I want you to be there for all the boys and the girls in the world.” Though Tryston is only 9 years old, I felt confident knowing that a young man like this was able to provide some of the support and care for Sara, my wife, and Kerensa, my daughter, they would miss while I was deployed.
When I was going through my pre-deployment training, I was talking to my dad, Matt, on the phone. He told me he was proud of me. This is what every child (regardless of their age) hopes to hear from his parents.
Do you recall your first days? What were they like?
I attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC from January-March 2015. There are a number of memories I have from Fort Jackson, including when I first stepped off the bus (Google “Army Shark Attack” and you will see how new Soldiers are received in the Army); picking up a drill sergeant’s hat off the ground after he threw it (I recommend you do not pick up a drill sergeant’s hat. My arms are still sore to this day from “beating my face”, doing push-ups.); conquering my fear of heights by rappelling Victory Tower (and subsequently getting caught crying by a drill sergeant. Another recommendation, don’t let a drill sergeant see you cry); getting lost during Land Navigation (yes, I was THAT guy); firing a weapon for the first time (ever!); and low crawling underneath a live fire simulation. However, what made me proud the most was how I got faster, stronger, and smarter during the 11 weeks. I started performing better than many of the late teenagers and early twenty-year-olds attending. At some point, the drill sergeants recognized my leadership qualities. I started to advise other trainees, which earned me the nickname “Dad” from them, sometimes as a term of respect, other times to remind me to be a little less bossy (most notably, someone said, “We have our own dads, Dad. Stop dadding us. Don’t you have your own kids to dad?”). Some of my classmates to this day still call me “Dad”.
From Basic Combat Training, I attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) through the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as a traditional student. A traditional student completes OCS during his or her IDT and AT over thirteen months. The entire class is housed together during their weekends and must go through aggressive training regarding infantry tactics and techniques. We shut off communication from the outside world for several days as we are training each month.
I have been assigned as a trial counsel with the Headquarters Support Company (HSC), Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion (HHBN), 28th Infantry Division since July 2016.
In May 2017, I attended Direct Commission Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, before attending JAOBC at the Judge Advocate Legal Center and School (TJAGLCS) in Charlottesville, VA. I successfully completed school at TJAGLCS in September 2017.
Where were you stationed?
While deployed, I was stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait and New Joint Training Center (New JTC), Jordan.
What were your first impressions of the Middle East?
There are only two locations in the world that have hit 129℉ in the world, Death Valley, CA and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. There is a reason why only a few people live in Death Valley. From May-August, the temp did not go below 100℉. The weather made physical training difficult (though not impossible, as I was able to complete 26 running races (including a Boston Marathon Shadow Run), complete 3 swimming competitions, and compete for the German Armed Forces Infantry Badge). It was very sandy. Since being home, I have found sand on everything that I touched while deployed.
What are some of your most memorable experiences?
During training leading up to the deployment, I earned the nickname GI JAG (a knock-off of GI Joe). I was required to lead officers and enlisted Soldiers through 14 warrior tasks and 4 battle drills as their platoon leader. Because of what I learned through OCS and the confidence I gained in the three years of military up to that point, I was successful in leading all my fellow Soldiers through their training tasks.
While in Jordan, I also had the opportunity to visit Elijah’s Hill, Jesus’ Baptism Site, and Mount Nebo. While at Jesus’ Baptism site, I had the opportunity to renew my religious beliefs through a Baptism ceremony in the Jordan River.
Were you awarded any medals or citations?
While deployed, I was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for my service as Trial Counsel for the 28th Infantry Division. Additionally, I received the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device. Prior to my deployment, I had previously been awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.
Were you able to stay in touch with your family while deployed?
Yes. Camp Arifjan and New JTC both had wi-fi services available. I used Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Additionally, the USO and Red Cross had morale phone lines available.
We’d love to see some photos. Do you have any you can share?
What did you decide to do after the war?
In August 2015, I began work at Casale & Bonner, P.C. This firm prides itself on having attorneys you know and being the firm you can trust. This motto is significant to me because it is consistent with my priorities. Another reason I have such great admiration for this firm is the way everyone has welcomed me with open arms. They have been nothing but supportive of my military career. It is with great pride that I return to practice at this firm, primarily working in Estate Planning, Estate Administration and Criminal Law.
Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?
Another reason I joined the National Guard was because I had come across a number of clients who were Veterans. These individuals many times had suffered from mental health illness or even drug addictions. At least one time, I was concerned that we would lose one of my Veteran clients to drug overdose before I could do enough to help him. On average, there are 22 suicides a day by Veterans. It is my goal to ensure that all Veterans have someone who can show the proper care for them they need. I want to do what I can to help stop the premature death of these Veterans. If you are in need of help, I am always available. You don’t need to be a client to have my time and attention.
Amazing! Thank you.
To make an appointment with Attorney Cronin, call Casale & Bonner, P.C. at 570-326-7044.