Casey Retires After Four Decades of Army Service

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2011 — Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. expressed great pride in his sol­diers and their fam­i­lies as he end­ed more than four decades of mil­i­tary ser­vice yes­ter­day.
“I could­n’t be proud­er of your courage, your resilience and your com­mit­ment to the val­ues and ideals that make this coun­try and this Army great,” Casey, the 36th Army Chief of Staff, wrote in a farewell let­ter to the troops.

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates called Casey “a val­ued leader” yes­ter­day dur­ing the general’s Pen­ta­gon retire­ment cer­e­mo­ny.

“The Army George Casey leaves behind, a force that has borne the brunt of our nation’s wars, is more resilient, bet­ter trained, more bal­anced and vast­ly more lethal because of his lead­er­ship,” Gates said. “He served as a stal­wart advo­cate and guide for thou­sands of brave young men and women, and their loved ones.” Before becom­ing chief of staff in 2007, Casey served as com­man­der of Multi­na­tion­al Forces Iraq. The gen­er­al led the force through a dif­fi­cult time includ­ing Iraq’s tran­si­tion to a sov­er­eign gov­ern­ment, three elec­tions, and the growth — in size and capa­bil­i­ty — of the Iraqi army and police, Gates said.

Casey’s “per­son­al demeanor, steady con­fi­dence and care for the well being of his troops served as an impor­tant exam­ple for our young men and women on the front lines,” the sec­re­tary said.

Upon becom­ing the Army’s chief of staff, Casey found that the ser­vice was out of bal­ance.

The Army at that time was “so weighed down by cur­rent demands that we could­n’t do the things we need­ed to do to sus­tain the all-vol­un­teer force and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pre­pare our­selves for the full range of mis­sions,” Casey wrote.

Casey and his wife, Sheila, jour­neyed to instal­la­tions and units around the world to speak to Army fam­i­lies and see first­hand how they were han­dling the strain of simul­ta­ne­ous­ly fight­ing two wars, Gates said.

Under Casey’s tenure as chief of staff, the Army expand­ed pro­grams to help America’s wound­ed sons and daugh­ters receive need­ed treat­ment and recov­er from war’s phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al trau­ma.

“George great­ly increased the num­ber of behav­ioral health providers and improved men­tal health screen­ing for return­ing sol­diers in order to iden­ti­fy those at risk,” Gates said. “He pushed the Army to reduce the stig­ma asso­ci­at­ed with com­bat stress and trau­mat­ic brain injuries and to treat them as the injuries they tru­ly are.

“Gen­er­al Casey led the bat­tle to pro­vide long-term sup­port to sur­vivors of the fall­en, cre­at­ing the Army Sur­vivor Out­reach Ser­vices,” he added.

Casey also imple­ment­ed alco­hol treat­ment and sui­cide pre­ven­tion pro­grams at Army instal­la­tions around the coun­try to help return­ing sol­diers strug­gling to adjust to life at home. When the pres­i­dent autho­rized an increase in the size of the Army, Casey pushed to exceed the service’s recruit­ing goals.

Because of Casey’s efforts “the Army was able to end the prac­tice of stop-loss and increase sol­diers’ home sta­tion dwell time -– devel­op­ments that have great­ly increased force readi­ness,” Gates said.

“Near­ly 70 per­cent of the Army is now on a path to meet the goal of two years at home for every year deployed,” the sec­re­tary added. “As the draw­down in Iraq con­tin­ues, and the tran­si­tion in Afghanistan begins, I hope the Army will be able to achieve its longer-term goal of three years home for every year deployed.”

Dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny, Gates pre­sent­ed Casey with the Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Medal.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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