FORT LEWIS, Wash. - I Corps received an enthusiastic thumbs-up last weekend from the highest level of the Army hierarchy.

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. praised the performance of the I Corps headquarters during its recent two-week mission readiness exercise.

"I was hugely impressed with what I saw and heard today," Casey said after the exercise after-action review. "General Jacoby has done a magnificent job building his corps and building his team. So rave reviews all around for I Corps."

The MRX was the final rehearsal for the headquarters before deploying in to Iraq to assume command of Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

Casey spoke to the Northwest Guardian Saturday at the Fort Lewis Battle Command Training Center. The Chief said he told the MRX participants that he was very pleased with America's Corps, one of the three war-fighting corps in the Army, and expressed confidence in its ability to assume its historic mission next spring.

"What I saw today was a corps that was well ahead in terms of understanding their mission and how they intended to attack it, of others that I've seen along the way," he said.

Few are in better position to evaluate corps preparing to assume the MNC-I mission. Casey commanded Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the organization to which MNC-I reports, from July 2004 through February 2007. He was named Army chief of staff April 10, 2007, after Congressional review and approval.

"They're asking all the right questions," Casey said of the I Corps staff. "What was clear is that they have already refined the key processes in terms of intelligence, in terms of targeting, in terms of planning, in terms of civil-military integration. They are well ahead in their understanding of the challenges they will face and establishing the process to deal with them."

Casey said the competence and confidence of today's Army stems from experience and sharing lessons learned from asymmetric warfare.

"It just really reinforces what I've seen across the Army," Casey said. "Our level of understanding of counterinsurgency operations has risen rapidly over the past four or five years. So the men and women who are on their second or third deployments are making a key contribution in terms of their level of understanding, and it's only helped us to make progress in both the mission in Iraq and the mission in Afghanistan."

Casey said he visited XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters in Iraq, which currently performs the MNC-I mission, in July, early in its deployment.

"It really struck me ... the XVIII Airborne Corps at five months was at a level that I saw in most corps when they were leaving," Casey said, "and that's not to say anything negative about the previous corps."

The Chief said I Corps' readiness level only continues the trend of exponential improvements in the Army's ability to fight counterinsurgency warfare.

"Our level of understanding as an Army has improved as we've rotated people through this," he said. "And I think the important thing for the institution is we're learning from this and getting much better at this. And as a result the success speaks for itself. You can see what's happening in Iraq."

Don Kramer is a reporter with Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16