Unwavering support
Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. conduct a joint press conference on Sadowski Field outside the III Corps headquarters building at Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 6, 2009.

Press Conference Opening Statement at Fort Hood
Nov. 6, 2009

Thank you Mr. Secretary. It's been frankly an honor to accompany the Secretary to talk to the victims, their Families, and the care providers all around Fort Hood. I'll tell you candidly this was a kick in the gut. Not only for the Fort Hood community but also for our entire Army. And the Secretary and I are here to ensure that Fort Hood has the resources they need to mount a sustained response. Because this is going to take awhile. And we want everyone here to know that the full resources of the Army and the Department of Defense are behind the men and women of the Fort Hood community.

I will tell you that across the Army in the last 24 hours, I've asked our leaders to come together behind the victims, their Families, and the Fort Hood community. I've asked them to examine their Force Protection measures, and to take appropriate action. I've asked them to keep their Soldiers informed, and not rush to judgment until the investigation is completed. And I've asked them to stay focused on their mission.

As I said, I have full confidence in the team here given the response that I've seen. And I have full confidence in the local community and the state and federal agencies that have fallen in here to help General Cone and to help the men and women here at Fort Hood.

Unfortunately over the past eight years, our Army has been no stranger to tragedy. But we are an Army that draws strength from adversity. And hearing the stories of courage and heroism that I heard today makes me proud to be a leader of this great Army.

I heard stories about medics, who were sitting in a graduation in a building next door, hearing the gunfire, and running to the sounds of the guns because they knew there would be wounded - in their caps and gowns.

I talked to a young private who was sitting in his pickup truck in the parking lot, who heard gunshots, went back after his buddies. And with the help of others, dragged four individuals - badly wounded individuals - into his pickup truck and drove them to the emergency room, saving their lives.

And I talked to numerous Soldiers who were wounded - giving First Aid to their fellow Soldiers. I'm very proud, not only of the men and women here at Fort Hood but of our whole Army. We take care of our own, we will grieve as a family, and we will maintain our focus on our missions around the world. And the Secretary and I would be happy to take your questions. I will tell you upfront that because of the on-going investigation, we will not be able to give particulars on the suspect or on the crime scene. So with that, (with) Mr. Secretary, we'll take your questions.

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