WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 14, 2007) - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. administered the oath of enlistment to 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers in Iraq Sunday after spending time with troops in Afghanistan last week.

"These great Soldiers here epitomize the best of what the United States of America stands for," Gen Casey said. "It's important not to lose sight of what's at stake in this war - the power of our values and our civilization."

After the ceremony Gen. Casey greeted each Soldier and posed for individual portraits.

"A lot of Soldiers could go a whole career without getting within shouting distance of a four-star general," said Master Sgt. James Nicolai, reenlistment operations NCO for the 3rd Inf. Div. "Having the chief come out and greet everybody is pretty exciting."

Later in the day, Gen. Casey visited Soldiers at Patrol Base Assassin and Patrol Base Murray, where leaders of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team briefed the general on Soldiers' roles there. Gen. Casey then spoke to Soldiers about the importance of the war on terrorism before presenting coins to ten Soldiers for their work and dedication.

In Afghanistan, Soldiers asked the general when the current 15-month deployment cycle might end.

"I don't know yet, but it is temporary," he said. "I do feel strongly that 15 months in this environment is not practical. I can't imagine any scenarios where it would go beyond that."

Gen. Casey thanked Soldiers for their "perseverance and constant commitment."

"Even though the force is stretched, this is a hugely vibrant organization and the commitment I see in all our Soldiers, leaders and Families is mind-boggling and eye-watering," Gen. Casey said. "Next month our country will have been at war for six years. What is at stake are the values and ideals of our nation."

(This story is compiled from releases written by Sgt. Natalie Rostek and Sgt. Ben Brody of the 3rd Infantry Division, and Pfc. Melissa M. Escobar of the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 15:08