Chief reaffirms Army's commitment to families at dedication ceremony
September 9, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas -- When Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. came here Wednesday, the trip was a personal one.
Casey came to the Central Texas post to attend the opening of the Casey Memorial Library's new annex and children's room. The library is named in honor of Casey's father, the late Maj. Gen. George William Casey, former commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.
"This is wonderful for me," Casey said. "This is a place where my father is remembered. Thank you for honoring me and my family with this dedication."
Casey's father was killed in a helicopter crash July 7, 1970, near Bao Luc, South Vietnam, while en route to visit wounded troops. He and six others perished in the crash, which occurred two months after the elder Casey took command of the 1st Cavalry Division. He was the highest-ranking officer killed in Vietnam.
Beyond his experiences within his own family, Casey said Wednesday also was an opportunity to reaffirm that the sacrifices made by all servicemembers and their families are not forgotten.
"Survivors want to stay connected," he said.
With the shift of focus away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan, the chief of staff was quick to assure that the sacrifices of each and every fallen will be remembered.
"Know they'll never be forgotten," Casey said.
For the Army chief, it was a day of reaffirming a commitment to Soldiers and their families, calling the library's new children's room another example of that commitment.
"It's an opportunity to recommit and restate our commitment to Soldiers and their families," Casey said.
That commitment, solidified in 2007 with the initial signing of the Army Family Covenant, is important to Casey. He assured families that even with continued budgeting constraints and a struggling economy, family programs would not disappear.
"Support to Soldiers and families will continue," the general said. "I want to reassure families that family programs will not go away."
The Casey Memorial Library's "Magical World of Discovery Children's Room" is part of that network of support for military children.
Following the ribbon-cutting of the children's room, Casey sat down with about 20 Fort Hood children and read to them the Dr. Seuss classic "Oh, the Places You'll Go," in the new room.
"The kids' room is so important to get kids reading," Casey said. "It's important for the future."
The room is 3,000 square feet of books, computers and multimedia geared toward children and youth of all ages.
"It's something for Army kids," Maj. Gen. Will Grimsley, Fort Hood senior acting commander, said.
In addition to the children's room, the library expansion includes a 9,000 square foot annex and 55 new computers in addition to the 41 in the library's main building.
Dedicated Feb. 24, 1973, to the memory of the Army chief's father, the library has seen several building moves and renovations since it opened in 1942. Casey Memorial Library is one of 250 libraries and information centers in the Army Library Program.
Casey, a former commander of 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, has seen many of the changes and moves. He remembered the library's current location when it was the post's automotive shop.
"The last time I was here, I was changing my oil," Casey said.