CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, Jan. 10, 2011 -- Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the chief of staff of the Army, made his first visit to tour Corpus Christi Army Depot, and to thank the workforce.

Casey wanted to get a first-hand look at the rotary wing production capabilities, review new facilities under construction and meet the employees.

Casey packed in hundreds of handshakes around briefs on depot cost-saving programs that ensure warfighter support while saving taxpayer money.

Starting at one of the newest investments, a fluid cell press, he became a "Depot Honorary Artisan" after making a frame section for the UH-60 saving $16,889.00. The innovative press, one of four in the eastern hemisphere, can make parts in minutes as opposed to days on older equipment.

At the Rotary Blade Facility, where main and tail rotor blades for UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64D Apache and UH-47 Chinook helicopters are repaired, he shared a story about his visit with a Medical Evacuation unit in Afghanistan. He explained that the Soldiers do what they do knowing the helicopters will be there to rescue them and transport them to safety if need be.

"But that wouldn't happen without the work that you all do here," he said. "This great Army isn't just great because of its Soldiers. It's great because of the civilian workforce that supports it."

Casey enjoyed spending time with artisans learning about crash battle damage repair and helicopter overhaul, handing out commemorative coins to many.

Kresten Cook, deputy to the commander for Support Operations, said the visit from the highest ranking member of the Army was a very special occasion.

"To see him showing his appreciation and support for what we do here means a lot to everybody," said Cook.

While many employees were hard at work, hundreds of others, off-duty, gathered to hear Casey's address. He thanked them for their support of the warfighter at a time when "aviation assets are making a huge difference every day in Iraq and Afghanistan."

After his address, he stayed to visit and shake hands with every employee who wanted to meet him.

"I'm glad to have the opportunity to come here," Casey said. "I'd heard good things about the depot when I was a lieutenant colonel. That was in 1988."

"I'm impressed with the pride I see here," he added.

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