Gen. George W. Casey, Jr
Chief of Staff of the Army
Swearing In Ceremony of Sgt. Maj. of the Army
Sgt. Maj of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler, III
Pentagon Auditorium
March 1, 2011

Hello everybody, lots of familiar faces, good to see you all here. Thank you for coming out and helping us swear in the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army. As I say, a great day to be Sergeant. [Mild Hoo-ah from the Audience] Sergeants are a little slower than were. (Laughter) It really is a great day to be a Sergeant. [Loud Hoo-ah] It's a great day for you.

It's great to see you, Holly Petraeus, thank you very much [for coming]. And again, thanks for all that [your husband, GEN] Dave [Petraeus] has done to lead this country in this war. Sully [GEN(R) Gordon Sullivan], from the Association of the United States Army, thank you for being here and doing this. Joe [Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal], glad you could take a moment off here from running the business of the Army with your colleague on your left [GEN Peter Chiarelli-and his wife Beth]. [Thank you for coming to] all the members of the Secretariat thank you very much. [To] all the Army staff that are spread out behind you, thanks for coming.

Wow, a great day for the Chandler family from all across the United States, and [CSM] Ray [Chandler II] I'm going to leave that to you introduce them. [They are her from all over the United States]: Missouri, Alabama, Massachusetts, Colorado and a few other places that I left out. They're all here, and they're here to welcome you and Jeanne as you go forward.

As I looked at trying to figure out who the next Sergeant Major of the Army ought to be-it was a very difficult task. [It was difficult] because we, frankly, have an Army that is replete with talent in the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps. And nowhere is it more pronounced than among our Sergeants Major. So we put a little [selection] board together and whittled it down to about 5 or 6 [candidates] and then we worked it down to 2. We found that they were so talented and so close, that it was really hard to choose. But as I kept looking at Ray, and I talked to him, what struck me was that there was a breadth and a depth of experience that, frankly, I hadn't seen in many other Sergeants Major.

Since he came in as an enlisted Soldier in 1981 in Brockton, Massachusetts (and was hurried off to One Station Unit Training at Fort Knox to be an Armored Crewman), he's had a series of assignments that have really demonstrated the versatility that he has as a leader. He is very well grounded in the operational Army, the core of our force. He spent his first 24 years in the Army in Armor and Cavalry units with units in Korea, Germany, the United States, and Iraq. He served in four of our divisions, the 1st and 2d in Korea, the 4th, and the 1st Cavalry Division; 2 of our Armored Cavalry Regiments, the 2nd and the 3rd. He is a master gunner-so his technical skills are at the top. He's been the First Sergeant of four different troops and companies. And he's been a Command Sergeant Major in combat in Iraq in 2004 with the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry, which could account for the fact that he has a cat named Garryowen.

The other thing I found particularly interesting is that he is one of the few senior leaders who spent a three year tour in Tupelo, Mississippi, as an advisor to the Fifth Armor Brigade (Dixie Thunder). So he has a deep understanding of what it means to be a Citizen-Soldier. I think he will really help bring that to bear as we go forward Operationalizing the Army Reserves. He's been a Garrison Sergeant Major at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for a year. [With that experience] he understands what it takes to support our Soldiers and their families at home. He's been the Command Sergeant Major of the Armor School-so he understands the school house and the institutional side of the Army. He's been the Sergeant Major and then the first enlisted Commandant of the Sergeants Major Academy out at Fort Bliss, where he got a great sense of the pulse of our Non-Commissioned Officer Corps. So as I looked at what he'd done, it struck me that I hadn't really seen this level of versatility in very many Non-Commissioned Officers, and he brings a great wealth of talent to this position. He knows the operational side, the installation side, the institutional side, and reserves component side. [Together] I think you're very, very well-prepared, and it's great to have someone with that depth and breadth of experience leading our Non-Commissioned Officer Corps in our Army. I know that you will be a great help to the Secretary and me as we go forward.

We would also like to welcome [his wife] Jeanne. Jeanne has been on this train for almost 10 years (not quite), but almost ten years. She came late to Army life, but she got right in the thick of it. She is now living in her seventh house in eight years. [Laughter] So welcome, and [while] you have one other move-hopefully you will stabilize there a little bit. Jeanne has a career of her own in marketing, and stays connected to that, and I applaud you for that. She is also a great volunteer-she has been a member of the Army Family Action Plan Group at installation level. She has been serving as a mentor at our Pre-Command Course [at Fort Leavenworth]. As a matter of fact, I used to see her sitting in the back of the class whenever Sheila and I would go out there. So Friday, when the Chandlers and the Casey's go out to talk to the class, Jeanne will be doing most of the talking. [With that, I would like to welcome] you both to an Army that's the best in the world.
If I had to give you any strategic direction, I'd tell you this: be a role model to every Soldier, be a mentor to every Sergeant, and be a hard-nosed advisor to the Secretary and me. I know that you're new to the building, but the staff here will tell you, when it comes to strategic direction that's probably as good as you're going to do. [Laughter] Ray, Jeanne and family, welcome, and I look forward to swearing you in as the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army. (Applause)

Page last updated Thu March 3rd, 2011 at 14:08