Casey shows appreciation to Army air transport group
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey receives a token of appreciation for his service from Lt. Col. Brett Clark, commander of USAPAT.

The U.S. Army Priority Air Transport unit on Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility was presented with Coins of Excellence by Gen. George Casey Jr. March 23. Casey presented 33 Soldiers and six aircraft maintainers with coins to show his thanks and appreciation for their support and service over the last four years.

On what started as a cloudy, chilly morning with the threat of freezing rain on the horizon, Soldiers, dressed in Army combat uniforms and civilians of USAPAT gathered inside Hanger 2, to await the arrival of Casey and his wife, who were coming from Baltimore.

In preparing for his retirement as Army Chief of Staff on April 11, Casey wanted to personally congratulate every Soldier in the unit for their outstanding support.

When the general arrived, he and his wife Sheila gave a short speech to the Soldiers and civilians present, thanking them for several safe missions. ''I've seen a huge change," Casey said. ''In that I say thank you for the great support you have given us."

Simultaneously shaking the hand of every Soldier and civilian in the unit, Casey handed them a coin. ''Look at all of this talent here," he said.

''It is an absolute honor for us to fly and do what we do," said Lt. Col. Brett Clark, commander of USAPAT.

''It means a lot ... for him to take time out of his day to recognize us... It's good to see him go I guess, he's done a lot for us, and he's going to get to retire and enjoy the rest of his life, have a normal life, and not be gone all the time," said Staff Sgt. Josh Spencer.

To show their appreciation, USAPAT presented Casey with a photo frame that held a photo of a jet, the USAPAT patch, the number of flight hours and miles Casey and the team flew together and two coins of excellence. USAPAT transported Casey for 1,008 flight hours and 446,000 miles.

After his time with USAPAT on Andrews, Casey proceeded to fly out with the aviation unit one last time to talk to incoming battalion commanders in the Army.

A five-man crew from USAPAT, including two pilots, a flight engineer and two flight stewards provide global airlift support to the secretary of the Army, chief of staff, vice chief and members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

Page last updated Thu April 7th, 2011 at 14:03