Casey portrait unveiled at Pentagon
September 27, 2011
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 27, 2011) -- Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., now retired, is back at the Pentagon on a more permanent basis -- at least his portrait is.
Casey, wearing a business suit, was accompanied by his wife of 41 years, Sheila, during the Sept. 27 unveiling. Also in attendance were Casey's extended family, friends and former co-workers.
Before the crimson cloth covering the painting was removed, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh spoke to the crowd about the Army that Casey had inherited, what the general set out to accomplish during his tenure, and the legacy he left behind in the Army of today.
"We heard words at that time about how the Army was broken and hollow, but George really didn't adapt to those words and said he thought of it as out of balance," McHugh said. "In his first year as chief, he implemented a plan based on four words, four imperatives to restore balance to our Army -- sustain our Soldiers and their families; prepare, as in continue to prepare our Soldiers to win the wars we are in at the time; reset our Soldiers and equipment effectively, and then transform our forces and institutions to meet the demands of an uncertain future."
The secretary added that after four years of tough decisions and "incredible personal leadership," George Casey left the Army in remarkably better shape than he found it.
"Our growth was completed; he helped restore a more balanced operation and tempo including what was a more sustainable BOG/dwell," he continued. "Through modularity and modernization, our Army is more agile, more versatile, more effective on the battlefield and better prepared to meet and defeat unforeseen threats ... that's George Casey's legacy."
After McHugh spoke, the cloth covering the nearly life-size oil painting was removed. Casey followed with a few remarks, quipping about his present lifestyle of golf, working in the yard, taking his grandchildren to the beach, and long-distance bicycle trips.
After making a 70-mile bicycle trip from Winchester, Va., to the Pentagon, he said, "the Pentagon was starting to look pretty good."
"All joking aside, it's an honor to be here and really be a part of the Army's history and to take a place on the wall with these great leaders who have led our Army for more than a century," Casey said. "As I look at these portraits I think this is pretty cool and it's also pretty cool to have led the best Army in the world through a very difficult time.
Casey said he alone didn't accomplish what McHugh credited him with accomplishing -- the retired general said he was part of a great team that helped lead the Army through a difficult period
"I was blessed to serve with two great secretaries, Pete Geren and John McHugh, who have the best interests of the Soldiers and families in mind -- that was wonderful," Casey said.
Casey finished the ceremony by saying the Army transformation would normally have taken 20 years. He credited his team of four-stars, the Army staff, the two vice chiefs and two senior enlisted advisors who served with him in accomplishing the transformation in seven years.