By Staff Sgt. Crista YazzieSeptember 5, 2008
PEARL CITY, Hawaii - Hawaii recruiters met the Army's senior officer recently when Gen. George Casey, Army Chief of Staff, stopped in for a visit to the Pearlridge Recruiting Station, Sept. 4.
Several recent and delayed-entry recruits were invited to the station office for the event.
"It's a great honor for me to meet someone who is very important to our nation's security and leadership; I am nervous, but I am looking forward to it very much," said new recruit Luis Delgado-Altamirano prior to Casey's arrival.
Casey met and spoke briefly with recruiters, their families, and several new recruits, then promoted Staff Sgt. Mark Tatsuno, a recruiter from the Kapolei Recruiting Station, Hawaii, and awarded Sgt. 1st Class Richard Porter, Station Commander, Pearlridge Station, Hawaii, and Sgt. 1st Class Laszlo Lukacs, Mililani Recruiting Station, Hawaii, the Glenn E. Morrell Award.
"As I travel all over the world, there is no question in anybody's mind that the best Army is the United States Army, and it wouldn't be that way if it wasn't for the magnificent job the folks in the recruiting command do in bringing the best women and men in America into the United States Army," said Casey.
"So those of you who are getting ready to raise your hand or have just raised your hand, thank you, because you are coming to serve your country in a time of war, and it takes a special breed of men and women to do that," he continued.
Casey was visiting Hawaii for an update on activities in the U.S. Army, Pacific Area of responsibilities, and he expressed a satisfaction from being able to promote, award, and meet Soldiers.
"It's always is a pleasure for me to get out of the Pentagon and promote real Soldiers," Casey said, putting his hand on the shoulder of Tatsuno before promoting him. "Normally, I get to promote two and three star generals, which is very nice, but it's great to be out here now to promote this non-commissioned officer."
Casey then awarded Porter and Lukacs the Glenn E. Morrell award, the highest achievement award offered by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
Casey then thanked the parents and families of the recruiters and new recruits for their presence and support as well.
"We have really ratcheted up what we're doing for families," he said. "The Army has doubled the amount of money we put towards Soldier and Family programs, because it was clear to my wife and I as we traveled around the Army, that what we were asking of Families with all the multiple deployments was a lot more than we had anticipated. And I'm an Army brat, so I've been a member of the Army family for sixty years, and what I saw was, even though we had done a lot, we weren't doing enough."
"It's the families that give the Soldiers the resilience and strength they need to do their jobs," said Casey.
Casey presented his four-part plan for the Army to those at the station.
"We need to do four things to put us back in balance," he said. "Sustain Soldiers and families, continue to prepare Soldiers for success when they go to war, continue to reset, or, fix them again when they come back, and continue our transformation so we give the nation the Army it needs for the 21st century."
"I'm glad we got to meet him," said Felicia Faumuina, a delayed-entry recruit from Nanakuli.