FORT CARSON, Colo.-The U.S. Army has "the best noncommissioned officer corps in the world" and the Army chief of staff wants to make sure everyone recognizes and appreciates their significant contributions.

During a May 7 press conference at Fort Carson, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. made it a point to highlight that 2009 is the "Year of the Noncommissioned Officer."

Casey said he and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, who visited Fort Carson May 5, decided to honor the NCOs this year after witnessing that "our noncommissioned officers were the glue that was holding this force together at a very difficult time and allowing us to accomplish the near impossible every day," he said.

Casey said he and Geren wanted to recognize the vital role of the NCO in today's Army within the service, but also inform the American people of the "national asset they have in our noncommissioned officer corps."

The general said his counterparts with foreign armies have taken notice of the quality of NCOs in today's U.S. Army.

"When I ask them, 'What can I do for you' What do you want'' Every single one of them says, 'I want noncommissioned officers like yours,'" Casey said.

Throughout the year, the Army will honor NCOs through initiatives and events that enhance awareness and public understanding of the roles and responsibilities of today's NCOs and accelerate the development of NCOs through education, fitness and leadership development initiatives, according to the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer Web site.

For more on the yearlong observance, visit