WASHINGTON, D.C.(Oct. 5, 2009) - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and his wife Sheila addressed an audience of about 800 people, at least half of which were U.S. Army Forces Command Family Readiness Group leaders, during the commencement of the 2009 Association of the United States Army Family Forum sessions today.

The husband and wife team were the first Army senior leaders to speak at today's Family forum session themed Army Family: The Strength behind the Soldier. This session is one of three scheduled during the AUSA Convention.

Mrs. Casey expressed her appreciation to all FRG leaders and spouses for their sacrifice and service in support of Soldiers. Emphasizing that "multiple deployments have been very difficult" for Army Families and communities, she encouraged Family members not to forget to take care of themselves.

"Our Soldiers aren't the only ones feeling the stress. We all are," Mrs. Casey said.

Spouses tend to be caregivers, and we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the pile. We must remember to take ourselves from the bottom and put ourselves back on the top, she said.

Mrs. Casey told Family members attending the session that taking care of oneself is not an act of selfishness, but it is imperative to do in effort not to "risk getting caregiver's fatigue."

"The fact of the matter is you are not going to be capable of taking care of anyone else, including your Families, unless you take care of yourselves first," she said. "Finding balance is one of most difficult thing you must learn to do."

Gen. Casey provided remarks about the present state of the Army. He received a resounding applause as he confirmed to the audience the Army is no longer operating on 15-month deployment schedules.

He said the Army's "objective is to continue to move the Active Army toward a one-year out-two-years back-" deployment cycle during the next two years.

Gen. Casey assured the Family forum audience that the Army will continue to "provide the country the forces it needs to succeed" in the fight, while seeking to achieve the goal of providing Army Families more dwell time with their Soldiers.