By Mr. Robert H Mcelroy (IMCOM)December 17, 2009
USAG HUMPHREYS, South Korea - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey visited Humphreys Garrison Dec. 16, bringing with him messages of praise, pride and encouragement.
Addressing a crowd of nearly 150 Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians, Casey said that he was proud of their service and the sacrifice they make so far from home.
Casey touched on a number of subjects including the state of the Army, the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer and the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
He said that he and the Army leadership recognize the toll the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken on Soldiers and their Families.
"We continue to build dwell time but we're not quite there yet."
Casey said that the drawdown of Army forces in Iraq over the next year will help and should help ease the deployment rotation.
Iraq will be down to about 50,000 by next year and we can do Afghanistan without going to 15-month tours, he said.
Casey also discussed the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program which will help develop resiliency in Soldiers, Families and Civilians.
It will help them to be as resilient as they can be, Casey stressed. We want to bring mental fitness up to the same level as physical fitness.
The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program will be part of every Army training program from basic training up to the War College, Casey said.
"Every Army School will teach a course on resilience. We'll have master resilience trainers, just as we had master fitness trainers."
Casey next spoke of the Army's Year of the Noncommissioned Officer.
"The Year of the NCO recognized the contributions of our NCOs, he said. "The Secretary of the Army and I believe NCOs provide the glue that hold the force together and we wanted to let the American people know that."
Casey said that President Barack Obama spoke highly of the Year of the NCO when he presented the Medal of Honor to the family of Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti in September.
According to Casey Obama praised Monti and all NCOs for their dedication, commitment and warrior ethos.
"I feel pretty good about what we've done to recognize all of our NCOs," Casey said. "Thank you very much for what you do to hold us together."
Casey then took questions from the audience and provided answers on subjects ranging from the lack of spouse employment opportunities at Humphreys to revising the Army's Physical Fitness manual to a potential drawdown of the Army when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over.
Regarding spouse employment and other quality of life issues at Humphreys, Casey said that it's clear to him that "...we've created expectations that we need to realize faster than by 2013."
According to current plans, by 2013 many of the new facilities at Humphreys should be coming online as the post grows and transforms. This should provide more job opportunities for spouses.
On revising the PT manual, Casey said that he thought it was a good idea to review it with an eye toward revising it.
"I'll take that back with me, that's a good suggestion," he said.
Casey said that he does not expect the Army to drawdown any time soon given its commitments to Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the world.
"I think the size of the Army is getting about right to meet the demand, I think we're going to stay here for a while," he said. "I think ultimately the size of the Army will come down but you'll be retired by then."
Casey offered a last bit of praise for all telling them that they are "...part of an Army that is the greatest force for good the world has ever seen. You need to know that is recognized by your country and your president."
For more information on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program visit www.army.mil/csf