FORT STEWART, Ga. - As the tenure as the 36th Army Chief of Staff draws to an end, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., visited Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 14, accompanied by his wife Shiela and Dr. Jill Biden.After an aerial tour of both Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart while aboard a UH 60 Black Hawk helicopter, Gen. Casey began his Fort Stewart ground visit with a closed-door briefing with 3rd ID Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, and key Fort Stewart leaders to discuss recent and current deployments.Meanwhile, Sheila Casey and Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, joined Ginger Cucolo for a meeting with 3rd ID spouses at Club Stewart. Then they went to Joseph Martin Elementary School, where they greeted children at lunch hour and met with teachers and guidance counselors.Upon conclusion of the meeting, the fast-paced visit continued as Gen. Casey took part in a deployment awards ceremony, presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to five Soldiers from 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade and the Purple Heart to seven Soldiers from 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team at Marne Garden."As I have watched us navigate around this last decade at war, which this September will be 10 years, I am struck by the mutual bond of trust... and you see the output of that trust in the awards that we present today," Gen. Casey said during the ceremony. "It is that bond of trust, that commitment to one another, that has helped us as an Army during this last difficult decade and makes us what we are today - the greatest Army on the face of the earth."In typical Gen. Casey fashion of ensuring close contact with all of his Soldiers, he pressed on from the flag-adorned Marne Garden to a more private venue, where he was well-received by approximately 400 junior-ranking Dog Face Soldiers for a town hall meeting to discuss concerns, ideas and the future of their Army. At the end, he opened the floor to receive and answer questions."I asked him - as a young Soldier willing to stay in the military as a career - what words of wisdom he could give," said Spc. Jarrod Godrey, 1-3 Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st HBCT. "For someone at that high of a level to actually take the time and show his presence here, it shows a lot of passion and his love of the job."The Soldiers in attendance appreciated the face time with the top Soldier in the Army."I think it's awesome that he came down to Fort Stewart and he took questions - informal, grass roots questions," said Staff Sgt. Enrique Irby, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd ID. "I really appreciated that from him."
General Casey completed his Fort Stewart visit with a press conference, where he congratulated the Marne Division for their successful mission in Iraq."I'd just like to say congratulations to the men and woman and the Families of the 3rd Infantry Division for the absolutely wonderful job they did in Iraq," said Gen. Casey. "As things continue to get better in Iraq, it is because of the sacrifices of the men and woman like these Soldiers, going back and forth to Iraq."