ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 1, 2011 -- Retired Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. and his wife, Sheila Casey, were recently honored by the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command for their contributions to Army families.

On May 25, 2011, in a ceremony in Alexandria, Va., both were awarded the Order of the White Plume, the highest award the Army can present to individuals in support of Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.

"Your legacy will go down as the ones who helped our nation and our Army recognize the significant contributions that our families make every single day,” said Maj. Gen. Reuben Jones, commanding general of the Family and MWR Command.

George Casey served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the Army from April 10, 2007 to April 8, 2011. He and Sheila Casey are the 393rd and 394th individuals to receive the award since its creation in 1982.

Sheila Casey thanked the MWR professionals in attendance for their dedication to serving Army Families.

“Thank you for what you do every day for our Soldiers and families," Sheila Casey said. "The truth is, the families are the ones who have given up so much in the last ten years -- and even longer than that -- but the fact that their sacrifice is now being recognized, issues are being dealt with and their service is really being rewarded: that goes out to all of you."

"I thank you, but I also say to you, continue this really, really important work," she said. "Families are going to need it and they’re going to need it for a long, long time to come."

By focusing on the needs of the family, the Army has grown stronger, said George Casey.

“When Sheila and I went around the Army in April 2007 talking to Soldiers and families all over the world, what was clear to us is that the families were the most brittle part of the force," he said. "It wasn't going to be good enough just to ask them to continue to make the best of it."

"We really were at a point where keeping the families onboard was the key to sustaining this all-volunteer force in a period of conflict," he explained. "That is the key reason we put our emphasis behind this, and you all have succeeded remarkably."

“Our retention is absolutely through the roof and families wouldn't stick around unless they felt that the Army was really serious about taking care of them," George Casey said. "You're the ones who make that commitment to them and deliver on it every single day. So I give you all credit, not only for taking care of families, but for holding this Army together.”

View photos from the ceremony and read the award citations at