Casey Reaffirms Army's Commitment to Families
By Heather Graham
Fort Hood Sentinel
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2010 For Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the trip to participate in the dedication of a new library annex and children’s room here marked a very personal journey.
Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, reads the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh the Places You Will Go," to a group of small children after he helped cut the ribbon on the new "Magical World of Discovery" children's reading room at the Casey Memorial Library on Fort Hood, Texas. The library is named for the general's late father.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The library is named after the chief of staff’s late father, Maj. Gen. George William Casey, who commanded the 1st Cavalry Division; the Casey Memorial Library was dedicated in his honor on Feb. 24, 1973.
Yesterday, his son attended the opening of a new annex and children’s room and took the opportunity to reaffirm the Army’s commitment to families.
"This is wonderful for me,” Casey said. “This is a place where my father is remembered. Thank you for honoring me and my family with this dedication."
Casey's father was killed in a helicopter crash July 7, 1970, near Bao Luc, South Vietnam, while en route to visit wounded troops. He and six others perished in the crash, which occurred two months after the elder Casey took command of the 1st Cavalry Division. He was the highest-ranking officer killed in Vietnam.
Beyond his experiences within his own family, the younger Casey said the occasion also served as an opportunity to reaffirm that the sacrifices made by all servicemembers and their families are not forgotten.
"Survivors want to stay connected," he said.
With the shift of focus away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan, the chief of staff reassured servicemembers and their families on Fort Hood that the sacrifices of each and every fallen will be remembered. "Know they'll never be forgotten," Casey said.
For the Army chief of staff, it also was a day of reaffirming a commitment to soldiers and their families.
That commitment, solidified in 2007 with the initial signing of the Army Family Covenant, is important to him, said Casey. He assured families that even with continued budgeting constraints and a struggling economy, family programs would not disappear.
"Support to soldiers and families will continue," the general said. "I want to reassure families that family programs will not go away."
The Casey Memorial Library's "Magical World of Discovery Children's Room" is part of that network of support for military children. The room is 3,000 square feet filled with books, computers and multimedia geared toward children and youth of all ages.
Over the years, the library has moved several times on base, and undergone other renovations.
"The last time I was here, I was changing my oil," Casey joked, noting the previous occupant of the library site was the post’s automotive shop.
But, he was quick to put the new children’s room to use, sitting down after the ribbon cutting with about 20 Fort Hood children to read them the Dr. Seuss classic "Oh, the Places You'll Go."
"The kids' room is so important to get kids reading," Casey said. "It's important for the future."
In addition to the children's room, the library expansion includes a 9,000 square foot annex and 55 new computers in addition to the 41 in the library's main building.