BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Oct. 21, 2008) — Gen. George Casey, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, visited Combined Joint Task Force-101 at Bagram this week as part of a visit to Afghanistan.
There, and at the Forward Operating Bases and combat outposts he visited, Casey commented on many of the concerns of troops in Afghanistan, as well as those of their families in the U.S., including an imminent increase in troop levels in Afghanistan.
“There is another brigade and a Marine battalion that were originally destined for Iraq on their way [to Afghanistan] shortly after the first of the year,” Casey said.
He attended campaigns update at Bagram and intelligence and operations briefings at FOB Fenty in Jalalabad. He was impressed by the Soldiers of TF Duke, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Ft. Hood, Tx.
“Extremely proficient. They’ve been here a relatively short period of time but they have a great command of their area, and of their enemy. What I saw was committed, focused Soldiers, really taking it to the enemy,” Casey said.
While at Bagram he took the time to preside over a mass reenlistment of Soldiers from throughout Regional Command – East.
“We are the great Army that we are because of our people. Last year 290,000 men and women enlisted or reenlisted in the Army, the Army Guard or the Army Reserves. Now, that’s a heck of a lot of Americans that are committed to the values and ideals that make this country great,” said Casey.
He was clear in his message to troops who have deployed to combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
“We’ve been at war for over seven years now. Our country was attacked by a global extremist, terrorist network, and they’re not going to quit, they’re not going to give up, and they’re not going to go away easily. They’re going to have to be beaten, and it’s the men and women of the United States Army and the rest of our armed forces who will carry the fight to the enemy,” he said.
Casey followed these comments by describing a future where the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan can be independent of international security forces.
“From what everyone has told me, the Afghan people are greatly appreciated of what the Coalition is doing for their country,” said Casey. “But ultimately, we are only setting the conditions for the Afghan people to develop their security forces and their ability to govern their own country, because ultimately, it’s the Afghan people that will make Afghanistan the country that they want.”
Casey expressed concern for the families of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that comprise CJTF-101.
“For the families back home, I couldn’t be prouder of what the men and women are doing here and the difference they’re making for Afghanistan and for our country.” said Casey. “I want you to know that we at the Department of the Army greatly appreciate your sacrifice, and we are committed to the continuing execution of the family covenant.”
He also remarked on the pride he felt in having the opportunity to serve with the Soldiers of today’s Army.
“It’s been a great visit, I got the opportunity to talk to the staff this morning, but then I went out to FOB Fenty and COP Blessing and COP Joyce and had the opportunity to see what the men and women are doing on the forward edge of the battle area here, and I’m continually impressed with the capabilities of the American Soldier,” said Casey. “As I look around the world, there is no question as I travel about, that this Army that we have today is not only the best Army that I’ve served in for 38 years, but it’s the best army in the world. We are that way because of our people, because of our warrior ethos, and because of our values. I saw all of that on display today as I travelled around CJTF-101.”