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George William Casey, Jr.
General George William Casey Jr.
36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Born July 22, 1948(1948-07-22) (age 73)
Place of birth Sendai, Japan
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1970–2011
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Army Chief of Staff
Multinational Force Iraq
Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
1st Armored Division
Joint Warfighting Center
3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars Operation Joint Endeavor (Bosnia)
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (3)
Defense Meritorious Service Medal

George William Casey, Jr. (born July 22, 1948) is a retired United States Army General who last served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from April 10, 2007, to April 11, 2011. Casey previously served as Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq from June 2004 to February 8, 2007, and had been in the Army for his entire adult working life. He now resides outside of Boston.

Early life and education[]

Casey was born in Sendai during the Allied occupation of Japan.[1] His father, George William Casey, Sr., was a West Point graduate who rose to the rank of Major General and served in two wars (the Korean War and the Vietnam War). His father commanded the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam and was killed on July 7, 1970, when his command helicopter crashed in South Vietnam en route to a hospital to visit wounded U.S. soldiers.

Casey, a military brat, grew up on Army posts in the U.S. and Germany and graduated from Boston College High School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After high school, he earned his Bachelor of Science in international relations from Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in 1970 and received his Master of Arts in international relations from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1980. Additionally, Casey worked for Vince Lombardi during one summer when the latter was coach of the Washington Redskins.[2]

Military career[]

General Casey during a Singapore visit in 2009.

Casey was commissioned through the Army ROTC in 1970 following graduation from Georgetown University.

Casey served in the Mechanized Infantry during the command portion of his career. He was commander of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, and the Assistant Division Commander – Maneuver (later Assistant Division Commander – Support) of the 1st Armored Division in Germany. He deployed as part of Operation Joint Endeavor to Bosnia-Herzegovina from July 1996 to August 1997. He and the Rear Command Post staff were based in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. Casey took command of the 1st Armored Division in July 1999.

After relinquishing command of the division in July 2001, Casey served in a senior staff position in the Pentagon as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), the Joint Staff from October 2001 to January 2003. His next position was Director of the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C. from January 2003 to October 2003. Following these assignments, Casey was nominated and confirmed as the 30th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, serving in that post until June 2004.

Commander of Multinational Force Iraq[]

General Casey in Tikrit, Iraq in 2006.

Casey served as the senior coalition commander in Iraq from June 2004 to February 2007. He replaced Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez.[3] Casey's goal was to encourage the Iraqis to take ownership of their problems and responsibility for their own security. For his part as a military commander, he focused on training Iraqi forces, limiting the role of American forces, and transferring the burden for providing security to Iraqi forces. Meanwhile, U.S. diplomats would focus on building and strengthening the Iraqi government and help the Iraqis hold elections. He expressed his view that a large and intrusive American presence in Iraq would not solve the political and security problems in that country and could even fuel the insurgency.

In 2005, Casey was hopeful that the December 2005 Iraqi elections could lead to a more unified and moderate Iraq which—in conjunction with the training of Iraqi security forces—could pave the way for U.S. troop reductions in early 2006. In August 2005, Casey used specific troop numbers in his public discussion of a possible drawdown. He said the troop level of 138,000 could be reduced by 30,000 in the early months of 2006 as Iraqi security forces took on a greater role. President Bush publicly called the talk "speculation" and rebuked the general. The bombing of the al-Askari Mosque, a sacred Shia religious site in Samarra, is believed to have stoked sectarian tensions and derailed coalition plans to speedily transfer significant security responsibility to the Iraqi government by the end of 2006.[4]

In January 2007, Casey implied his opposition to a troop surge, "the longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq’s security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias. And the other thing is that they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq’s difficulties, which are at base of their problems. It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term."[5]

Army Chief of Staff[]

Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren swears in Casey as the 36th Army chief of staff at Fort Myer, Virginia, April 10, 2007.

In January 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Casey for elevation to Chief of Staff of the Army. The Senate confirmed his nomination on February 8, 2007, with a bipartisan vote of 83–14.[6]

Casey speaks with the press about Future Combat Systems and the Manned Ground Vehicle program in June 2008.

On February 10, 2007, Casey relinquished command in Iraq to General David Petraeus. Casey officially succeeded General Peter Schoomaker as Chief of Staff of the Army on April 10, 2007.

As the 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from April 2007 to 2011, General Casey led what is arguably the world's largest and most complex organization – 1.1 million people strong, with a $200+ billion annual budget – during one of the most extraordinary periods in military and global political history. He became Chief of Staff of an Army that was stretched from 6 years of continuous war. Over his tenure he stabilized and transformed the Army to meet the challenges of the 21st century while continuing to meet the demands of two wars. General Casey transformed an Army trained and prepared for conventional war, to an agile force more suited to today's challenges.

He accelerated the growth of the Army, instituted Retention Bonuses for young officers, increased the funding for Soldier and Family Programs, improved the way the Army cared for its Wounded Soldiers and Surviving Family Members and drove down the stigma associated with behavioral health counseling to stabilize an Army stretched by war. He also improved the leadership training for the Army's General Officer Corps, advanced the transformation of the Army's business and decision making processes, moved the Army onto a rotational deployment program much like the Marine Corps’ and oversaw a substantial improvement in the capabilities of the Army National Guard and Army Reserves.

In response to the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting by Muslim chaplain Nidal Malik Hasan, General Casey indicated concern that the "real tragedy" would be harming the cause of diversity, saying, "As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well,"[7] Several months later, in a February 2010 interview, Casey said, "Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."[8] Casey's statements were criticized by some as being most concerned with political correctness.[9][10]

On April 11, 2011, Casey handed over his position as Army Chief of Staff to Martin E. Dempsey and retired from the Army at a ceremony in Fort Myer, VA.


Casey, whose parents were from Massachusetts, moved to Scituate, Mass., upon retirement.[11]

Awards, decorations and badges[]

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates presents the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to Casey

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with three bronze oak leaf clusters)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal (with bronze oak leaf cluster)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (with two bronze oak leaf clusters)
Defense Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal (with bronze oak leaf cluster)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal (with bronze oak leaf cluster)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with three bronze oak leaf clusters)
Army Superior Unit Award ribbon.svg Army Superior Unit Award
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Iraq Campaign Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal ribbon.svg Armed Forces Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral "4")
United Nations Medal ribbon.svg United Nations Medal
NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg NATO Medal for Yugoslavia
Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg Legion of Honor, Commander French (not worn)[12]
JPN Kyokujitsu-sho 1Class BAR.svg Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (not worn)Casey was awarded the first class of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa December 21, 2010[13]
Tong-il Security Medel Ribbon.png Order of National Security Merit (South-Korea) Tong-il Medal
GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Gold ribbon.svg Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor
Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera)awarded by Singapore Minister of Defense Teo Chee Hean on August 26, 2009 (not worn)[14]
POL Złoty Medal Wojska Polskiego BAR.svg Polish Army Medal in Gold (worn without golden ribbon bar device) – awarded by Polish Minister of National Defence Radosław Sikorski on November 8, 2005[15]
Noribbon.png (Unidentified)
GA National Guard Commendation Medal.png Georgia Commendation Medal – State of Georgia, USA; Presented to BG Casey by LTC Frank Williams, 3ID ROC, Georgia Army National Guard – while in Slavonski Brod, Croatia, 1996 (not worn)
Expert Infantry Badge.svg Expert Infantryman Badge
US Army Airborne master parachutist badge.gif Master Parachutist Badge (United States)
Ranger Tab.png Ranger Tab
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
GeneralStaffID.gif Army Staff Identification Badge
Multi-National Force-Iraq ShoulderSIeeveInsignia.jpg MNF-I Combat Service Identification Badge
10th INF DUI.png 10th Infantry Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
ArmyOSB.jpg 5 Overseas Service Bars
Fallschirmspringerabzeichen der Bundeswehr in Bronze.jpg German Parachutist Badge in bronze
Brevet Parachutiste.jpg Basic French Parachutist Badge (French language: Brevet de Parachutisme militaire)[16]


  1. Tom Bowman (Winter 2009–2010). "America's Broken Army". The Bugle Buster. United States Army. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  2. "Managing the Army". Georgetown University. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  3. Schmitt, Eric (July 5, 2004). "The Reach of War: Man in the News – George William Casey Jr.; A Low-Key Commander With 4 Stars to Tame the Iraqi Furies". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  4. Sherwell, Philip (August 14, 2005). "Bush slaps down top general after he calls for troops to be pulled out of Iraq". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  5. Sanger, David E.; Gordon, Michael R.; and John F. Burns (January 2, 2007). "Chaos Overran Iraq Plan in ’06, Bush Team Says". New York Times. 
  6. Tate, Deborah (February 8, 2007). "US Senate Confirms Casey as Army Chief of Staff". VOA News. Retrieved November 8, 2009. [dead link]
  7. "Casey: I'm 'concerned' about backlash against Muslim soldiers". CNN. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  8. "'Meet the Press' transcript for Nov. 8, 2009". Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  9. Neumayr, George. "Treachery as Lifestyle Choice". The American Spectator. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  10. "The PC Insanity Surrounding the Nidal Hasan Trial". Canada Free Press.Com. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  12. "Gen. Casey awarded Legion of Honor". U.S. Army. February 8, 2008. 
  13. [1]
  14. "US Army Chief of Staff Visits Singapore". Singapore Ministry of Defence. August 26, 2009. 
  15. (Polish) Note from National Defence Minister to Marshal of the Sejm about gen. Casey decoration.
  16. "Gen. Casey wearing french parachutist badge". U.S. Army. February 8, 2008. 


Further reading[]

  • Cloud, David; Greg Jaffe (2009). The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army. Random House. 

External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
Jack Keane
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Gen. Richard A. Cody
Preceded by
Ricardo S. Sanchez
Commander Multinational Force Iraq
Succeeded by
David H. Petraeus
Preceded by
Peter J. Schoomaker
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Martin E. Dempsey
Order of precedence
Preceded by
James Cartwright
United States order of precedence
as of 2014
Succeeded by
Gary Roughead

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