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Combat Story

Dec 3, 2022

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Today we hear a rare Combat Story from the highest echelons of the military from the eyes of retired General George Casey, who was the Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq, from 2004 to 2007, and Chief of Staff of the Army from 2007 to 2011. 

General Casey’s decisions resulted in many of the combat stories we’ve heard on this show as Delta operators, snipers, soldiers, and Marines carried out tactical operations that he and his staff decided at the strategic levels. 

I have a very short but personally important moment in which my life intersected with the General’s: he commissioned me into the Army. I was a student and ROTC cadet at Georgetown University where I played football and was on campus during the aftermath of 9/11. Similarly, General Casey was a student at Georgetown, also played football, and was on campus during the Vietnam War when it was not popular to wear the uniform. 

Mine was the first full class to commission into the post-9/11 era and I found it fitting that General Casey was the man who made that possible. He’s got some amazing stories, including being asked to attend the second-ever selection course for Delta Force to create the conditions for the first-ever elections in post-Saddam Iraq decades later.

This was a special interview for me personally and I hope you enjoy the experience, highs, lows, and mindset of one of the very few to ever have the opportunity to wear four stars.

Show Notes

  • 0:00 - Intro 
  • 0:57 - Guest Introduction (General George Casey)
  • 2:29 - Interview Begins 
  • 3:27 - Time at Georgetown
  • 6:34 - Where we you on 9/11?
  • 7:49 - Family history in the military and the impact of losing his father in Vietnam 
  • 13:24 - The political  climate in 1968 and the challenges the Army was facing internally 
  • 20:55 - Father as a role model and  expecting to go to Vietnam and why he went to Germany instead 
  • 25:48 -  Investing in the soldiers 
  • 27:56 - life of the party personality 
  • 29:20 - Story of getting a call for "a mission of the highest national importance" 
  • 36:43 - The importance and overlooked part of the roles of military spouses 
  • 42:56 - Formative years in Bosnia and Kosovo and first deployment in a combat environment 
  • 4:57 - What the weight and pressure of General Officers is really like 
  • 50:00 - Story of an uprising in Bosnia and major lessons learned 
  • 56:02 -  Story of how he came to a senior role at 1st Cavalry Division where his father served 
  • 1:01:04 - Where the "make the best of it" personality trait came from and what it was like at 1st Cav 
  • 1:07:43 - Seeing the end of a war and a story about a bizarre dealing with Russia 
  • 1:12:48 - Story of going to Iraq and  taking the most important role of his career 
  • 1:20:39 - The basis for his decision making process 
  • 1:25:32 - Thinking differently about veterans after 50 years of a volunteer force 
  • 1:29:35 - What did you carry into combat? 
  • 1:30:46 - Would you do it all again?

Book Supporting Veterans After 50 Years of the All-Volunteer Force and 20 Years of War: Ideas Moving Forward

Support the USO, where General (ret) Casey is Chairman of the Board

This video covers the following subjects:

- Four Star General George Casey

- Army Chief of Staff

- Commanding General

- Multi-National Force-Iraq

General George W. Casey, Jr., enjoyed a 41-year career in the US Army following his graduation from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1970. As the Army Chief of Staff, he led one of the nation’s largest and most complex organizations during one of the most extraordinary periods in our history. He is widely credited with restoring balance to a war-weary Army and leading the transformation to keep it relevant in the 21st Century. Prior to this, from July 2004 to February 2007, he commanded the Multi-National Force – Iraq, a coalition of more than 30 countries where he guided the Iraq mission through its toughest days.

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