By Emily Baker

Killeen Daily Herald

Its not every day that Fort Hoods commander is asked to step aside to allow someone else guest-speaker honors at an event.

But Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, is expected to be replaced at the podium by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey at the Association of the United States Armys general membership meeting June 21.

Its a real coup in a way to have him speak at an AUSA meeting, said Marilyn Laes-sig, the organizations state president. Dr. Harvey had a trip planned for Fort Hood, and it coincided with our dinner. General Metz thought it would be great to have him speak at the dinner because it is not something that occurs very often.

Harveys visit would be his first to Fort Hood since he became secretary in mid-November, said Jeanne Isdale, the outgoing president of the Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter of AUSA, which is hosting the dinner.

As secretary, Harvey is in charge of the Armys $98.5 billion annual budget, 15 million acres of land and more than 1 million soldiers and civilian employees, according to the Defense Departments Web site.

All AUSA members are invited to attend the dinner, which is scheduled to begin at the Fort Hoods Officers Club ballroom following a 6 p.m. social hour.

Tickets cost $21 and are available through June 15 at area chambers of commerce, the III Corps headquarters and Fort Hood National Bank.

The event is the final general membership meeting of the year, and new officers will be elected, Isdale said.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase tickets early as space is limited.

We welcome (Harvey), and we are excited about him being here, and we hope we have a great attendance, which Im sure we will, Laessig said.

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