ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Army Capt. Thomas J. Casey of Albuquerque, who was killed Jan. 3, 2008, in Sadiyah, Iraq, has been awarded a Bronze Star for valor – the fourth-highest military award for combat.
Casey’s father, John J. Casey of Albuquerque, accepted the medal on his son’s behalf during a ceremony Sept. 27 at Fort Riley, Kan.
“I’m a very, very proud father,” John Casey said Thursday. “I was always proud of Tom for what he accomplished before and during his Army life. I’m even prouder yet that he has received this Bronze Star. Now everyone can see the honor and legacy he has brought to his family, friends, community, state and now his country.
“I hate the words ‘decorated, fallen American hero,’ but that is apropos for Tom,” his father said.
Casey, 32, was an intelligence adviser with Military Transition Team 0511, part of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley. While his unit was investigating a car crash after a pursuit, it came under enemy fire, according to Army officials.
After seeing a fellow soldier felled by a sniper, Casey fired back while the wounded soldier was moved to safety. Though Casey killed the sniper, he suffered fatal wounds.
The officer wounded by the sniper, Maj. Andrew J. Olmstead of Colorado Springs, later died of his injuries.
Casey was born in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 1993. He attended New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico, graduating with a dual degree in Spanish and Portuguese. After graduating from UNM, Casey joined the Army and received language training at the Defense Language Institute, where he became fluent in Korean. While serving as a linguist at Fort Bragg, N.C., he graduated from Army Airborne School and Officer Candidate School and received his commission as a second lieutenant in January 2001.
Casey, a member of the Nevada National Guard who was on his second tour in Iraq, was living in Reno with his wife, Leslie Anne, and two sons, Joseph, 3, and Michael, 1, when he was deployed.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal