Adairsville soldier receives state recognition
by Matt Shinall
Aug 25, 2011 | 4464 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff Sgt. Phillips Casey, center, was honored at the state Capitol Monday for his service in the U.S. Army. Pictured are Adairsville officials, left to right, City Manager Pat Crook, Interim Police Chief Robert Jones, Mayor Evan King, Councilman Buddy Bagley, Casey, Councilman Erwin Holcomb, Councilman Connie Morrow and State Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville. Special
Staff Sgt. Phillips Casey, center, was honored at the state Capitol Monday for his service in the U.S. Army. Pictured are Adairsville officials, left to right, City Manager Pat Crook, Interim Police Chief Robert Jones, Mayor Evan King, Councilman Buddy Bagley, Casey, Councilman Erwin Holcomb, Councilman Connie Morrow and State Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville. Special
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On March 9, along the banks of a river in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Phillips Barton Casey was injured during a dismounted combat patrol resulting in the loss of his right leg. Less than six months later, Casey climbed the Capitol steps in Atlanta to be recognized for his sacrifice and service.

Recipient of the Purple Heart, the world's oldest military honor still in use and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Casey was honored by the Georgia House of Representatives Monday with a resolution commending his actions and bravery.

Casey, an Adairsville native, suffered his injury while on patrol when he knelt atop an improvised explosive device. After a high leg amputation, Casey was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center for further treatment and rehabilitation.

Detailing Casey's performance in the moments immediately following his injury, his commendation for a medal of valor records Casey retaining consciousness and command of the men in his squad as well as local security forces.

"Once the smoke and dust had settled [Staff Sgt.] Casey immediately assessed his own injury while instructing his soldiers, who were scattered around him to freeze in place for fear of secondary explosives," reads the commendation. "He continued to direct his squad even as he and the platoon's medic conducted buddy aid. He then directed his squad to assist with the area security in order to facilitate his own [medical evacuation], while simultaneously keeping track of the time that had elapsed since the blast to ensure his own safety."

Sponsored by State Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, the House Resolution passed Monday during the General Assembly's special session briefly reiterated the above account but also heralded Casey's sacrifice.

"The fortitude, bravery and courage under fire exhibited by this soldier's soldier simply defies description," reads HR-8EX. "His selflessness stands in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and as a shining tribute to the strength of human spirit and will power."

Coomer's Legislative Aide, Deborah Conley, organized much of the ceremony surrounding Monday's resolution, including the gathering of family and community leaders. Conley made special note of the support Casey received and the outpouring of love seen in a large extended family. This support, paired with a positive attitude, were evident in Casey's recovery.

"He came up to the podium and from the moment people were able to see him, it was silent in the House and it was definitely a matter of respect and awe," Conley said. "This man was injured, he became an amputee suddenly on March 9 and here he was on Aug. 22 not having any assistance coming up to the platform.

"The standing ovation just went on and on. It was just one of those awe inspiring moments."

Describing Casey as a "super hero," not only for his courage under fire but also for his courage in recovery, Coomer recognized Casey's willingness to serve and thanked him for his actions.

"I've always thought it important to recognize any veterans for their willingness to serve but especially someone who has given so much, and Sgt. Casey, in this instance, has even given limbs in service to our constitution and our freedoms and I think it is important to show proper gratitude as a society to him and to others like him who have gone before him," Coomer said. "This is a small token of gratitude that we could show as a community, as a state for what he has done for us -- for his sacrifice."

Casey is currently on active duty with the U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 1/320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault.