Cassandra Cassavant

Cornish, Maine, US

U.S. Army

SPC, Satellite Communications Specialist, Fort Hood

9/3/2007, Fort Hood, US


Specialist Cassandra Lee Cassavant, 21, of Cornish, died unexpectedly on Aug. 3, 2007, while serving in the U.S. Army. She was born on Jan. 1, 1986, in Portsmouth, N.H., the daughter of Christine A. Peabody Hensley and Michael J. Cassavant.

In 2003, Cass completed an accounting course and in 2004 a business office technology class, both at Lake Region Vocational School in Naples, and graduated from Sacopee Valley High of Hiram, in the class of 2004. After graduation she enrolled in business courses at Southern Maine Community College, focusing in accounting.

In August of 2005, Cass enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was most recently promoted to SPC working as a Satellite Communications Specialist at Fort Hood, Texas. In 2001 and 2002, she worked at Wendy’s in North Conway, N.H. and in 2004 at Humming Bird CafŽ in Cornish. In 2002 Cass received a FBLA, (Future Business Leaders of America); Certificate of Participation in Fall Leadership Workshop at Thomas College, in 2003 was listed as the Most Improved Student at Sacopee Valley High School and in 2003 and 2004 received Certificates of Participation for Presidency in FBLA. She enjoyed creating Tie Dye Tee Shirts and painting.

She is survived by her daughter, Chyann S. Cassavant; her mother Christine and dad Mark Hensley of Cornish; father Michael Cassavant of Port Richey, Fla.; maternal grandmother, Evelyn M. Peabody of Cornish and paternal grandmother, Pat Marino of Port Richey, Fla.

My daughter was a very extraordinary girl like all of the loved ones who have fallen, I’m sure. She was born on New Years Day 1986 to myself and Michael Cassavant. We had a rough time of it when I divorced her father in 1990. We had a very heated custody battle. The toll taken on Cassandra was devastating. This is about her struggle in life and so I will begin with what transpired after we moved to Maine she was 12 at this time, after being separated from her for three years before. I thought we had gotten rid of the ghosts of the past but they sure have a way of popping up at the most unexpected times.

My daughter was a very bright and intelligent, but she became pregnant at 14. We helped her the only way we knew how, and she managed (with help from my husband and myself) to graduate High School and start college. She met a boy in High School (not the father of my granddaughter) and dated him for a week but he drank, so she broke up with him and told him the only way they could be together was to clean up his act and stop drinking. So one year later he did and they were a couple for about 4 years. They had an off again on again relationship. She thought that joining the military would solve a lot of money problems, but I think it compounded them. While in Basic Training at Ft Jackson SC she fell and tore her rotary cuff. She was in constant pain for the rest of her life and I think it contributed to her unraveling. She had many consults with military and civilian doctors and they said she needed surgery to fix her shoulder, but the military had other plans. She was on a PT profile during AIT and therefore stayed longer at Ft Gordon. Her boyfriend shot and killed himself while on the phone with my daughter while she was in AIT at Ft Gordon. She never got over that and started to unravel at the seams. After her boyfriend’s death she was changing. She did not write to her daughter as she did before. She was very good at concealing her pain both physical and mental. Her girlfriend back here in Maine knew more about that than I did.

But the military sent her to Ft Hood TX for her permanent party station. She was very loved and cherished by many of her fellow soldiers. She was the one they went to when they were hurting and suicidal she knew what to say when to keep other soldiers going when she herself did not know how to handle all of this at 21 years old. She was also the very best at her job. She was very excited to link up with the satellites, she said this one was put up the year I was born, isn’t this great mom. While in the barracks she was known as: Momma Cass, she would cook for the whole barracks when she could.

However, she got involved with guys and drugs and alcohol. She did not tell anyone except very close friends about her boyfriend, and her own struggle with depression. The thoughts that kept invading her mind at night, she was having trouble sleeping, and she was still in pain from her shoulder. I talked to her and encouraged her to see the mental health professionals there at Ft Hood. She did and they prescribed sleeping pills and diagnosed her with PTSD. She had gotten an article 15 for not showing up for one pt formation. I believe that formation there was a drug test and she did not want anyone to know of her current drug use. She complained that she would not be able to re enlist and she wanted to come home and I told her going AWOL was not a solution to the problem she got defensive towards me. I backed off, she said “I will be OK mom!”I believed her, it was July 31, 2007. Three days later she was dead, a gunshot to the head.

We are going ahead with life the only way we can, with lots of help from POS-FFOS, TAPS and other means. I lean on God a lot more than I did before.

Cassandra’s portrait is also on Poster 10