ALBUQUERQUE, NM, USA U.S. Army CPT, 1-5-1 MITT, 2/3 ACR, 2 ID [TASK ORG TO 1 AD] AS SAYILAH, IRAQ 01/03/2008
An Army captain from New Mexico who was killed in Iraq is being remembered as a devoted father and a natural leader.
Captian Thomas J. Casey, 32, of Albuquerque was killed Thursday in As Sadiyah when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire, the Defense Department said. Also killed in the attack was Army Major Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Casey graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 1993 and attended New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico, graduating with degrees in Spanish and Portuguese.
A former classmate said he expected Casey to be successful one day.
“As an adult now, I look back on our childhood when he was in sports and all that stuff, and you could kind of see he was a natural leader,” said Danny Brown, who attended school with Casey from first through 12th grades. “It really doesn’t shock me that he went into the military and was as good a leader as he was.”
Casey’s family remembers him as an “amazing family man.”
He and his wife, Leslie, had two children, ages 3 and 1. The family lived in Reno, Nev. Casey’s father, John J. Casey, lives in Albuquerque.
“Free time (for) a military officer is precious and limited, but when there was free time, (he) spent every possible minute with his wife and children,” said a statement issued Saturday through the Nevada National Guard, which provided casualty assistance for his family in Reno.
Casey was a military intelligence officer serving on a transition team assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan. Transition team training is a 60-day cycle at Fort Riley to prepare teams of American soldiers, airmen and sailors to advise, teach, mentor and coach their Iraqi or Afghan counterparts, the military said in a news release Saturday. Fort Riley said he was deployed on the team in June.
Casey had retired from the Army three years ago after his first tour in Iraq. His family said he later re-enlisted.
April Conway, a spokeswoman for the Nevada National Guard, said Casey was a linguist for a few years with the Army.
Casey and his wife met at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. They were married in October 1998.
Casey was the first soldier with New Mexico ties to be killed in Iraq in 2008. Last year, 12 New Mexicans died in Iraq and one was killed in Afghanistan.