Friday, May 02, 2008

Marine Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova, 22, of McComb, Miss.

LCpl Casanova was assigned to the Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died May 2, 2008 in Karmah, Iraq, while supporting combat operations. Also killed were Cpl. Miguel A. Guzman, Lance Cpl. James F. Kimple and Sgt. Glen E. Martinez.

Roadside bomb kills 4 Marines in Anbar

By Andrew Tilghman
Staff writer

It seemed like a routine patrol along a route outside Fallujah.

The road near the town of Karma, Iraq, had been quiet for months. But shortly before midnight on May 2, a roadside bomb killed four Marines, making it Anbar province’s deadliest attack in nearly nine months.

Lance Cpl. Casey Casanova, 22, of McComb, Miss., called her father several hours before she was killed.

“She said ‘Dad, it’s boring over here. There’s nothing going on over here,’” Craig Casanova said.

His daughter was killed in the attack, along with Sgt. Glen E. Martinez, 31, of Boulder, Colo.; Cpl. James Kimple, 21, of Amanda, Ohio; and Cpl. Miguel A. Guzman, 21, of Norwalk, Calif.

They were assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion-1, Combat Logistics Regiment-1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Casanova, a field radio operator, was on her first deployment to Iraq. She was expecting a promotion to corporal in June and she was engaged to marry another Marine she knew from Camp Pendleton, her father said.

Kimple, a married father of three, was on his second deployment to Iraq. He grew up in Carroll, Ohio, a town south of Columbus. He attended high school until his senior year and earned a GED before joining the Marine Corps, said Lewis Taylor, owner of the Taylor Funeral Home in Amber, Ohio.

While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Kimple and his wife remained residents of Ohio. The family issued a brief statement following his death, saying: “His wife, children and parents are sad to say that he has given his life serving his country, but are relived to say that he did so doing what he loved to do: serving his family and his country.”

Martinez was married to Marine Sgt. Melissa Sue Martinez, who was also deployed in Fallujah. She planned to accompany his body back to Colorado, according to The Denver Post.

In high school, Glen Martinez quarterbacked the football team and competed in wrestling tournaments. He later played baseball for Ottowa University in Kansas.

He joined the Corps in 2004 at 27. A college graduate, he could have gone to Officer Candidate School, but he instead opted to enlist, the newspaper said.

Guzman was from the Los Angeles area. An organizational automotive mechanic, he joined the service in August 2004, according to a Marine Corps news release.

“These four brave and dedicated warriors will not be forgotten. Our thoughts are with the families during their time of grief,” Col. Juan G. Ayala, commander of 1st MLG, said in the release.

The four Marines killed May 2 bring the number of Marine fatalities from Iraq to 986. So far this year, 17 died from wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Defense Department records.

Mississippi woman killed in Iraq

By Holbrook Mohr
The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — Marine Lance Cpl. Casey Casanova is remembered as a kindhearted woman who sang like an “angel,” loved to dance and was looking forward to getting married when she returned from Iraq.

The 22-year-old McComb native died Friday in a roadside bombing, her family said. She is thought to be the first woman from Mississippi killed in combat in Iraq.

“She was the sweetest, most well-liked, smartest person you’d ever want to know. She had a beautiful voice. She loved to sing. She loved to line dance,” said Casanova’s grandmother, Kitty Carruth. “Her music instructor said that the voice of an angel is gone. That’s how she was described by him.”

Casanova was one of four Marines who died in the bombing in the western Anbar province, her family said. The military has not released details of the attack.

“She was a kindhearted, gentle person. Didn’t have an enemy in the world. She made friends with everyone,” said grandfather John Carruth. “She’s going to be missed for the rest of our lives. We’ll never forget her.”

Casanova attended Bass Memorial Academy in Lumberton before going to Southwest Mississippi Community College, where she played drums in the band and sang, Kitty Carruth said. She also sang with her church and was honored to sing the national anthem at Marine functions.

Casanova joined the Marines two years ago and thought the military would be a good way to help find her place in the world, Kitty Carruth said.

“We tried to get her to join the Air Force or Navy where we thought she would be safer, but she said she was going to make up her mind herself,” Kitty Carruth said. “She wanted to join the Marines and that’s what she decided.”

Casanova fell in love with another Marine and was looking forward to getting married after her deployment. She was scheduled to come home in September.

Her body is expected to arrive in Mississippi on Thursday, her family said. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Casanova is one of more than 60 military members with strong ties to Mississippi killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Marine laid to rest
The Associated Press

SUMMIT, Miss. — Family, friends and fellow Marines remembered Lance Cpl. Casey Lynne Casanova on Saturday as a vivacious woman who paid the ultimate price for her country.

Casanova, believed to be the first woman from Mississippi killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, was buried after a memorial at New Heights Baptist Church and a graveside service at Adams United Methodist Church cemetery in rural Lincoln County.

“We’re here to pay tribute to one of our very own,” the Rev. Rick Kennedy said. “She is our own heroine. ... She packed more in 22 years than many of us do in 60 or 70, and we’re better people for having known her.”

Casanova and three other Marines were killed May 2 when a roadside bomb was detonated near their vehicle in the Anbar province.

Hundreds, including many Marines, attended Saturday’s services. They remembered Casanova with musical tributes and tearful recollections of her dedication to the Marine Corps.

Military officials gave Paula Carruth, Casanova’s mother, a Purple Heart Medal during the service.

Casanova, who was engaged to a Marine she met at Camp Pendleton, was shipped to Iraq on Valentine’s Day. Pastor Paul Clark said she was always the first to request prayer for others and never stayed mad more than a minute.

He read a memorial from Carruth: “There will always be an empty space in my heart and it will be there forever. I will always do honorable things in her honor.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova remembered
The Associated Press

Casey L. Casanova played drums and sang. She also sang with her church and was honored to sing the national anthem at a Marine ball in California.

“She loved to sing. She sang all the time. When she was 2 years old, she was singing on the toilet,” said her mother, Paula Carruth. “That’s was she loved to do. She did it well.”

Casanova, 22, of McComb, Miss., was killed May 2 during combat in Anbar, Iraq. She was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Casanova attended Bass Memorial Academy in Lumberton before going to Southwest Mississippi Community College. She was engaged to marry Marine Cpl. Brandon Henderson in September.

“She packed more in 22 years than many of us in our 60s and 70s. We’re better people for having known her,” said the Rev. Rick Kennedy.

Marine Lance Corp. Tessa Baine, in the same unit, knew Casanova well. “She and I would always make breakfast for the guys on Saturday mornings. She is the one I would go to when I was having problems, and she would always seem to make me smile,” she said.

She also is survived by her father, Chris Casanova.

Marine Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova was killed in action on 05/02/08.

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