Sunday, July 13, 2003

Army Capt. Paul J. Cassidy

Remember Our Heroes

Army Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, 36, of Laingsburg, Mich.

Capt. Cassidy was assigned to the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Wis.; died July 13, 2003 as a result of non-combat injuries at Camp Babylon, Iraq.

Paul J. Cassidy had made a life out of helping people in troubled regions. His mission to Iraq with the Army Reserves was similar to previous duties in Kosovo, Bosnia and Kuwait, where he distributed food and blankets and helped reconstruct power grids, improve phone lines, re-establish farms, provide water and repair houses.

“He was basically in there to help people, doing humanitarian deeds, the nice things,” said Meridian Township, Mich., clerk Mary Helmbrecht.

Cassidy, 36, of Laingsburg, Mich., died July 13 as a result of non-combat injuries in Iraq.

Helmbrecht said Cassidy’s involvement with the humanitarian aspects of war and his dedication to his work reflected his personality.

“He had an outstanding dry wit,” she said. “He was just an incredibly dedicated, detail-oriented, phenomenal employee.”

— Associated Press

A July 18 memorial service for a Michigan soldier who died in Iraq promised to bring his unit — 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion — closer together.

According to the Department of Defense, Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, 36, of Laingsburg, Mich. died July 13 from non-combat injuries in Camp Babylon, Iraq. His death is still being investigated, said Ben Abel, public affairs liaison for the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Our unit is running the gamut of emotions. Shock, mostly a lot of sadness,” Maj. Jeff Ponkratz of Green Bay wrote in an e-mail to the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Wednesday. “It’s safe to say this has made us appreciate each other and has pulled us together.”

Ponkratz said members of the unit scattered across Southern Iraq will attend Friday’s service. The 432nd is made up of reservists from around the Great Lakes region.

Cassidy, a graduate of Ripon College, joined the 432nd in October 1985 and served as the unit’s Dislocated Civilians Control Officer until Feb. 1992. Although he later transferred to the 415th battalion of Kalamazoo, Mich., Cassidy was deployed with the 432nd on several occasions.

He once again volunteered to serve with the 432nd in Operation Iraqi Freedom on Feb. 28.

Cassidy is the 12th Michigan soldier to die in Iraq. He is survived by his wife Susan and their 10-month-old son Colin.

“He was working very hard on restoring the sewer and water systems in Al Hillah when he grew increasingly tired,” Ponkratz wrote. “We want Colin to know how hard his dad worked and how many lives Paul has helped over his lifetime during these deployments.”

Army Capt. Paul J. Cassidy was killed in a non-combat related incident on 7/13/03.

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