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Western Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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*Casey, Michael J.
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve)
Co. C, 1st Bn., 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
Date of Action:  March 18, 1968

The Navy Cross is awarded to Second Lieutenant Michael J. Casey, United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company C, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 18 March 1968, during Operation FORT, Lieutenant Casey's company was maneuvering across a large open area in Thua Thien Province. Suddenly, the Marines came under intense automatic weapons, mortar, recoilless rifle and antitank rocket fire from a well-concealed North Vietnamese Army force. Reacting instantly, Lieutenant Casey rapidly deployed his men, ably directing their fire and shouting words of encouragement to them. Realizing that the forward elements of his platoon was dangerously low on ammunition and that several wounded Marines were lying in an area exposed to the hostile fire, he unhesitatingly ran across seventy meters of fire-swept terrain, distributing weapons and ammunition. Picking up a wounded man, he ignored the enemy fire impacting around him and carried the casualty to the platoon's defensive perimeter. On two other occasions, he fearlessly exposed himself to distribute urgently needed ammunition and to move wounded Marines to covered positions. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Casey stood in full view of the enemy, while skillfully directing supporting arms fire and air strikes against the enemy positions. When hostile snipers began firing from concealed emplacements to the rear of his platoon, he again rose to his feet, attracting the attention of the snipers and drawing their fire away from his men. While pinpointing the enemy's positions, he was mortally wounded by a burst of automatic weapons fire. His bold initiative and sincere concern for the welfare of his comrades were an inspiration to all who served with him, and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission. By his exceptional courage, aggressive fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty, Lieutenant Casey upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

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