35th Infantry (Cacti) Regiment Association

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  PFC Casey S. Carriker    In memory of our fallen brother

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother"

Bravo Company
35th Infantry Regiment
War on Terror

"Not For Fame or Reward
Not For Place or For Rank
But In Simple Obedience To
Duty as They Understood It"

The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Casey S. Carriker, who died in the service of his country on June 13th, 2007 in Kirkuk, Iraq. The cause of death was listed as non-combat related incident. At the time of his death Casey was 20 years of age. He was from Hoquiam, Washington.

The decorations earned by PFC Casey S. Carriker include: the Combat Infantryman Badge,

Casey S. Carriker dies 'from injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident'
Casey Carriker was always the first one to call his dad on Father's Day.

That call will not come today.

On Wednesday, Terry Carriker got the news no father wants to hear. His son, 20 and a 2005 Hoquiam High School graduate, had died that day while serving with the Army in Kirkuk, Iraq, from injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation by Army personnel.

Two military representatives, one a chaplain, showed up on the family's Hoquiam doorstep to tell them the news.

But the family had already had a sense that something horrible had happened.

Casey's mother, Sandra Beaudry, was on the road, moving from Iowa to Montana, when two military representatives showed up at her old Iowa home.

A former neighbor recognized what it meant and called Beaudry at her parent's house in Montana.

Terry, 51, an employee at Westport Shipyard in Hoquiam, tried to reassure her everything could be OK, as he had not yet received the news and he was listed as Casey's primary contact.

It turns out the two representatives had taken a wrong turn and didn't get to Hoquiam until later that day.

It turned out to be true Casey's father said.His sister did not want to let them in. I went out and just buckled. You just want to be numb and blank. ... You put your child into their hands and you just hope the whole time it works out.

An Abstract Personality

From a young age, Casey was a really bright and unusual child, his father said.He would correct you on what things were called.

When Terry was paying one of his workers, Casey remarked "that sure is a lot of dead presidents", Terry remembers.He came up with that. He's the first guy I've ever heard call money "dead presidents".

Casey was also one to question everything, which could get him into trouble sometimes. He was interested in philosophy, ethics, human behavior and how people think and feel, his father said.

"The world came at him from a different angle", Terry said. "He had an abstract personality. Things didn't hit him the same way. He had a way of looking at a situation and seeing something totally different than what other people got out of it. He liked to talk to me because I listened and understood what he was talking about. Well, I didn’t always understand, but I loved him, so I tried to".

Because he was so interested in how other people thought, Casey wanted to go into social work or philosophy.

He joined the Army as a way to pay for college, see the world and because he thought he would get some of his teenage angst out, his father said.

He signed up right around his 18th birthday and, while always an avid runner, started to run every day with his backpack full of books to prepare for basic training. Half of it was filled with school books, the other with whatever "bizarre subject he was interested in", Terry said.

While originally set on working in linguistics in the Army, recruiters steered him toward infantry, Terry said.

He played video games about war with his friends, telling them that's why I want to go infantry, and he studied up on different weapons and divisions of the military.

After graduation, he continued to push himself during basic training to meet the physical demands.

Casey really worked hard, he said.He doubled the PT stuff, ate, ate, ate to bring his weight up and did all he could to focus on the military way. I don't know how he got through that far. It was to his own effort, his own credit. He went into it with the right heart and the right plans.

He was based in Hawaii before going to Iraq last August.

He was proud of those he worked with and proud of (his service),his father said.He thought his direct commander was a manly god and he had incredible respect for him. He would follow him into hell.

However, when Casey returned for a week-long visit, he became disillusioned by news reports.

He was upset by what politicians were saying and by the debates over the reason the United States was in Iraq. He also found out that his tour was going to be extended, and wasn't even sure when it would end.

After his leave, he went back a little worse for the wear, Terry said.

Future plans

Casey's most recent e-mails and phone calls focused on the Aberdeen home Terry and his wife, Tammy, 49, are remodeling.

He was anxious to help his father, and even wanted to purchase a truck and a home of his own to fix up when he returned from Iraq.

He was excited, Terry said.

When he first heard about the house in December, he sent money for materials and for Christmas presents.

Then, when he saw all the work that needed to be done, he sent another $1,000.

He said, "I think you'll need more for this", Terry said.

He also planned to attend Grays Harbor College while he figured out exactly what he wanted to do.

He was supposed to come home, drive my old van and fix this house with me, Terry said. The world he saw wasn't the one that agreed with him.

A positive teacher

Casey and his six brothers and sisters moved from Iowa to Hoquiam in 2001 to live near their father.

Casey just loved it here, Tammy said. He was just amazed by the trees and scenery. He took pictures of every tree he saw.

During his three years at Hoquiam High School, Casey excelled in welding and his metal arts teacher, Richard Tinder,took Casey under his wing, his father said.

He loved Mr. Tinder, he said.He definitely had a nice grounding effect on Casey.

Tinder said Casey was able to take on advanced tools and projects and often served as a peer teacher, helping other students learn. He was a member of the school's Vocational Industrial Clubs of America and would stay late to help with projects and go on field trips to collect surplus goods to use in class.

He had a very generous heart, Tinder said. He was very helpful with the other students.

The well-read student was good at discussing books and getting his point across, his former teacher added.

He was really excited to go into the Army, he said.That was what he wanted to do.

Tinder remembers Casey talking about upcoming camping trips and hikes with his close group of friends.

That was when the rest of the world was quiet for him, his father said. He worried a lot about people and where he thought they were going.

After doing some metal arts projects for the Grays Harbor Relay for Life, Casey became a 24-hour walker his junior and senior years. He also did yard work for Tinder to earn a little extra money.

Casey had planned to come visit Tinder when he got home and pound some steel with his old teacher.

I will miss him, Tinder said. I wish it hadn't happened. I think he appreciated the time he spent at school and I appreciate his service for the country. He will be greatly missed.

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