Casey Watters – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

Soldier From Callahan Fights Cancer

April 4, 2007

CALLAHAN, Florida – A soldier who survived the battlefields of Iraq is facing another kind of battle.

U.S. Army Sergeant Casey Watters is now at home in Callahan with his family, battling a rare form of cancer that doctors found after he was wounded in Iraq.

Watters joined the army to fight terrorism. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, where he survived several attacks. He lost a best friend to a improvised explosive device and narrowly escaped with his life during the same attack.

Fighting is nothing new to Watters, but an injury he received from the IED led to the discovery of an even bigger battle.


“When I was getting checked out had two lumps get checked out, and ended up having a rare cancer,” Watters said.

The form of cancer is so rare that Watters and wife, Rachel, said doctors have not been able to give him a prognosis.

“It just rocked me. I was like, I made it through this whole gun battle and a couple other gun battles and some crazy stuff that you just pray and pray you make it through and then come home and find out you have cancer. I was like, ‘I can't win right now,'” Watters said.

The battle has been costly for Watters. Although the military pays for his chemotherapy treatments and he is still on active duty, the expenses of travel for his treatments have been mounting. Watters served in two tours of duty in Iraq.

“We had great credit, so we had pretty good limits on our credit card. Just going back and forth to Vanderbilt maxed out our cards,” Rachel Watters said.

Despite facing numerous challenges, Watters said he has remained positive and is now home, where he can spend time with his daughter.

Even though he doesn't know what the future hold, he said he vows to continue fighting the good fight.

“What I'm going to do is just keep the fight up. I'm just going to focus on being home with my family and enjoy my family life because I haven't enjoyed having my family around me in so long — two years,” Watters said.

Anyone wishing to help the Watters family can make donations to the Watters Family Fund at any Compass Bank location.

Sergeant Loses Fight To Cancer
Callahan Man Battled Disease For More Than 2 Years

Monday, June 22, 2009
Watters served in two tours of duty in Iraq.

A Callahan man who joined the Army more than four years ago to fight terrorism recently lost his battle to cancer.

Sergeant Casey Watters died Wednesday from a rare form of cancer that moved to his bone marrow.

He dealt with his illness for more than two years.

After being injured by an improvised explosive device, during medical treatment doctors discovered two lumps on Watters.

The lumps turned out to be a rare form of cancer that is caused by short term radiation poisoning.

Watters went through chemotherapy for several months, traveling from Fort Campbell to Nashville and racking up thousands in travel expenses.

But he never would give up his fight.

A Jacksonville teenager so moved by Watters' story when it aired on Channel 4 in April 2007 said she just had to do something to help.

She did all she could to raise money for the Army Sergeant and later met him on April 23, 2007, for the first time.

The viewing for Watters will be held Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fraser Funeral Home on Normanday Boulevard.

His funeral service will take place at the funeral home Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Fallen Soldier Honored, Remembered
Sergeant Recently Lost Battle To Cancer

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rachel Watters, Casey's wife, is handed the American flag at Casey's funeral.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Family and friends gathered Tuesday to honor a local soldier who recently lost his battle with cancer.

Sergeant Casey Watters' was remembered at his funeral Tuesday. He died Wednesday from a rare form of cancer discovered by doctors after he was wounded in Iraq.

Friends and family paid their last respects to the fallen soldier, who many described as a warrior in more ways than one.

It's a moment Peggy and Gary Watters knew they might one day have to face when their son Casey joined the Army in 2001. But after surviving two tours in Iraq, they never imagined his most difficult fight would be with cancer.

“He knew that was part of the peripheral damage from what he was doing,” Peggy said. “He was never angry at anyone.”

Watters truly made it his life's mission to serve and protect others, and those closest to him said he put everything he had into what he did.

Watters served in two tours of duty in Iraq.

“He loved everybody,” said Rachel Watters, Casey's wife. “He loved everything he did, all the work he did in Iraq, and he was so proud of that, to be able to be over there.”

“The warrior that he was, he faced the sickness and illness that he had and he fought til the end,” Peggy said, “and I'm telling you, many times we did not think he was going to pull through, and the doctors were amazed.”

While mourning the loss of casey, the Watterses know his death was not in vain.

“He was at peace,” one person close to Watters said. “It was so rough at the end. I'm just so glad he's not in pain anymore.”

“I would like people to remember that the point of all this is for our freedom,” Peggy added. “For all Americans to be able to say, worship in whatever way they want to, and that's why he did what he did — for everybody.”

The family is asking if you'd like to make a donation or send flowers for Casey to make it in his name to the Soldiers' Angels Fund, which provided support for Casey and his family throughout his battle with cancer.

Rachel Watters, Cara Watters, Peggy Watters, Gary Watters
Army honor guards fold the flag that draped the coffin of Army Staff Sergeant Casey Watters, while family members, relatives and friends look on, during a funeral ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Rachel Watters, Cara Watters, Peggy Watters
Rachel Watters, left to right, widow of Army Staff Sergeant Casey Watters, daughter Cara Watters, and mother Peggy Watters, weep during the during a funeral ceremony for Staff Sergeant Watters at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, July 14, 2009,
Rachel Watters, Cara Watters, Richard Monger
Rachel Watters, center, widow of Army Staff Sergeant Casey Watters, together with her daughter, Cara Watters, right, is handed the flag that draped her husband's coffin by Staff Sergeant Richard Monger, during a funeral ceremony

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