U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 508-10
June 19, 2010
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Captain Michael P. Cassidy, 41, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, died June 17, 2010, in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Army Captain Michael P. Cassidy, 41, of Simpsonville, South Carolina.
Captain Cassidy was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, and died June 17, 2010 in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.
Captain Michael Cassidy, 41, was due to return in October after 12 months in Iraq.
He died Thursday in Mosul, Iraq, from noncombat-related injuries, according to a U.S. Defense Department of Defense.
Johanna Cassidy knew exactly what it meant when she saw two military officers approaching the front door of her Simpsonville home in what seemed like slow-motion.
“It felt like I was in a dream,” she said. “I’m just wishing this wasn’t real.”
Cassidy’s husband had been serving as a Medical Officer in Iraq since October.
The messengers told her what every military wife fears when her husband is at war: He had died in the service of his country.
“He is a real hero to us,” she said Sunday, lifting a hand to cover her mouth to choke back the tears. “I’m very happy to see that he’s a hero to others as well.”
“He actually came home on mid-tour leave in April of this year so we got to see him,” she said. “I’m really glad. We got two weeks.”
They took their children, Amber, 9, and Catherine, 10, to Carowinds, she said, and got to spend time together as a family.
“He loved his family,” she said. “He loved his children. He loved me so much, and he loved his country.”
It was that love of country that prompted him to go from the National Guard to the regular Army, she said.
“After September 11 he was just inspired,” she said. “He wanted to do something to serve his country. He wanted his life and his talents to go toward protecting our freedom.”
For Cassidy, the past few days have been long, hard and sleepless, save for four meager hours.
At 2 a.m. Friday, the phone rang. She was to be picked up in three hours and taken to the airport. Her husband’s body was en route to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
“When I saw his casket, that’s when I knew it was real, and he was not going to come back,” she said.
The ceremony was beautiful, Cassidy said.
“I was very touched by the honor,” she said. “There was so much honor that they showed my husband and us as a family.”
Her children got a chance to see that their father was as much a hero outside the family as he was to them, she said.
Cassidy said she also received a call from the colonel in charge of her husband’s brigade in Iraq.
“He just wanted to call me personally because they couldn’t tell me the circumstances around his death but they wanted me to know that it was in service of his country, that there was great honor,” she said.
Cassidy described Michael, who stood at 6 feet 4 inches, as her “gentle giant.”
“Mike loved people,” she said. “He genuinely loved to find out about people. He was such a good person.”
He was a carpenter after he graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in history. He also worked as a computer specialist, she said, before attending Sherman College to become a chiropractor.
“Mike was very talented,” Cassidy said. “Anything he decided he was interested in I believed he could do.”
He was brilliant, she said, and also “humble.”
Cassidy says she’s thankful for the support from family members who have come to town, neighbors and people from their church.
“I thought I was a strong person, that I could handle anything,” she said. “I realize this is more than I can handle.”
But she said she will work hard to be strong for her children.
The girls will have the memories of their father being honored, she said, and know that he died for his country.
“I’m very proud of him,” Cassidy said.
CASSIDY, MICHAEL PAUL
CPT US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 11/16/1968
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/17/2010
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 9168
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard