More detail on this person: Maine National Guard's Lt. Col. Michael Casey The Maine National Guard's state public affairs officer died unexpectedly Tuesday. Lt. Col. Michael G. Casey, 49, of Farmingdale collapsed at the Palermo Elementary School on Tuesday morning and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Kennebec Valley Medical Center in Augusta, according to his widow, Frances Casey. Casey was a native of Orono and a 1967 graduate of the University of Maine. He also had attended Maine Maritime Academy for one year, Mrs. Casey said. He was an 18-year veteran of the Regular Army and the Maine Army National Guard, and he had won three Distinguished Flying Crosses during 13 months as a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Casey also was awarded the Bronze Star and 54 Air Medals for valor during his tour in Southeast Asia. Casey was speaking to seventh- and eighth-grade pupils about Operation Desert Storm when he was stricken. An autopsy Tuesday revealed that his death was caused by a tear in the aorta, the main artery leading from the heart, Mrs. Casey said. Casey had been appointed the Maine National Guard's public affairs officer in October 1991 by Brig. Gen. Nelson Durgin, Maine's adjutant general. He was responsible for coordinating all public affairs activities for the state's Army and Air National Guard units. He also had served as commander of the Maine Army Guard's 112th Medical Company in Bangor, and he was named an outstanding aviator for 1975 by the Army Aviation Association of America. "Mike Casey had made significant contributions for a number of years both in command with the 112th Medical Company and as a staff officer in the Maine Army National Guard," said Durgin. "His energy and enthusiasm were evident in everything that he did. "I was happy that he eagerly accepted the challenge of public affairs officer last September, and he was working to develop a plan to tell the Guard's story," Durgin said. "He will be sorely missed by all of his friends in the Guard and all of those in the public with whom he came in touch." Casey held staff positions with units in Gardiner and with Troop Command headquarters in Augusta. He was a staff officer at State Headquarters in Augusta for several years. His widow, a native of Fort Fairfield, is a captain in the Maine Army Guard and the occupational health nurse at state headquarters. Casey also is survived by his mother, Dorothy Casey of Orono; two brothers, Jack Casey of Orono and Sean Casey of Machias; one sister, Catherine Casey of Portland; one stepson, Blair E. Tinkham, an ROTC cadet at the University of Maine; and a nephew, Andy Galeati of Orono. Funeral arrangements, through the Staples Funeral Home in Gardiner, had not been completed Tuesday evening.
Burial information: Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Augusta, ME
This information was last updated 02/14/2018
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Date posted on this site: 03/05/2019
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