Earl (Henry) Casey
CFA Vice-President (June 1998 - Current Term)
THE LONGEST NIGHT
I finished Army Basic Training and reported to Ft. Benning, GA to attend the Basic Airborne Course. I had made it
through the worst part of the six week course which consisted of a hard physical training program; parachute landing
training; the 34 foot tower and 250 foot tower training; glider training; and three parachute jumps from a C-47 aircraft.
I needed three more jumps to qualify for my parachute wings.
I was required to pack my own parachute for the fourth jump. The packing shed was a building with long tables. Two
students were assigned to work together and follow along as the instructor packed a chute. We pulled our first
parachute from the bag and tried to follow the Instructor. We were trying to get the suspension lines and panels ready
to pack, but we couldn't get them straightened out. The Instructor told us we had better get them packed or we would
be set back a week in training.
To our surprise, the Assistant Instructor saw we were having trouble. At first, he was confused, then he determined the
parachute canopy was turned inside out. We then began packing our first chute while some students had already
finished both of theirs. We quickly got both chutes packed and then had them checked by a Rigor to insure they were
While waiting for the rigor check, I noticed that the string which laced the backpack and static line was loose. I
happened to have a box of wooden matches. I broke the heads off of them and twisted the string tight with the match
sticks. Then, I hid the match sticks under the static line. I was relieved when the Rigor okayed the chute to be jumped.
When I went to bed that night, I began to worry - afraid the chute wouldn't open. I couldn't sleep for worrying about
it. That was the longest night I ever had. I thought daylight would never come.
My prayers were answered, and I earned the Badge of Courage (Parachute Wings) on 16 Aug., 1947. I was assigned
to Airborne Units for 22 of my 30 years in the Army and made over 200 parachute jumps (with only one tree landing).
I had been in Japan for a month in August 1955 before Betty and Henry, Jr. were due to join me.
A Lieutenant's wife was arriving with Betty, so the Lieutenant and I left early that morning for the four hour train trip
to meet our families at Ashai Air Force Base.
He briefed me on a loading plan, as the train stops for a very short time. He would board the train with our families. I
would hand the baggage through the window to him, then get on the train. We loaded as planned along with the local
citizens and their domestic animals.
As we settled in for the four hour trip, two Japanese gentlemen dressed in business suits sat down in front of us. We
watched as they removed their coats, folded them neatly, and placed them in the overhead rack. They then removed
their ties and shirts and placed them in the rack.
We assumed this would be the end of the undressing, but to our surprise, they stood up, removed their trousers and
neatly folded and placed them on the overhead rack. They then sat down, placed their briefcases on their laps and removed papers to begin working.
This was our first exposure (of many more) to Japanese customs and traditions.
Until next time - God bless and safe landings.
Vice President, CFA
Springfield is now history. I hope everyone had a safe trip home. Thanks Sonya for getting it all together. Looking
forward to Oklahoma City in 2002. Let's begin making plans now, as it will be here before we know it.
Thanks Bob for a job well done during your two years as president. Let's don't forget to let Mary Lea and Allen and
Mike and Paula know how much we appreciate them for the time they put in getting the Casey Clan Tidings published.
I came across a Casey Song - "I Had A Hat" (author unknown)
Casey wore his brand new hat to Murphy's wake last night
Someone stole his hat and lo it started a fight
Casey smashed the furniture, the radio as well
Nearly woke the corpse up as he began to yell
I had a hat when I came in I hung it on the rack
And I'll have a hat when I go out or I'll break somebody's back
I'm a peaceful lovin' man, I am, and I don't want to shout
But I had a hat when I came in and I'll have a hat when I go out.
There are two more verses to this song. I hope to talk to one of the writers for our local newspaper (He had this song
in one of his columns.) to get the rest of the song.
Until next time, Safe Landings (for Alfred and Gordon)
As usual, the time has gone by so fast. I had planned to have my article written in advance, however, my plans don't
always work out. The older I get, the faster time goes by. And now, it takes me twice as long to get things done. I
guess age is catching up with me.
I am planning to write our family history to include our 30 years in the Army. Hopefully, God will allow me enough
time to com-plete this project.
There are so many questions I don't have the answers to, and now I have no one to turn to for the answers. So all of
you Casey Clan members get all the information you can while it is available.
Our granddaughter, Amber Renee Casey, was born January 2, 1977. My Father wrote a poem for her parents:
May heaven grant them many years,
Years both long and happy.
May half a dozen more appear
To call young Henry, Pappy."
George W. Casey
Henry E. (Junior) and Denise also have two sons, Bryan and Ben.
Until next time, safe landings and God bless.
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