Mother of Fallen Marine Reflects on Her Life - - Jackson, MS

McComb 05/07/08

Mother of Fallen Marine Reflects on Her Life

By Cheryl Lasseter

"Casey loved to sing, loved to dance.  She was the dancing cowgirl," says Paula Carruth, with a smile.  "She was bubbly, kind, loving, and she glorified God.  That's what she did.  She was a wonderful, loving person. "

Paula is speaking about her only child, Marine Lance Corporal Casey Casanova.  Paula wasn't thrilled when Casey -- who played steel drums, loved to sing, and loved frogs -- decided back in 2006 to join the Marine Corps.  But Casey had big dreams, and an even bigger heart.

"I encouraged Casey to get out of the small town, get options for herself," Paula says.  "I never imagined it would be the Marine Corps, but she made her choice."

On February 14, about six weeks shy of her 22nd birthday, Casanova found herself in Iraq performing radio communications.  If she was scared, her family never knew it.

"She did not tell me that every night she went out she was in danger of losing her life," Paula says.  "What I have learned is that my daughter died ten miles from where she slept every night.  Every night she left to go out, it was a dangerous place for her to be.  My daughter was an honorable Marine.  She would never let anyone know that.  She knew how much we loved her.  She did not want us to worry about her."

"I never thought my daughter wasn't coming home.  I never put that in my heart or my mind," she says.  "I gave her to God because that's what she asked me to do."

But around midnight Friday, Carruth says three Marines came knocking. "I knew the moment I answered that door my daughter was gone.  I just knew," she says. 

Casey had been killed along with three other Marines when a missile struck their Humvee. 

Casey had goals for her return home.  She planned to study nursing in San Diego County, California.  And she was to marry a fellow Marine in September. 

But first, Casanova wanted to make a difference in Iraq...for a woman, a child, anyone suffering in the war. 

"This was for the glory of God for Casey.  To help people," Paula says.  "Casey was there so we could be here doing what we're doing right now.  I have nothing but the utmost respect and honor for my daughter.  She was the best thing I did in my whole life."

Lance Corporal Casanova's body is scheduled to arrive at the McComb Airport at 1:50 Thursday afternoon.  Visitation will take place at New Heights Baptist Church in Summit on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.  A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. 

The family is asking the McComb and Summit communities to hang yellow and black bows.

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