02:46PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2012
DALTON, Mass. — Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill Wednesday afternoon to name the bridge over the Housatonic River on Route 8
after a local Marine killed in Vietnam.
The bridge that spans into Hinsdale will be named after 2nd Lt. Michael Casey Sr., a Dalton native killed in action while serving in the United State Marine Corps in 1968.
It will be named the “2nd Lt. Michael J. Casey Sr. Memorial Bridge.”
The bill was proposed by state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, and state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, and was endorsed by the Board of Selectmen and the local veterans groups.
It was passed by the House of Representatives on March 28 and the Senate on March 29.
“I am proud to have played a part in honoring Lt. Casey’s heroic service in Vietnam by securing timely passage of this legislation,” said Downing. “I look forward to Dalton’s upcoming celebration over Memorial Day weekend when the community officially designates the bridge in his memory.”
On March 18, 1968, Casey’s company was under severe attack with little ammunition. Acting quickly and bravely, he ran across 70 meters of fire-swept terrain to distribute weapons and ammunition, then carried wounded Marines out of harm’s way to the platoon’s defensive perimeter. Casey was mortally wounded by a burst of automatic weapons fire. He was 23 years old.
He was posthumously awarded one of the highest military decorations, the Navy Cross, for his sincere concern for the welfare of his comrades and extraordinary heroism.
“I am happy that we are able to celebrate Lt. Casey and recognize his supreme sacrifice in Vietnam,” said Mark. “His family has been waiting for over 40 years, and I applaud their dedication to making sure Lieutenant Casey receives the honor he deserves.”
In 2004, the Marine Reserve Training Center in Chicopee was dedicated to and named the Second Lieutenant Michael J. Casey Marine Reserve Training Center.
Patrick held a bill signing ceremony with members of Casey’s family to honor its passage.