New Hampshire welcomes home fallen Marine pilot, Capt. Jack Casey

Everyone in attendance shared a similar stone-cold look on their faces. Some shed tears as the hearse rolled by.
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U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jack Casey's funeral procession
A somber moment as U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jack Casey's funeral procession rolled by a group of first responders and locals showing their support. (Joshua Skovlund/Task & Purpose).

DOVER, N.H. — After arriving outside Tendercrop Farm, I noticed how unusually quiet the road was. The temperature was just above freezing, the air crisp with an occasional gust of wind on an otherwise nice winter day in New Hampshire. A red and white fire truck gleamed in the bright sun, its ladder extended with an American flag suspended from the end. Firefighters stood nearby as they waited to pay their final respects to Capt. Jack Casey, a local who grew up in Dover. We all waited for the solemn procession taking him home one last time.

Casey, along with five other Marines, died when their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed on Feb. 6 in California. They were flying from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California during a routine training flight. After they did not arrive on time, their CH-53E helicopter was reported missing but was later located off the coast of Pine Valley, California. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. 

Durham Fire Department firefighters and a local man salute fallen Marine pilot, Capt. Jack Casey’s procession as it drove by. (Joshua Skovlund/Task & Purpose)

Casey was commissioned in the Marine Corps in May 2019 and was promoted to captain in September 2023. For hundreds from his hometown community, he wasn’t just another face in the news after a tragic accident. They, along with many local and state first responders, lined up along more than 15 miles of road and highway to pay their respects to the fallen pilot.  

An elderly couple stood next to me, each holding a small American flag like what you’d see at a 4th of July celebration. They didn’t know Casey, but they said it hit home to know one of their local heroes was coming home in a casket. Another person talked about how they were recently laid off but took time away from their job search to come out and show their support. It’s times like this that the realities of the dangerous work we ask our men and women in uniform to take on reach even the most quiet corners of America. 

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A plane-side memorial service was held at 11:30 a.m. at Pease Air Force Base before the procession headed north, weaving through Casey’s old stomping grounds, passing by local schools he attended while growing up.

Several helicopters could be heard thundering toward the farm, signaling the procession was close. It was easy to see them coming, with the emergency lights activated on over 20 police squad cars and motorcycles. Several personal vehicles of family and friends were following along, all with the same mission of escorting Casey’s casket. 

Police squad cars and motorcycles escorted Capt. Jack Casey’s hearse throughout the entire route. (Joshua Skovlund/Task & Purpose)

Casey is survived by his wife, Emma Lindberg of Shepherdstown, West Virginia; his mother, Catherine Casey of Dover; his father, James Casey of Andover, Maine; and his siblings, James Casey, Patrick Casey, Sean Casey, and Catherine Casey.

Four firefighters and a bystander raised their right arms to render a salute as Casey’s procession approached. Everyone in attendance shared a similar stone-cold look on their faces. Some shed tears as the hearse rolled by. The heartbreak was palpable in the moment. 

This wasn’t the only spot where people gathered to show their support; they were spread out along the entire route. The bystanders bundled up and took on the cold weather along roadways and parking lots — all to welcome Casey home. It was humbling to see such a strong show of support for a fallen Marine, even after over two decades of continuous war that has numbed much of the American public to such tragedies. 

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