Lt. General Aloysius G. Casey (Ret.) passed away at home on June 10, 2020 from heart complications. He was comforted by his son Matt, and daughter-in-law Nancy. He was born at home in Childs, PA on March 1, 1932 (later to be determined to be actually Leap Year Day February 29, 1932) to Mary Margaret (Malia) Casey, and Joseph John Casey. He had seven brothers and sisters, and is survived by three of his sisters, Julie McGuinness, Jean Smith, and Anne Roe. He was predeceased by brothers Paul R. Casey, M.D., Lt. Joseph J. Casey, U.S.A., and sisters Sr. Rosemary T. Casey, IHM, and Catherine E. Price, R.N. He was also predeceased in 2012 by his beloved wife of 57 years Mary Patricia (Casey) Casey of Washington D.C.
Having grown up in a large Irish-American family, he learned the benefits of a strong work ethic and deep family values early in life. He graduated from Saint Rose High School (in Carbondale, PA) in 1949 with an aptitude for quantitative analysis. After completing a year at the University of Scranton, he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. At the time, graduates of West Point and the Naval Academy could elect the Air Force as an option since the Air Force Academy had not yet been founded. Upon the recommendation of his friend Jerome F. O’Malley, he chose the Air Force and was commissioned in 1954 as a second lieutenant. After a few years of active duty working on various engineering assignments, he was assigned to navigation training and active flight duty in a nuclear-armed B-47 bomber. He flew on alert status as a part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the cold war. Subsequently, he received an appointment to attend the Air Force Institute of
Technology, completing a Masters of Science degree in astronautics. He was a professional engineer, licensed in aeronautics. With this technical training he began a 34-year career alternating between assignments in space and missile development, and active flight duty. He completed a tour of combat-duty in Vietnam as a member of the flight crew of the AC-119K night-flying gunship. In all he flew 130 “blacked out” combat missions conducting road interdiction as the navigator in this side-firing gunship.
In missile development, he worked on various rocket-development programs for the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and led the full-scale development of the Peacekeeper missile as the MX program manager. As commander of the Air Force Space Division in Los Angeles, he was responsible for research, design, development, acquisition of space launch’s, command and control, and satellite systems. He was called upon by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to provide testimony relative to the Space Shuttle Columbia accident review board. He was involved in several airplane developments including the B-1 bomber, and the A-10 “Warthog.”
General Casey was a master navigator with more than 3,000 flying hours, and wore the Master Missile Badge. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster. He was awarded the 1984 Dr. Theodore Von Karman Award for his contributions to science and engineering, and he received the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award for his outstanding management of key Air Force missile programs. Upon retirement from the Air Force (1988), he continued working by accepting a position as chairman of National Technical System (NTS) an aerospace testing company and as a member of the Slay Group which provided technical services to the aerospace industry.
Having left the rigors of the military life behind, he and Patricia spent summers at their cabin in Northeast Pennsylvania on Lake Wallenpaupack. They were able to spend these latter years participating in the lives of their grandchildren on both coasts. General Casey is survived by three sons: Matthew P. Casey (Yucaipa, CA), Joseph G. and Donna L. Casey (Chester Springs, PA), and Patrick A. and Nancy R. Casey (Archbald, PA); and 9 grandchildren: Chelsea Farren, Rosemary Lapowski, Dylan Casey, Tara Maginnis, Eileen Casey, Shannon Casey, Erin Casey, Sarah Bloom, and Piper Casey. He and Patricia also have 4 great-grandchildren: David, Nick and Kirsten Bloom, and Dottie Lou Farren; and three step-grandchildren Brandon Nazario, Alana Negroni and Caleb Nazario; and step-great grandchildren Raiden Nazario, Quinn Negroni and Colt Nazario. He put the same effort into being a grandfather as he did his work. Annually, he designed treasure hunts involving clues based in geography, math, science, and history for the grandchildren.
At his winter home in Redlands and his summer home in Tafton, General Casey was an active cyclist and runner. He maintained a membership in the local bicycle club, the Redlands Water Bottle Transit Co., and he cycled every Saturday, from Stell’s Coffee in Redlands to East Coast Bagel in Riverside. The ride was dubbed the “Al Casey” ride by the Club. After riding it this year on February 29, 2020, Leap Year Day, the RWBTC Club treated him to a cake and ice cream for his “twenty-second birthday” at Tuscano’s Pizza and Pasta in Yucaipa, CA. When in California, he frequently ran with the Loma Linda Lopers, and over his lifetime he logged thousands of miles on his bicycle, and completed 113 marathons.
General Casey devoted his life to his wife, his family and his country. Among his personal papers was a quote from Goodbye, Mr. Chips: “In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset; at the moment in my life when the night is due. And the question I shall ask only I can answer. Was I brave and strong and true? And did I fill the world with love my whole life through?”
General Casey will have a service at the Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer on Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 8:45 a.m. with interment following at Arlington National Cemetery.
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