Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Casey Crate

26, of Spanaway, Washington.
Crate died in the crash of an Iraqi air force aircraft during a training mission in eastern Diyala province. He was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Died on May 30, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Air Force Staff Sgt. Casey Crate.

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"Casey will forever remain in our hearts,haveing gone to Arlington and Hulburt field to the memorials of other fallen CC's our familys' hearts ache for our sister and other family's we have come to know though this time in our lives. It was a great honor to have him as a nephew and to know him though his short life. Rest in peace Casey. Love the Robert Rukke family"
R.A.Rukke of Spokane Valley, Wa.

"Today I walked in Casey's honor here in Lexington Kentucky. We had a fallen hero's run and walk and I opened the book and Casey came to me. Pinned to my shirt his name was thought of sincerely under a clear blue sky.thank you of your service you are not forgotten.
His name pinned I walked"
Heidi Elchuk of Lexington Ky

"I love you Casey. I will never forget you. You are my son who forever lives in my heart."
Your other Mom of Spanaway, WA

"I served with Casey in Iraq. I was there when they brought his body to Balad Air Base to begin his long trip home. I particpated in the Patriot ceremony that paid tribute to him and his comrades who perished in the crash. This is tough for me because I was there and was intimately involved in the details. Against protocol, I snapped a picture at the Patriot ceremony of the 4 caskets loaded on the C-141 for the trip to Dover AFB. The image that sticks in my mind the most is of his unit chaplain and his commander weeping while kneeling beside the 4 coffins. I am now serving in the ministry counselling military members returning from combat. To Casey's family...I have never forgotten him or the day he left Iraq with his comrades."
Terry Hayes of Kenly, NC

"To the family of:Casey Crate
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga""

"CASEY,
5 YEARS AGO, WE LOST YOU AND WE MISS YOU, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DID FOR OUR COUNTRY.

CYNTHIA AND SSGT RANDY SMITH"
CYNTHIA SMITH of HURLBURT FIELD, FLORIDA

"May 30, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Casey Crate:
Casey gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"To the family and friends of Air Force Staff Sergeant Casey Crate,

We have received a flag that was flown in memory of Casey at The Healing Field in Cathedral City, CA on Sept. 11, 2006. We will proudly fly this flag for every Federal holiday in memory of Casey. In reading what family and friends have written about him, we are sorry we never got the chance to meet such an incredible man who fought for our freedom. As an Army brat, what our men and women so bravely and proudly do for our freedom, hits close to home and we thank those who fight for what we have today."
The Boffa Family of Cathedral City, CA

"My husband, Jay, and I worked with Casey on the flightline at Hurlburt for almost 2 years. The last time we saw Casey was at AJ's in Destin, FL a month or so before he deployed to Iraq. It was his first deployment as a combat controller and he was so excited.

I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it broke our hearts when we heard the news. Casey didn't have to be there, I believe he was there because he wanted to be there. I think he believed in what he was doing. He could have gotten out when his first enlistment was up, but he stayed in.

All of you who have said how great of a guy Casey is, you all are so right.

To Casey's mother, nothing anyone can ever say or do will take away the pain. But I hope you know that you raised a wonderful man. I hope that you are so proud of him. Always remember that there are people in this world who share in your grief."
Ssgt Danielle Santos of 161 ARW Phoenix, AZ

"I was in a wedding with Casey when I was 5 and Casey was 9. I told Casey that I was going to marry him one day. Little did I know that our lives would parallel each other. Casey went to Spanaway High, I went to Bethel. Casey then attended Pierce College and I have done the same. He then enlisted in the Air Force to work on airplanes. I went into the Army National Guard to work on helicopters. As luck would have it, while Casey was in training in 2003, he ended up being taught by the groom of the wedding we were in. He then called up the mother-in-law of that groom who is friends with Linda and with my mom. I got Caseys number and we decided to meet up. I ended up spending New Years of 2003 with Casey. It was great to have seen him after all these years. It made my year even better, since I had just arrived home about 3 months earlier from my AIT. I will never forget Casey. He is my hero and my best friend. I will always love Casey with all my heart."
Cynthia of Graham, WA

"Casey grew up down the street from me so we happened to attend the same schools starting in grade school.
He was a couple of years behind me in age, but I remember his presence well as he was always positive, trustworthy and kind.
EVERYONE liked Casey.
As high school kids I recall on numerous occasions driving passed his house and he would take a break from fine-tuning his '65 Impala to wave.
Casey is one of the few people that I knew with a natural ability to make people feel comfortable and accepted.
Casey, you are gone for now, but not forgotten my friend.
Thank you for your service from all of us at the Worthy household...and future generations.
God bless."
G.J.Worthy of Federal Way, WA

"I taught SSgt Crate PME at Hurlburt Field. He was our class leader and a very solid NCO. His charecter was as infallible as his love for the Air Force! He always took care of the other students and never left an Airmen behind. I constantly use SSgt Crate's example of selfless patriotism to train the AIr Force's newest Airmen. My deepest condolence to the Crate family."
M.P. of VAFB

"casey,
I remember when i first met you in school you were so happy to share with every one that you and your friends were in low-ryder. I will always remember and cherish the time we shared together and our talks on the phone;) I will truly miss you old friend. although i only knew you for those few years that we were in shcool you left a lasting impresion in my life and how i view people. you were always so kind and never had anything bad to say about any one, you are the only person i knew that always kept a smile on your face and a laugh waiting to come out. you were my hero then and you are my hero now. i will miss you friend."
meme page- taylor of chicago,il

"Casey-you were honestly one of the kindest, most fun loving guys that I ever met...you had such an amazing heart...thank you for everything...i will never forget you."
Sonia of Niceville, Florida

"To Casey's family,
We shared Airmen Leadership School at Hurlburt FLD, FL. He made a lasting impression on many lives and we all will miss him."
Ssgt Patrick Majesky of Fort Walton Beach, FL

"Sergeant Crate, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"I knew Casey from high school and I was saddened to hear about his passing. My heart goes out to his mother, Joey, and everyone who knew him well. I'm just sorry that I didn't get to know him better. He will be with you all always. I can't thank him enough for the sacrifice that he and many others have made for myself and my children. They are true heroes!!!"
Paula Koga (Garcia) of RAF Mildenhall, England

"Casey - i remember seeing you in the halls of spanaway lake, we had a class or two together ... never talked but we acknowledge eachother with the occasional 'hey' or 'wassup'. even though i didn't know you well my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. i'm proud of what you did here you are greatly missed. i know your looking down on us from up there now ... but i can see u by just reading all the messages how much you've grown over the years, how much you've done for yourself and for our homeland. proud of you and miss you.
On behalf of myself, Leilani Luii, Marisol and Camillo Ortega, Amber Campadore and others. Our prayers go out to you and your family."
Leilani Luii of Spanaway, Washington USA

"Sergeant Crate was one of the first CCTs i met on my arrival to Hurlburt, and left a lasting impresssion on me as a true Airman and soldier. His endless optimism and ability to laugh, even under duress, gave me the courage and inspiration I needed as green airman. Happy trails sir."
A1C Kyle Hattemar of Columbia, MO USA

"Casey, you will be truly missed by all of us in Fort Wlaton Beach Florida. I know that you personally touched a lot of lives and from reading all of these I know we aren't the only ones. You were brave and you will always be a hero

Jennifer and Tyler Wilson, Jennifer and Tadd Miller, Courtney Barrett, Jamilee Randolph"
Jennifer Wilson of Fort Walton Beach, FL

""A Nations Hero"
I knew Casey since I was just a little guy growing up in Spanaway, Wa. He was my older brother "Joey's" best friend. For those of you that really know him, just remember his unordinary laugh. His laugh can give you a distinct reminder of all the good times that you have had...He is a true reflection of one of our Nations Heroes. Casey will be missed and will always be remembered..."
Reynaldo and Brittany Rios of Davis Monthan AFB, Az

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio

"I knew Casey when I was stationed at Hurlburt Field, FL. He was always the one to cut a joke; you could say the shop clown or prankster. I remember when we deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom and the way he would always keep everyone’s spirits high, by telling a joke or letting one rip, and then laugh with his very distinct laugh, the one you could recognized from a mile away. He brought out the best in people, and was always there when you needed someone to talk to. He will be missed, very much.
War buddies"
SSgt Floyd A. Jenkins of Mountain Home AFB, ID

"I knew Casey's father Arthur (Rocky) Crate DVM in Spanaway, WA. And I watched Casey grow up. Casey's father preceeded him in death, having had cancer. Rocky would have been very proud of his son for serving in our armed forces. They are together again."
Kris Hart of Yelm, Washington

"Casey and his friend Kevin use to live across the street from two of my best friends. We all hung out and partied with him. My friend Rhonda had a huge crush and thought he was just the greatest. Casey and I always picked on each other and joked around. He was a good guy, always funny and playful. I called both girls the day I found out that he was killed and we shared memories that we had of Casey. I think we are all still in shock. Rhonda had not seen Casey in over 5 years, but had just had a dream about him a few nights before... Casey will be missed. I am also in the military. I see the military as one great big journey and one of the greatest things about that journey is the people that you meet along the way. Somtimes they come back into your lives, and sometimes they are gone forever, but their memories will always remain......"
Chris of RAF Lakenheath, England

"Casey was the first person I met at Hurlburt Field. He was a tremendous individual who always had time for anyone. I enjoyed the good times and we will always share the title of Bodysurfing Champ of the Fort Walton Beach area. Thanks for the memories buddy."
Matt Martin of Frankfort, KY

"I worked with Casey for 4 years before he become a combat controller. I worked avionics with him at Hurlburt Field on the Talons. I remember lots of good times at work with him."
Rodney Berubee of Spokane WA

"Casey, I still hear your voice; I see your face like your standing in front of me. You were such a great person. Always bringing a smile to my face; I hate the fact that I didn't get the chance to see you or to tell you that i miss you. Now i miss you even more... I will always cherish the memories we had. Until we meet again. Keep Smiling."
Flavia Guerrero of Graham, Wa

"Not a moment goes by that I don't think of Casey. I loved him more than anything in this world. I hope to one day be able to simply remember all of our wonderful times instead of constantly missing the sound of his voice. I thank God that I was able to talk to him only a few days prior to the accident. Casey will always be remembered by all he touched with his big heart and big smile. He will always have my heart"
Lori Toscano of Baltimore, MD

"To Casey's family,
I was very fortunate to have met Casey in Afghanistan just a few short months ago. He is the most wonderful person I have ever met and his smile would light up a room. He will always be my hero and hold a special place in my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you."
SSgt Jennifer Strohbeen of Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, SD

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Casey will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"My Cousin Casey
A sign of strength and honor not only to his profession, but also to his loved ones. All of us that have been touched by his love, humor, kindness, and dedication are so lucky to know such a simply perfect person. My heart truly aches with sadness and is soothed as I see Casey smiling at me. I salute my cousin for his passion and bravery and thank him for many years of that great big "Casey Smile" !!!!!"
JoElle Nadasky of Tacoma, WA USA

"6/3/05
To Casey's family,
We know your pain, and wish to express our deep sorrow for your loss. Casey is truly a hero and will be known forever for bravery and willingness to protect our great nation. We pray every day for the families of lost soldiers. God bless and keep you.
'My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit;
God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.' Ps 51:19"
Webster and Ruth Reed (Father and stepmom of Jonathan Ray Reed who died in Iraq on January 28, 2005) of Krotz Springs, Louisiana

"To The Crate Family,
Casey will be deeply missed and never forgotten. I am very proud to have known him well."
Vanessa Serrano-Flaherty of Spanaway, WA

"TO THE CRATE FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. WE ARE DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE LOST OF CASEY. WE LOST OUR SON LAST DAY. AN OUR HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH CASEY AND YOUR FAMILY! CASEY YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN EVER! THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING AMERICA AGAINST TERRORISM AND GIVEN THOSE IN IRAQ A NEW BEGINNING. CASEY YOU HAVE TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF SO MANY. THOSE IN THE AIR FORCE FAMILY ARE SADDEN AND VERY MUCH PROUD OF YOUR SERVICE CASEY. NOT MANY AMERICA'S WILLING TO DO YOU JOB! AN CASEY IT'S A JOB YOU ENJOYED. MY HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY. GOD BLESS!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"Thank you Casey Crate, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Casey Crate:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Casey for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Casey Crate:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Casey, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on