Corporal Casey Owens USMC (Ret.) (born c. 1981 in Houston, Texas; died October 15, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado) was a United States Marine, Iraq War veteran, and paralympicathlete from Houston, Texas, United States, famed for his feats of completing marathons in a wheelchair after his legs were amputated for injuries received while on a rescue mission during the Iraq War.
Injury and Accomplishments
Corporal Owens deployed for a second tour in Al Anbar Province Iraq August 2004. On Sept. 20, 2004, while responding to a wounded Marine, his vehicle struck two anti-tank mines which resulted in severe injuries to his legs. After being airlifted to and stabilized at a Field Hospital, Owens was transferred to Landstuhl, Germany. Tragically, his injuries resulted in the amputation of his right leg above the knee and his left leg below the knee. Corporal Owens eventually returned to the United States to undergo extensive multiple surgeries and rehabilitation at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to losing both legs, his injuries included a broken jaw and collarbone, shrapnel wounds, collapsed lungs, blood clots in the lungs.
The muscle and skin flaps on his amputation stumps failed to close properly and resulted in nonhealing wounds. Corporal Owens said he subsequently underwent repeated amputations which further reduced the size of his stumps while a patient at VA and military hospitals. Through the help of several charitable organizations and private pay from his own pocket, Owens received hyperberic oxygen therapy treatment in New Orleans, Louisiana by Dr. Paul Harch MD. Owens later testified before the United States Congress in hearings regarding the poor quality of care and "bureaucratic maze" that military personnel must navigate in order to receive medical care from the VA.
After a return to college which proved unsuccessful due to Traumatic Brain Injury, Corporal Owens became an accomplished paralympian skier and marathon runner in theparalympic games.
Corporal Owens struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcohol dependence despite his many accomplishments. In 2010, he was convicted of drunk driving and began the arduous journey on the road to recovery. During a 2012 interview with CBS News’ National Security Correspondent David Martin, Owens remarked,
“I really don't think I'll ever be free. I don't think the burden of war".
U.S. Marine Corps
Interred March 23, 2015
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