Local soldier awarded Purple Heart

Published 12:07 pm Friday, March 26, 2010

Casey Morrison’s stint in Afghanistan wasn’t long but it was certainly storied and valiant.

Morrison, a 2005 graduate of Demopolis High School, joined the U.S. Navy in October 2006 and underwent corpsman training.

A Hospital Corpsman is frequently the only medical care-giver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. Hospital Corpsmen serve as enlisted medical specialists for the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment.

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Ironically, Morrison – who had undergone extensive training on how to treat his wounded fellow soldiers – found himself in need Feb. 12.

Morrison was serving as a battlefield corpsman as part of a Marine dispatch sent to Marjah, Afghanistan Feb. 12 to suppress insurgents and secure the city who found themselves under heavy enemy fire.

“The unit he was with was ambushed,” said Morrison’s mother Connie Weaver, “and Casey got hit by an IED.”

After barely two months in enemy territory, Morrison found himself in need of multiple surgeries to remove shrapnel from his leg and to repair extensive bone and nerve damage.

“(The explosion and shrapnel) shattered his femur,” Waever said Friday from the National Navy Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Friday where Morrison is currently receiving treatment, “and the nerve damage is so severe that he has no control over his right foot.”

Weaver added that doctors expect Morrison to eventually regain 50 to 60 percent use of his foot but said it was not likely he would ever regain full function.

For his efforts and bravery, Thursday, Morrison received a surprise visitor – a Two Star General who presented Morrison with a Purple Heart.

“We had no idea,” Weaver said. “It meant a lot to Casey. He was so proud to be a soldier and to be over there with the Marines.”

Casey has currently underwent four surgeries to his leg and receives a battery of physical therapy. Weaver said it could take six to 12 months before Morrison sees any additional use of his right foot, as it would take that long for nerves to grow and heal.