- Posted May 26, 2014 by
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WWII Bomber Pilot and resident at The Barrington of Carmel Reflects on Military Service in honor of Memorial Day
“I’m not a hero,” said Casciari. “I have been very blessed and lived a wonderful life both in and out of the military. It is to the veterans who have been injured or hospitalized and truly given up so much, to whom I say, ‘Thank you,’ on days of observance like Memorial Day. I admire all who serve.”
Casciari values the life lessons he learned during his military experience including how to get along with all different kinds of people. However, the first and maybe most important lesson learned was discipline, then responsibility. After all, he was flying the planes and was held accountable for his crew. Memorial Day gives him a chance to reflect on those who served alongside him and honor the members of his crew that were lost along the way like his engineer and upper turret-gunner.
“I don’t like dwelling on the painful memories like the loss of my crew members, but it’s very important to take time to hear veteran’s stories and pay tribute to those gave their lives particularly on Memorial Day,” said Casciari. “I used to participate in Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day services a lot more when I was younger. I made sure to share with my kids what military life is about, and I’m proud of the disciplined and responsible adults they’ve become. I’ve stressed to them how thankful I am for the blessing of life and for being able to come back home from the military but made sure they also realized the sacrifices that many others had to make.”
Casciari was 20 years old when he decided to take a break from college and enlist in the Army Air Corps. His motivation was his genuine interest and fascination with aviation. He thought he would study to be an aeronautical engineer in college, but during World War II, he seized the opportunity to join the military and learn how to fly planes while serving his country.
“I enlisted because I wanted to do something I really liked, and I knew I wanted to get into aviation in some way, so I signed up with the Army Air Corps,” said Casciari. “I was the airplane commander of a crew of nine other men for what was at the time the largest plane the Air Corps had – a four-engine B-24 bomber.”
Casciari did his training in the south and earned his wings in Columbus, Mississippi. He was part of the Fifth Air Force (5 AF), a USAAC combat numbered Air Force in the Pacific Theater during WWII which is now the oldest continuously serving Numbered Air Force. Casciari started his tour in New Guinea, then the Philippines and was in Okinawa by the time the war ended. He served four years total in the military until he was discharged in July 1946.
“After the war ended, I served another six months in the occupation forces flying C-47s,” said Casciari.
Casciari feels that being able to see the war come to an end was the best memory he has associated with his military service overall. He went on to complete his degree in 1949 under the GI bill and became an industrial engineer retiring after a long successful career with the Carrier Corporation. He continues to keep in touch with those of his crewmembers who survived WWII with him. Of their 10-member crew, three are left. Casciari still enjoys checking in with his Navigator who is in Florida and his Bombardier who now lives in Idaho.
“We here at The Barrington are so grateful to men like Ray Casciari who devoted their time to serve our nation, and we esteem those who gave their lives doing so,” said Troy Cannaday, executive director of The Barrington of Carmel. “It is so important to hear from men like him about the experiences our veterans had because they are living pieces of history, and their stories deserve to be told.”
The Barrington of Carmel will be taking a group of residents to the City of Carmel’s Memorial Day service on Friday, May 23, to give them a chance to pause and pay tribute together. Also The Barrington is in the process of organizing a veteran’s club at the community for all resident veterans to join.
ABOUT THE BARRINGTON OF CARMEL
Situated on a 19-acre campus on Guilford Road off 116th Street, The Barrington began its phased opening in November 2013. It features 134 maintenance-free, independent living apartment homes and embraces the wellness-minded attitude of today’s older adults. The community provides a variety of services and amenities, including fine dining, a bistro, fitness and wellness centers, creative arts studio, salon and spa, library, housekeeping, scheduled transportation and more.
In addition to the resort-style independent living residences, The Plaza at The Barrington provides a full range of health care services for an onsite continuum of care. Care levels include assisted living, memory support and private skilled nursing. The phased opening for The Plaza began in February.
The Barrington of Carmel is sponsored by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation. Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC) is a not-for-profit organization that sponsors and operates the life care communities of Edgemere (Dallas), Querencia at Barton Creek (Austin), The Buckingham (Houston), Mirador (Corpus Christi), and The Stayton at Museum Way (Fort Worth).
For more information about The Barrington of Carmel, visit www.TheBarringtonofCarmel.org or call 317-810-1822.
For more information about SQLC, visit www.SQLC.org.