Union Springs graduate wounded in Afghanistan, needs community's help

2012-07-12T03:05:00Z Union Springs graduate wounded in Afghanistan, needs community's helpKelly Voll The Citizen Auburn Citizen
July 12, 2012 3:05 am  • 

Union Springs High School graduate Kyle Casler knew he was putting himself in harm's way for his country when he joined the Army in 2009, two years after graduating.

But the reality of serious injuries that can come with military service can be devastating. Casler, a 23-year-old U.S. Army specialist, first-class,  was injured in Afghanistan on May 23.

"He was in southern Kandahar Province," said his father Mark Casler. "He was on a foot patrol ... they were securing a village to go in and meet the people in the village. ... He stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device).

Mark Casler said his son was reaching down into his pack to get a bottle of water because it was sweltering. He stepped on the 25-pound roadside bomb, and only 25 percent of it detonated. Had the whole thing blown up, Kyle Casler would be dead, his father said.

"He's just really lucky to be alive," Mark Casler said.

Kyle Casler's left foot was amputated a foot below the knee on June 7. On July 6, he took his first step with his new prosthetic limb. He walked two weeks earlier than doctors predicted, Mark Casler said.

"He beat the doctors by two weeks and a day because he's so determined," he said.

Kyle Casler, who was serving with Alpha Company 1-508 Infantry Regiment, Fourth Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, is expected to be rehabilitating for three months to a year. He is currently staying at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. with his mother, Lori Casler. Kyle Casler also has a sister, 21-year-old Mara Casler.

"He's extremely determined and he's just an all-around good kid," Mark Casler said. "He's just a good person."

Andy Rindfleisch, a friend of the Casler family, is organizing a fundraiser with another friend, Bill Heary, to help Casler.

"He's given up a lot and it just feels good to try to do something, to give something back to the kid," Rindfleisch said. "All those guys over there, no matter how you feel about the war, those guys are giving up a lot for us."

The benefit will be held Saturday, July 21, at Twin Oaks Campground and tickets can be purchased at Be Happy Cafe and Cavi's, in Union Springs. Food, live music, raffles, an auction and wine tasting will be featured to raise money and bring awareness to those who are still in harm's way overseas. All proceeds from the benefit will go to Kyle Casler.

Staff writer Kelly Voll can be reached at 282-2239 or Follow her on Twitter at CitizenVoll.

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. C-reader
    Report Abuse
    C-reader - July 12, 2012 10:51 am
    Kelly, great article, well written. Thanks!

    Kyle, thanks so much for your service and the sacrifices you have made and continue to make for our country! Your hometown community is praying for you!

    Beth Mekeel Gaston
  2. Andy
    Report Abuse
    Andy - July 12, 2012 9:32 am
    If any one is interested in sending donations, they would be greatly appreciated. Please send them to Union Springs Chamber of Commerce, P.O.Box 230, Union Springs, NY 13160.

    If you would like to come to the fund raiser - it should be a great time - please buy tickets at the Be Happy Cafe or Cavi's Pies in down town Union Springs on Route 90.

    Any help would be wonderful. I'm sure it would mean a lot to Kyle.

    Thanks, Andy
  3. TMAC
    Report Abuse
    TMAC - July 12, 2012 9:28 am
    Kyle, first of all I would like to say "Thank you" for your service. The sacrafices that our men and women in the service give on a daily basis seems to take a back seat latley to the everyday problems this country is facing, and it shouldn't. You've given alot and I'm sure coming from that "Casler"'ll continue to serve. As an old friend of your Dad's, I wish I could be there for the benefit. Good luck to you and your family and again. Thank you.

    Tim McElwain
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