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Homecoming C


Casey's


After four deployments as a U.S. Army Ranger, 29-year-old defenseman Casey Carroll feels lucky to be a Blue Devil again


By Corey McLaughlin


asey Carroll would rather it not be about him. Plenty of Army Rangers and other military personnel continue to put their lives at stake in Iraq or Afghanistan or somewhere else where there’s a threat to the U.S. And there are 43 other members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team, he said, that deserve their time in the spotlight. It’s hard to realize the weight your story carries when you are living it, but as Blue Devils defenseman Henry Lobb said, “I’ve never heard of a story like it in college athletics.” At 29 years old, Carroll is a sixth-year, redshirt senior defenseman at Duke. With four Middle East deployments behind him, a wife and two kids at home, two season-ending knee injuries and a two-year graduate business degree nearly complete, he’s not exactly a college kid. “I’m incredibly grateful that I’m able to do all these things because of the guys that are still serving overseas,” Carroll said. “A lot of attention will be thrown at me, and people will thank me for my service, but it’s hard for me to hear that and not automatically think about all the people who are still serving, in all the units.”


Being the kind of humble and thoughtful person he is — “He’s got all the qualities you want in person you’re around on a daily basis,” Duke coach John Danowski said — Carroll also doesn’t want to be dismissive of someone asking to write about him. “I’m honored that you’d take the time,” he said.


THE TURNING POINT WAS FEB. 9, 2007. Until that day, Carroll knew he wanted to serve in the military, but in what capacity: Navy, Marines or Army? His grandfather served. His father and two older brothers all were Navy men.


The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks hit home, with fi re department


service in his lineage, too, and the Carroll family residing in Baldwin on Long Island, a 45-minute train ride from the center of New York City. “I took it to heart,” Carroll said.


Carroll had a calling. But it wasn’t until he learned Jimmy Regan died that Carroll knew exactly where he wanted the response to take him. Regan, a fellow Long Island native and Duke lacrosse player from 1999-2002, was killed in Iraq while serving as a sergeant in the 75th Ranger Regiment, the most elite special operations force in the Army, a volunteer unit that, in part, has troops on the ground seeking to target known terrorists.


A Publication of US Lacrosse April 2014 >> LACROSSE MAGAZINE 51


©PEYTON WILLIAMS


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