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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Aug. 24, 2023

From Highschool Pals to Hometown Heroes: Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers Story of Friendship

By Sgt. Reece Heck, Oklahoma National Guard

In a heartwarming display of camaraderie, two Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers and McLoud, Oklahoma High School graduates have found themselves side by side once again, this time on a mission assisting the State of Texas with security along the US-Mexico border.

Sgt. Sean Simpson and Spc. Darrell Casey, both serving as cannon crewmembers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, have shared a journey that goes far beyond military service.

Soldiers tend to form bonds through military service together, but for Simpson and Casey, it’s a bond that goes even deeper due to their shared history.

"In the military, there is a common brotherhood, and with Specialist Casey and I, it goes a little deeper since we knew each other in high school," Simpson said.

From their initial encounter in high school, through enlisting together, enduring basic training and advanced individual training side by side, to being part of the same unit and embarking on state active duty missions, Simpson said their journey has been nothing short of remarkable.

"It's pretty surreal knowing that I’m truly here with one of my brothers and we’re helping together," Simpson said. "That’s something that if you asked me ten years ago when we met, I would have never thought we’d be in this position right now and be able to make this kind of impact."

Their bond has not only withstood the test of time but has also provided them with immense personal growth and mutual support.

"I’m really excited for him and his growth. I’m glad that I’ve been a pivotal point in his personal development, and he’s absolutely done the same for me," Simpson said.

For Casey, Simpson's influence played a significant role in his decision to join the National Guard.

"He definitely was a big influence with me joining the Guard. He did a really good job breaking down the pros and cons to me and the difference we could make," Casey reveals.

Casey has also been able to tap into Simpson's extensive knowledge and experience, making their partnership even more impactful.

"He’s a very smart individual. He has tons of experience in a lot of different areas," Spc. Casey said.

Within the last year, Simpson gave Casey the one of the highest honors any friend can receive – asking him to be the best man at his wedding.

As they continue their journey, both soldiers acknowledge the ongoing impact of their camaraderie.

"He’s helped me so much through life, through every up, every down,” Casey said. “He’s going to continue to be great.”

The story of Sean Simpson and Darrell Casey serves as a testament to the power of friendship, shared experiences, and mutual support, demonstrating that even in the most challenging circumstances, the bond between high school pals can evolve into an alliance that makes a meaningful difference.
Video by Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa
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