ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Minnesota residents are being asked to write letters on behalf of an enlisted Navy seaman whom supporters say is being rushed back to active duty too quickly after being severely injured in a Seal Beach docking accident.
Seaman Robert Cassell, 27, the son of Alexandria, Minn. schools superintendent George Cassell, was critically injured in an Oct. 14 mooring accident at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, but the Navy has ordered him back to limited duty Jan. 8.
The Cassells say he suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, damage to his spleen and head injuries when a mooring line attached to the railing of a tugboat and his ship, the Downes, pulled loose and broke off a piece of the railing. A 20-pound piece of steel struck Cassell in the chest.
Cassell has returned home to recuperate. The Cassells say that their son's civilian doctors say he needs at least three to six months to recover but that the Navy has refused to extend his convalescence.