From La Vernia to Fort Liberty

Abner Casiano becomes Ranger combat medic


La Vernia alumnus Abner Casiano is now a U.S. Army combat medic with the 75th Ranger Regiment. ABNER CASIANO FAMILY

La Vernia alumnus Abner Casiano is now a U.S. Army combat medic with the 75th Ranger Regiment. ABNER CASIANO FAMILY

Inspired by the support of his family, 2022 La Vernia High School graduate Abner Casiano has become a U.S. Army combat medic with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

His parents, Matthew Schupp and Sheila Casiano, both military veterans, and younger brother, Adiel, 12, couldn’t be more proud.

“We 100-percent support Abner’s decision to join the military and shoot for the moon with some of the toughest training he can do,” said his dad.

The 19-year-old was better prepared than some for Army basic training, after excelling in track and cross country in La Vernia. He was the cross country district champion in 2020 and qualified for State three times. In addition, Abner was a District and Regional track qualifier, competing in the 3200 meter and 1600 meter runs — and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Though his military service has taken him away from the area, Abner has fond memories of dinners with the cross country team, trying wrestling during his senior year, and volunteering at Student Council events. He also carries with him the influence of some favorite teachers, such as Noah Recker, librarian Lauren Lankford, Paige Haas, and Coach Megan Brown.

Abner Casiano celebrates his graduation from La Vernia High School in May 2022 with (from left) his little brother, Adiel, mom Sheila, and dad Matthew. ABNER CASIANO FAMILY

Abner Casiano celebrates his graduation from La Vernia High School in May 2022 with (from left) his little brother, Adiel, mom Sheila, and dad Matthew. ABNER CASIANO FAMILY

His family’s military service led him to explore opportunities in the armed forces.

“He was raised in a military family and has always been obsessed with planes and tanks,” said his dad. “… My wife and I were both active duty Army for much of his young childhood, so he has always been around it.”

Abner’s mom is a retired major, his dad is currently a major in the Army Reserve, and both of his grandfathers spent 30-plus years in the Army National Guard.

His mom deployed twice, and “during the first deployment she found out she was pregnant with Abner, so he has already deployed!” said his dad, who deployed three times. One time, both parents were deployed at the same time, so Abner stayed behind with family.

Abner applied to the Coast Guard Academy, hoping to get into the flight program, and to the New Mexico Military Institute, which offered him a full scholarship. However, he elected to explore opportunities in the Army, instead.

“I think he was even further inspired to take the route of the Ranger Regiment because his grandfather served in Special Forces for many years and I went to the Ranger School — a bit different than joining the actual Ranger Regiment,” Schupp added.

Abner completed Army basic training in December 2022 at Fort Sill, Okla. From there, the Army sent him to advanced individual training as a combat medic specialist at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, in January of this year.

“I wanted to gain a skill set that would help me enhance my education and job opportunities outside of the Army,” Abner explained. “Also because I like to, and want to, be able to help people when they need it.”

He then went through the rigorous Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) at Fort Moore in Georgia, which he found “both mentally and physically demanding,” he said.

“While in RASP you are being trained to meet, uphold, and exceed the standard in every task that you are given, as well as [to] learn and train in order to qualify and earn certain mandatory certifications to become a part of the 75th Ranger Regiment,” Abner explained.

Throughout his training, the La Vernia alumnus has enjoyed exploring the cities his training has taken him to, and the opportunities that the Army and the non-commissioned officers who’ve mentored him have given, helping him “to become a more responsible, respectable, and disciplined worker, who is well trained and confident in his skills,” he said.

Abner will head to Fort Liberty in North Carolina (formerly Fort Bragg) in the future for more enhanced medical training.

His family and their support “drives me to become a better version of myself every day,” Abner shared. “I am also inspired by my father, mother, grandfathers, and everyone else who has served their country, as it is because of them that I had the life I grew up with, and the opportunities that I have now.”

“Never quit” is one of the new combat medic’s favorite sayings.

“My father and mother tell me all the time that as long as I give 100 percent in everything that I do and don’t quit, then — even if I fail — I will not be disappointed in my result.”

Through his endeavors, he said, he hopes “to be a smarter, stronger, and overall better man who accomplished challenging things early on in his life, so that I may look back with no regrets.”

Editor’s note: Abner’s family, after living in La Vernia for eight years, recently moved to Bulverde.