Thursday, October 18, 2007
Castillo interred at Arlington National Cemetery
By Specialist. Nancy Van Derweide, Old Guard Public Affairs
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) rendered honors to a fellow Old Guard Soldier Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Staff Sergeant Luis R. Castillo, 35, died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center October 4, 2007, after a two-year battle with cancer.
A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Castillo joined the Army in 1999. He became a signal support specialist, and in 2000 was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in Kitzingen, Germany. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After completing his deployment, Castillo volunteered for the Old Guard. He arrived at Fort Myer in May 2005, and was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion; he held the position of forward signal NCO and safety NCO for his company.
Castillo was known by his fellow Soldiers as someone who took the responsibility of being a non-commissioned officer seriously.
‘‘He talked a lot about being an NCO, how much he enjoyed being a sergeant,” said Captain Jody Shouse, commander of HHC 1st Battalion. ‘‘His goal was to become a Staff Sergeant before he passed away.”
Castillo qualified for the rank, and in August 2007, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant.
As a leader, Castillo focused on being a mentor to his Soldiers, often working one-on-one with them, said Staff Sergeant Larkin Dennison, who worked with Castillo for two years. ‘‘He was a developer. He would not allow anything from anyone but their best,” he said.
Castillo was known by his leaders and peers for having a strong work ethic and a good attitude.
‘‘He was outspoken, a diligent worker. When he started something, he finished it,” said Dennison.
First Sergeant Danzell Harrell, First Sergeant of HHC 1st Battalion, spoke of how Castillo persisted in working while going through rigorous cancer treatments. ‘‘A lot of people would just be sick and not worry about work, but he kept pushing,” he said. ‘‘Even though he was sick, he could still work. I thought that was very honorable.”
‘‘He was a great Soldier — dedicated, honorable, loyal, and most of all Army Strong — fighting in Iraq and just as courageously here against cancer. He will be missed by all who knew him,” said Lieutenant Colonel Douglas DeLancey, commander of 1st Battalion.
Castillo’s dedication to the Army was matched by his commitment to his family, said Dennison. ‘‘He loved his kids. He was a big family guy.”
Castillo is survived by his wife Paola Beizaga; four children: Elisee, Dereon, Aquiles and Joseluis; his mother and stepfather Mela Zala and Manuel Zapata; brothers David Castillo, Nelson Colon, and Manuel Zapata; and two sisters, Isabel Miguel and Maite Lacey.
‘‘He was extremely concerned about his family, his children and his mother,” said Shouse.
His family and the Army had given him a full life, said Shouse. ‘‘He took a lot of pride in knowing he did his part to fight the global war on terrorism. He was a very humbling guy. He wanted everyone to know he’d lived a good life. He didn’t want pity. He had done all he could.”
‘‘Staff Sergeant Castillo was an inspiration to the Soldiers he led and those he worked with,” said DeLancey. ‘‘We are honored to have served with him and join his family in mourning his passing.”
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard