Insurgents killed Army Sgt. John Paul Castro April 22 in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. He was on his third combat tour — one to Iraq, two to Afghanistan — in his less-than-seven-year career. Castro’s last mission was “a fight that occurred at distances measured in hand-grenade range, within a complex environment of walled mazes and collapsed structures during the hours of darkness,” Army Maj. Justin Reese, his battalion commander, said Tuesday. “It was within this context — closing with and destroying a determined enemy force — that Sergeant Castro gave his life.”
Castro’s company commander, Army 1st Lt. William Weber, said that while Castro knew he had been wounded in what turned out to be his final firefight, he reported he was fine. “Unbeknownst to Sergeant Castro, the injuries he sustained were more severe than he realized,” Weber said, in an American Forces Press Service dispatch. “Sergeant Castro lost his life before he realized he needed help.”
Today’s Midland Reporter-Telegram reports:
His body is scheduled to arrive at Midland International Airport at 11:16 a.m. today and will be accompanied by law enforcement to Andrews.
Residents are encouraged to line up either on Highway 176 or Main Street beginning at 12:30 p.m.
He is expected to arrive in Andrews between 12:45 and 1 p.m.
Officials said members of the Boy Scouts will be giving out hand-held American flags along Main Street.
The highly-decorated (Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and others) 25-year old was married to Delia, and the father of two, daughter Natalia and son Kamren. “His love of his children went above and beyond, and was the strongest of any man who’s ever been graced to walk the Earth,” said Army Spec. Joseph Rhodes, a 101st Airborne comrade.
For what it’s worth, he died on Good Friday. Godspeed, Sgt. Castro.