Soldier Honored: Jesse J.J. Castro
Branch of Service: Army
Sergeant Jesse “J.J.” Castro, 22, of Chalan Pago, Guam, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On November 6, 2006, Sgt. Castro was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while on patrol in Hawijah, Iraq.
A 2003 graduate of Evangelical Christian Academy, Sgt. Castro enlisted in the Army later that year. After friends and family recounted their memories of the soldier, his widow stood to read a letter he had written to his mother while on his first tour of duty to Iraq. Sgt. Castro wrote of an evening full of mortar attacks, where he helped move six children to safety. With tears in her eyes and a quiver in her voice, his wife read her husband's words describing picking up a sleeping 2-year-old girl. "She woke up, looked at me, hugged me and went right back to sleep," she read. "At that point I realized there's a reason for me being here. My heart crumbled for those little ones that I can't do anything for." Sgt. Castro was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrifice.
His passion for mixed martial arts was remarkable and only equaled by his skill and success in the sport, all of which will forever be remembered by his fellow fighters, but especially by those who faced him in the ring.
Sgt. Castro’s son is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.