PDA

View Full Version : CPT Ivan Castro


Dan
04-14-2008, 12:48
Capt. Ivan Castro, a 7th SFG(A) Soldier, is promoted by Adm. Eric Olson, USSOCOM commander, April 10 at Fort Bragg, N.C. Castro, a former Special Forces weapons sergeant with 7th SFG(A), lost his sight during combat operations in September 2006 while serving in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Div.

CoLawman
04-14-2008, 22:21
http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=56881&archive=true

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, October 8, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — Running the Army Ten-Miler in 1 hour, 25 minutes is a solid, respectable time, particularly for a 40-year-old man. That’s a pace of 8:50, or just under 9-minute miles, certainly faster and longer than the average Joe can move. Not bad. Not bad at all.

For 1st Lt. Ivan Castro, running the Army Ten-Miler in 1:25 is pretty incredible.

Running it at all is a miracle.

To begin with, Castro, a former weapons sergeant in the 7th Special Forces Group with 17 years of military service, is totally blind.

He suffered multiple wounds, including the loss of his right eye, the loss of sight in his left eye, and his right index finger, in Iraq in September 2006, after a mortar hit the rooftop where he was providing fire support during a battle with insurgents.

Only 12 months ago, doctors questioned whether Castro would make it through another week, much less back into the Army, he said.

“This time last year, I was in bed in a hospital,” said Castro, who had tubes everywhere, a filter in his heart, monitors hooked up to anything that could be monitored, and a nerve block surgically installed to control pain so severe, the drugs necessary to control it would have left the soldier close to a coma.

But Castro himself had no questions.

There, in that hospital bed, he said, he set himself two goals to achieve within a year: run the Ten-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon.

Castro traveled to the Washington, D.C., Ten-Miler from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he remains on active duty.

At Bragg, Castro trained for his two races with Maj. Phil Young, who was Castro’s team leader in the Special Forces.

Castro runs tethered to Young using two white shoelaces tied together. Young calls “audibles” as they move, warning Castro of possible hazards. But most of the guiding is done with the string, the men said.

“He was trained [in the Special Forces] to improvise, adapt and overcome,” his wife, Evelyn Galvis, said. “That’s what he’s done, and what he’s going to keep doing.”

With one race down, Castro said he is now focused on running the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, he also has a new goal for the Ten-Miler: To come back next year, “and make [my time] even faster.”

Dan
04-15-2008, 05:39
Good story to add to the topic; thanks for posting it CoLawman.

Admiral Olson also took time to run with CPT Castro the day of the promotion.

The Reaper
04-15-2008, 09:45
A buddy of mine rides a bike with Ivan.

He puts him on the back of a tandem, and makes him the pusher. He said that Ivan never quits, and asked the other day when he could drive. According to the friend, the best thing is that Ivan pedals strongly enough to carry him as well, so he can take breaks whenever he wants. :D

They did a ride/run last year, I think from Atlanta to Tampa, where Ivan met ADM Olsen.

Good man, has a lot of heart.

TR

Razor
04-15-2008, 10:08
That guy has iron will. Is he still on active duty because he's waiting for the med board to make a PDRL determination?

Dan
04-23-2008, 09:39
Capt. Ivan Castro (left), 7th Special Forces Group, runs tethered in the 112th Boston Marathon. Castro, who lost his eyesight after an IED explosion in Iraq, finished the race in 4 hours, 9 minutes. (U.S. Army photo by Gillian M. Albro, USASOC PAO)

SF_BHT
04-23-2008, 10:06
He is an Outstanding Individual and an Inspiration to all.

jbour13
04-23-2008, 10:44
True inspiration......any whiners out there still.

Guy
04-23-2008, 10:48
He is an Outstanding Individual and an Inspiration to all.Good job CPT!:lifter

Stay safe.

NousDefionsDoc
04-23-2008, 11:06
Next MFer I hear sniveling about how hard training is, I'm punching in the neck.

DOL

Guy
04-23-2008, 11:18
Next MFer I hear sniveling about how hard training is, I'm punching in the neck.

DOLI have a former "construction" foremen in the pipeline; you know why he does NOT post here?

I'LL KILL HIM! He should be contacting TS in the next couple of weeks for shooting instructions since he just graduated 68W course and his moving too AZ....:eek:

Stay safe.

SF_BHT
04-23-2008, 11:23
I have a former "construction" foremen in the pipeline; you know why he does NOT post here?

I'LL KILL HIM! He should be contacting TS in the next couple of weeks for shooting instructions since he just graduated 68W course and his moving too AZ....:eek:

Stay safe.

So tell us what you really think of him:munchin
I think you are holding back a little.:rolleyes:

Guy
04-23-2008, 11:45
So tell us what you really think of him:munchin
I think you are holding back a little.:rolleyes:He actually told me...he got more sleep in training than he did working for me.:D

Stay safe.

SF_BHT
04-23-2008, 11:57
He actually told me...he got more sleep in training than he did working for me.:D

Stay safe.

He might need a little special attention when he gets his training....:munchin

Guy
04-23-2008, 12:07
He might need a littl special attention when he gets his training....:munchinI've already issued him a WARNORD about TS!:eek:

I'll see if he makes contact!

DRIVE ON CPT!:lifter

Stay safe.

echoes
04-23-2008, 17:23
Capt. Ivan Castro, a 7th SFG(A) Soldier, is promoted by Adm. Eric Olson, USSOCOM commander, April 10 at Fort Bragg, N.C. Castro, a former Special Forces weapons sergeant with 7th SFG(A), lost his sight during combat operations in September 2006 while serving in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Div.

Outstanding individual!!! What an inspiration, and true testament of the SF Motto:
"Never Quit! Never Give Up!"

Holly & Sis

Dan
04-23-2008, 20:22
....true testament of the SF Motto:
"Never Quit! Never Give Up!"

Don't know where you came up with that, but the SF motto is "De Oppresso Liber"

SF_BHT
04-24-2008, 08:26
If any one needs to know the Official Mottos of Army Units Go Here.

http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/TIOH_Extras/ARMYMOTTOES2.htm

This is from the DOD Army "THE INSTITUTE OF HERALDRY"

You and also go to :
http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/

and here you can get the official info for any Army unit.

Back to the thread;)

RB
04-28-2008, 09:46
Congrats out to Cpt Castro and all those who train with him!!

Awe inspiring work/life from a true QP........

DSC Fort Bragg - Brendan and Cpt Castro:

Sweetbriar
06-30-2008, 09:11
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,373592,00.html

"Castro's unit commander said his is no charity assignment. Rather it draws on his experience as a Special Forces team member and platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division.

"The only reason that anyone serves with 7th Special Forces Group is if they have real talents," said Col. Sean Mulholland. "We don't treat (Castro) as a public affairs or a recruiting tool.""

""I will fight for Ivan as long as Ivan wants to be in the Army," Mulholland said."

Gypsy
06-30-2008, 13:13
A true inspiration to all...amazing Man.

Counsel
07-02-2008, 14:51
We sleep safe at night because men like Capt. Castro are protecting us.

Por Kevin Maurer / Prensa Asociada
http://www.elnuevodia.com/diario/noticia/portada/noticias/con_los_ojos_del_alma/425763

Fort Bragg, Carolina del Norte -

Cuando el capitán boricua Iván Castro ingresó al Ejército de Estados Unidos, estableció sus metas: saltar de aviones, derrumbar obstáculos y guiar a los soldados en combate. Las alcanzó todas. Entonces, un disparo de mortero cayó a cinco pies de donde estaba parado y le robó la vista en el acto.

“Cuando eres ciego, tienes que ponerte nuevas metas”, dice Castro.

"Cuando eres ciego, tienes que ponerte nuevas metas. En las Fuerzas Especiales uno debe ir por encima y más allá aún de lo que se le ordena... quiero ser tratado de la misma manera que los otros oficiales. Nunca he deseado que sientan lástima de mí y menos aun que se me dé algo que no me merezca”.

Y las puso más altas. No conforme con simplemente permanecer en el Ejército, él es el único oficial invidente activo en las Fuerzas Especiales, el pequeño y célebre grupo elite, famoso por sus incursiones detrás de las líneas enemigas en misiones de combate.

Como oficial ejecutivo en el centro de mando del 7mo. Grupo de las Fuerzas Especiales, las responsabilidades de Castro no lo colocan directamente en la línea de combate, sin embargo, lo llevan a tomar parte en prácticamente todo lo que desemboca en ello.

“Voy a llevar esto hasta el límite”, dice este puertorriqueño de 40 años. “Yo no deseo ir a Fort Bragg y simplemente sentarme en una oficina. Quiero trabajar todos los días y estar en una misión”.

Desde el inicio de la guerra en Irak, más de 100 soldados han perdido totalmente la vista en combate y otros 247 sólo de un ojo. Sólo otros dos oficiales invidentes están en el servicio activo: un capitán que estudia para ser instructor en West Point y un instructor en el Combined Arms Center, en Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

El comandante de la unidad de Castro asevera que él no tiene una asignación por caridad, sino porque pone al servicio de la institución todas sus virtudes como miembro de las Fuerzas Especiales y como líder de pelotón con la 82da. División Aérea.

“La única razón por la que alguien sirve en el 7mo. grupo de las Fuerzas Especiales es porque realmente tiene talento”, dijo el coronel Sean Mullholland. “No utilizamos a Castro para hacer relaciones públicas o como recurso para el reclutamiento”.

La oscuridad eterna-

Veterano con experiencia de 18 años en el Ejército, Castro fue vigilante antes de completar su entrenamiento para ingresar a las Fuerzas Especiales, un aciago año que muchos soldados son incapaces de terminar.
Él se unió a las Fuerzas Especiales como sargento de armas, obtuvo una comisión oficial y fue trasladado a la 82da. División Aérea, con la esperanza de regresar como líder de grupo.

Entonces, en septiembre de 2006, su vida cambió en un tejado de Youssifiyah, Irak.

Castro había relevado a otros colegas en los altos de una casa después de una noche de combate. Nunca escuchó el estampido del mortero. Simplemente un destello y luego la oscuridad total... y eterna.
La metralla penetró por diversas partes de su cuerpo, fracturándole un brazo y el hombro. También le desgarró la parte derecha del rostro. Otros dos paracaidistas murieron.

Cuando Castro despertó seis semanas después en el Centro Médico Naval Nacional, en Bethesda, Maryland, su ojo derecho había desaparecido. Los médicos no pudieron salvar el izquierdo.

La Asociación de Veteranos Invidentes estima que 13% de todos los procedimientos de emergencia por combate en Irak han estado relacionados con heridas en los ojos y que más de la mitad de los soldados con heridas por traumas cerebrales sufren de serias deficiencias visuales. Esto las coloca como la tercera herida de guerra más común en Irak, después del Síndrome de Estrés Postraumático y las heridas cerebrales.

“Lo que él está haciendo es un gran ejemplo de que un invidente puede tener una carrera excitante y con significado”, dijo Thomas Zampieri, director de las relaciones gubernamentales de la asociación.

Después de 17 meses de recuperación, Castro buscó una asignación permanente en los servicios del Comando Especial de Operaciones, vinculado al 7mo. Grupo de las Fuerzas Especiales. Él se enfoca en tareas administrativas mientras depura el dominio del español entre los miembros, idioma de suma importancia para una unidad que regularmente es destinada a entrenar tropas sudamericanas.

“Quiero apoyar a estos chicos para hacerles la vida un poco más fácil y segura, con la idea de que puedan cumplir sus misiones”, apunta Castro.

“Obviamente él no puede hacer las mismas tareas que una persona con visión, pero Iván encontrará la manera de hacer lo que se tiene que hacer”, dijo Mullholland. “Una de las cosas que más me impresiona de él es su determinación para continuar sirviendo a su país, a pesar de todo lo que ha pasado”.

Hombre de acero-

Castro entrena regularmente en el gimnasio y corre con sus piernas musculosas y poderosas. Aunque tiene una prótesis en la cavidad ocular derecha y lleva a flor de piel la huella de la metralla en sus brazos, su desbordante personalidad eclipsa sus heridas de guerra. Nadie escapa a sus explosivos saludos, sus bromas agudas -siempre respetuosas- y su ilimitada voluntad de vivir.

Castro corrió este año en el maratón de Boston -al lado de Eric Olson, comandante del Comando Especial de Operaciones- y el año pasado estuvo en el maratón de la Marina. Él desea competir próximamente en el triatlón Ironman en Hawai y graduarse del curso avanzado de oficiales del Ejército, que adiestra a los capitanes en el arte de conducir tropas y planificar operaciones.

Mullholland dice que Castro -quien recibió la condecoración del Corazón Púrpura como otros soldados heridos en combate- siempre será parte de la familia de las Fuerzas Especiales. “Lucharé por Iván mientras él desee permanecer en el ejército”, aseveró.

Casado y padre de un joven de 14 años, Castro sigue necesitando ayuda para llegar al gimnasio y también una escolta para llegar a la formación. Una vez ahí, toma el mando y estimula a los soldados a ir siempre a dos niveles por encima de lo que se les pide. “En las Fuerzas Especiales -dice- uno debe ir por encima y más allá aun de lo que se le ordena”. Esta idea es también su credo de vida.

“Quiero ser tratado de la misma manera que los otros oficiales”, afirma. “Nunca he deseado que sientan lástima de mí y menos aún que se me dé algo que no me merezca”.

JCasp
08-19-2008, 12:01
I hope it's ok that I post here as a Non-QP. I remember clearly when 2LT Castro and 2LT Williams came to our batallion, 1-325. They were exemplary role models for us and really raised the bar. I don't remember what company Cpt Castro went to, but I heard nothing but great responses through the Joe Grapevine about him and the amount of knowledge as well as his tremendous physical ability. I got out about 2 months before our BN left on this deployment. I had not heard about his incident, only the deaths from mortar fire that D co had taken. What an amazing soldier.

When I left Williams was a 1LT and the BN Scout platoon PL, is he back in group now or still in division?

MFFJM2
09-24-2008, 14:11
I'm a former member of 7th Special Forces Group, where I served for over 6 years during my 20+ year career in the US Army Special Forces. CPT Castro is an inspiration, and he should be commended for his tough and determined recovery and his desire to stay in the military. Now I'm probably gonna get heat over this, but I'm gonna say it anyway...he should be medically retired. He's incapable of conducting military operations, because he's not medically qualified for service. I appreciate his sacrifice, I really do. But this is really about letting him stay on active duty until he gets his 20, since he's presently at 17. They did the same thing for Dana Bowman some years ago, when Dana was severly injured in a demonstration jump while he was assigned to the Golden Knights. We've had soldiers horribly wounded in every war, and without exception those who were blinded were medically discharged...until now. The US Army has a mission, and the mission comes first.

The Reaper
09-24-2008, 14:17
MFFJM:

I disagree with you, but we all have our opinions.

You might want to review your registration message and the board rules and comply before posting again. You seem to have missed a step.

TR

JJ_BPK
09-24-2008, 16:43
The US Army has a mission, and the mission comes first.

I disagree with your assessment of Cpt Castro as being un-fit for duty.

ALthough the world thinks that military service is a continuous routine of dodging bullets. The fact is few do the shooting and the many do the support.

Cpt Castro, with assistance, could be a contributing asset to the Army, for his total career. He may not lead a fighting unit but there is no reason he can't serve with honor in any of the thousands of support units.

I don't think he SEE's an alternative, other than serving with Honor.

And that I admire greating...


My $00.00002

MFFJM2
09-25-2008, 22:16
I disagree with your assessment of Cpt Castro as being un-fit for duty.

ALthough the world thinks that military service is a continuous routine of dodging bullets. The fact is few do the shooting and the many do the support.

Cpt Castro, with assistance, could be a contributing asset to the Army, for his total career. He may not lead a fighting unit but there is no reason he can't serve with honor in any of the thousands of support units.

I don't think he SEE's an alternative, other than serving with Honor.

And that I admire greating...


My $00.00002

First, it's not my assessment, it is US Army regulation AR 40-501 Standards of Fitness, which states in part, "(3) Current or history of degenerative changes of any part of the retina is disqualifying." And "(2) Absence of an eye, clinical anophthalmos, unspecified congenital or acquired, or current or history of other disorders of globe is disqualifying." And finally, "a. Current distant visual acuity of any degree that does not correct with spectacle lenses to at least one of the following is disqualifying:
(1) 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye.
(2) 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye.
(3) 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye."

The Standards of Fitness for the Active Army and the PULHES requirement for selection to SF duty positions states that CPT Castro is physically unqualified.

I didn't write the regulations, but I do agree with them. CPT Castro is physically unfit for duty and should be medically retired so that he can begin his new life and new career. This is what has happened to every soldier who has returned from combat having lost their sight, until now. I'm sure all the soldiers blinded in Vietnam, Korea, WWII, an WWI would have liked to have been allowed to stay on active duty until they could retire, but the regs said they couldn't.

SF_BHT
09-26-2008, 07:54
First, it's not my assessment, it is US Army regulation AR 40-501 Standards of Fitness, which states in part, "(3) Current or history of degenerative changes of any part of the retina is disqualifying." And "(2) Absence of an eye, clinical anophthalmos, unspecified congenital or acquired, or current or history of other disorders of globe is disqualifying." And finally, "a. Current distant visual acuity of any degree that does not correct with spectacle lenses to at least one of the following is disqualifying:
(1) 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye.
(2) 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye.
(3) 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye."

The Standards of Fitness for the Active Army and the PULHES requirement for selection to SF duty positions states that CPT Castro is physically unqualified.

I didn't write the regulations, but I do agree with them. CPT Castro is physically unfit for duty and should be medically retired so that he can begin his new life and new career. This is what has happened to every soldier who has returned from combat having lost their sight, until now. I'm sure all the soldiers blinded in Vietnam, Korea, WWII, an WWI would have liked to have been allowed to stay on active duty until they could retire, but the regs said they couldn't.

You are more than welcome to your Opinion........
BUT you have been told once by TR and not this is your second warning

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE E-MAIL YOU RECEIVED AND POST YOUR INTRO IN THE RIGHT PLACE. NO MORE POSTING UNTIL THAT HAS BEEN DONE.

Your e-mail had simple instructions so Please follow them.

Razor
09-26-2008, 14:20
Perhaps the Army should consider re-writing the regulation to allow for guys like CPT Castro to continue to serve in an administrative role, rather than rely on the wink-wink, nudge-nudge "interpretation" currently in place. It wasn't all that long ago (less than 10 years) a guy in Castro's situation wouldn't be able stay in, regardless of his desire to continue to serve.

blue02hd
09-26-2008, 14:51
I'm a former member of 7th Special Forces Group, where I served for over 6 years during my 20+ year career in the US Army Special Forces. CPT Castro is an inspiration, and he should be commended for his tough and determined recovery and his desire to stay in the military. Now I'm probably gonna get heat over this, but I'm gonna say it anyway...he should be medically retired. He's incapable of conducting military operations, because he's not medically qualified for service. I appreciate his sacrifice, I really do. But this is really about letting him stay on active duty until he gets his 20, since he's presently at 17. They did the same thing for Dana Bowman some years ago, when Dana was severly injured in a demonstration jump while he was assigned to the Golden Knights. We've had soldiers horribly wounded in every war, and without exception those who were blinded were medically discharged...until now. The US Army has a mission, and the mission comes first.

So in other words you are saying Admiral Olsen, (who approved Ivans assignment) and Col Mulhalland are incorrect in their decision to assign Ivan to his C-Team? I have a feeling they know the regs just as well as anyone else. I guess they could be wrong, but I also bet you haven't met Ivan.

I have served with Ivan personally both in and out of the box. I disagree with your assessment, but respect your opinion. Nothing personal brother, but if the example Ivan demonstrates everyday brings the reality home to either a BTDT OR 18X, then I would have to say the Commanders got this one right.

Regulations don't win wars, soldiers do.

Razor
09-26-2008, 15:15
So in other words you are saying Admiral Olsen, (who approved Ivans assignment) and Col Mulhalland are incorrect in their decision to assign Ivan to his C-Team?

Their decision isn't "incorrect" (I personally believe they're doing the "right" thing here), its just not in accordance with current regulations, hence my desire to see the regs re-written. Like I said, this option wasn't even a remote consideration a decade ago, before Army manpower started to suffer from the effects of OEF and OIF.

Basenshukai
09-27-2008, 08:59
I served with Ivan Castro while at 3rd Bn and he is an outstanding performer. We were looking forward for him to get back to us from the 82d Airborne Division when he went over as an OCS graduate. You can also find Ivan in the book "Imperial Grunts", when he was an SF NCO. However, according to him, he was a bit misquoted on the book. But, it is an interesting read anyway.

MFFJM2
10-11-2008, 08:46
I don't know CPT Castro, but that has nothing to do with my opinion or the regulation that stipulates he isn't "fit for duty." I don't think COL Mulholland and ADM Olsen are wrong. I know they're wrong, and I've presented the regulation that proves it. The case of CPT Castro is about letting him get to his 20 years (only three years away) so he can retire as a Captain and then get full VA disability (which is now permitted without any offset for holders of the Purple Heart). The amount he would receive from this longevity retirement and VA disability would be more than he would receive if he were to be medically retired.

This is also a PR campaign, to show the Army doesn't just throw away our wounded and heroic veterans; especially after the revelations at Walter Reed. If the regulations were to be re-written to allow disabled veterans to remain on active duty at least then ADM Olsen and COL Mulholland would not be violating the regs, but the decision would still be wrong. It's wrong for CPT Castro and for the Army.

CPT Castro must begin his new life without sight. He needs to learn Braille so he can continue to be a valuable part of our society. He may wish to go to law school, or obtain higher education and teach, or he may simply wish to write about his experiences, all of which are valid uses of his intellignce and abilities. He can only do these things once he has received instruction is Braille and living without sight. He cannnot do that while he's on active duty unless they violate further regs by allowing him to be paid without actually filling a duty position.

He has no place in the Active Duty military and certainly not in Special Forces. As a former Battalion and Group Adjutant and a Commander in Special Forces, I'm pretty familiar with the MTO&E. What position will CPT Castro fill..? What duties will he be expected to accomplish..? He isn't qualified to fire a weapon, drive a vehicle, or even complete the APFT. The regs on the APFT require the 2-mile run be conducted without assistance, including not allowing someone to pace you.

If it's fair for CPT Castro, why isn't it fair for every wounded veteran..? If the Army is going to allow CPT Castro to reach active duty retirement, can we bring back all the blinded and disabled veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam and let them reach their 20-year retirement..? We have medical retirement for cases just like CPT Castro. If you want to help disabled veterans including CPT Castro, get Congress to increase the VA disability or increase the medical retirement pay.

Basenshukai
10-11-2008, 09:46
Sir, that is an excellently written break-down of your points; all are valid and technically correct. But, this is where I depart from it:

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to state that "yes" I have a bias here. CPT Castro was a member of B/3/7 (as an NCO) and someone I know from having served with him in that unit. Also, while I was a part of that fine unit I fought with them and I personally saw several men die in combat - right before my eyes. B/3/7 is a unit that in 2006 returned from Afghanistan with 22 Purple Hearts, 2 Silver Stars, and well over 55 Bronze Stars; and we were only 74 men. We also lost a total of seven men (including attached and support personnel). So, yes I have a bias.

But, this is how I feel:


The US Congress just authorized a "bail out" valued well over $700 Billion and this will be transferred over to the very people that put our economic future in trouble through lack of leadership, mismanagement and greed. The very politicians that are responsible for this "bail out" are also responsible for the cause of it. But, they will look like they saved the day.

Anyway, I figure that if the Country can afford that, then it can afford to keep CPT Castro on for three more years. Heck, I agree with you on one point, let's do it for all other military members in that position that have - say - five years or less to go on their retirement.

And, there is the intangible effect that the treatment of CPT Castro has on other SF brothers. Imagine the confidence it creates when the phrase "no man left behind" is applied in this way as well? Who would not feel a little bit more secure in his sacrifices knowing that the unit will not just put you away when you are not useful due to your sacrifice? These things are not the sole motivators for service, but they contribute. I am glad this was done. It has made me feel better about things. I feel that SF is really a family after all; it was not just a catch phrase used at a commander's change-of-command.

That being the effect - I couldn't care less what the regulation states (and it seems that the 7th SF GRP CDR and the SOCOM CDR are in agreement with me). I'm glad these senior leaders have the intestinal fortitude to take this risk for the sake of an SF brother. If an SF Soldier is willing to risk his very life to accomplish a mission, the least we leaders can do is risk our careers for the sake of these Soldiers' lives.

RB
10-11-2008, 13:07
This is also a PR campaign, to show the Army doesn't just throw away our wounded and heroic veterans; especially after the revelations at Walter Reed. If the regulations were to be re-written to allow disabled veterans to remain on active duty at least then ADM Olsen and COL Mulholland would not be violating the regs, but the decision would still be wrong. It's wrong for CPT Castro and for the Army.

He may wish to go to law school, or obtain higher education and teach, or he may simply wish to write about his experiences, all of which are valid uses of his intellignce and abilities.

As a former Battalion and Group Adjutant and a Commander in Special Forces,
........

If it's fair for CPT Castro, why isn't it fair for every wounded veteran..? If the Army is going to allow CPT Castro to reach active duty retirement, can we bring back all the blinded and disabled veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam and let them reach their 20-year retirement..?

If the 21st century changes had been installed for returning VN vets, you would see a different attitude for soldiers in general. In that you are correct IMHO.

I find your spelling of the word 'intelligence' in your post #33 profound and ironic, to say the least.

It's more commonplace now for active duty soldiers to remain active even after injuries, of course on a case by case basis.

Stop living in the past and give soldiers their due.

Your posts sound more like a grudge against certain SF officers or a certain Major Castro than a grudge against the way the regs are written.

2cents.

SF_BHT
10-11-2008, 13:39
I don't know CPT Castro, but that has nothing to do with my opinion or the regulation that stipulates he isn't "fit for duty." I don't think COL Mulholland and ADM Olsen are wrong. I know they're wrong, and I've presented the regulation that proves it. The case of CPT Castro is about letting him get to his 20 years (only three years away) so he can retire as a Captain and then get full VA disability (which is now permitted without any offset for holders of the Purple Heart). The amount he would receive from this longevity retirement and VA disability would be more than he would receive if he were to be medically retired.

This is also a PR campaign, to show the Army doesn't just throw away our wounded and heroic veterans; especially after the revelations at Walter Reed. If the regulations were to be re-written to allow disabled veterans to remain on active duty at least then ADM Olsen and COL Mulholland would not be violating the regs, but the decision would still be wrong. It's wrong for CPT Castro and for the Army.

CPT Castro must begin his new life without sight. He needs to learn Braille so he can continue to be a valuable part of our society. He may wish to go to law school, or obtain higher education and teach, or he may simply wish to write about his experiences, all of which are valid uses of his intellignce and abilities. He can only do these things once he has received instruction is Braille and living without sight. He cannnot do that while he's on active duty unless they violate further regs by allowing him to be paid without actually filling a duty position.

He has no place in the Active Duty military and certainly not in Special Forces. As a former Battalion and Group Adjutant and a Commander in Special Forces, I'm pretty familiar with the MTO&E. What position will CPT Castro fill..? What duties will he be expected to accomplish..? He isn't qualified to fire a weapon, drive a vehicle, or even complete the APFT. The regs on the APFT require the 2-mile run be conducted without assistance, including not allowing someone to pace you.

If it's fair for CPT Castro, why isn't it fair for every wounded veteran..? If the Army is going to allow CPT Castro to reach active duty retirement, can we bring back all the blinded and disabled veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam and let them reach their 20-year retirement..? We have medical retirement for cases just like CPT Castro. If you want to help disabled veterans including CPT Castro, get Congress to increase the VA disability or increase the medical retirement pay.

I remember having a SGM that had a false leg. He jumped, worked out and still was a asset to the force. There are waivers to all regulations and since you were a paper pushing Adjutant you should have known it. If his GP commander and everyone up the Chain of Command to the CINC at SOCOM supports this than who are you to question it. The military has always helped or what we used to call Padded people to help them make retirement. This has not always worked out but he has the support so let him be. He is contributing and that is THAT.

Razor
10-11-2008, 16:33
Is Firewolf here on the site still on active duty?

greenberetTFS
10-11-2008, 16:40
:(I remember having a SGM that had a false leg. He jumped, worked out and still was a asset to the force. There are waivers to all regulations and since you were a paper pushing Adjutant you should have known it. If his GP commander and everyone up the Chain of Command to the CINC at SOCOM supports this than who are you to question it. The military has always helped or what we used to call Padded people to help them make retirement. This has not always worked out but he has the support so let him be. He is contributing and that is THAT.

CPT Castro exemplifies what our "QP"signifies.....I take offense to MFFJM2 stubbornly adhering to his position like "a dog chewing on an old bone". Sir, with all due respect, can you really believe this hard nose attitude of yours is Special Forces? :( :( :(

GB TFS

Richard
10-11-2008, 18:28
Guys,

Blind on AD? IMO there's a BIG difference between losing a limb and being able to function--e.g., deployable--vs being blind. Why not a DAC assigned to SWC/EAG staff to utilize his expertise w/o the "fully deployable" aspect of the slot hanging over anyone's head? I'm struggling with the concept of this one.

Richard's $.02 :munchin

RB
10-11-2008, 18:39
Guys,

Blind on AD? IMO there's a BIG difference between losing a limb and being able to function--e.g., deployable--vs being blind. Why not a DAC assigned to SWC/EAG staff to utilize his expertise w/o the "fully deployable" aspect of the slot hanging over anyone's head? I'm struggling with the concept of this one.

Richard's $.02 :munchin

In every walk of life, everything that's ever been done, there has always been a first.

I can think of no better example to show the world a blind Green Beret is just as important as the next Green Beret.

As was stated before, for every shooter, there are 10 support soldiers. This man is now a support soldier. He is not deployable, just as many soldiers with P3 profiles are non-deployable.

The book is being re-written from Maj Castro's example and a fine book it will be.

Richard
10-11-2008, 19:59
I understand the 'band of brothers' ideal--but still worry about the 'precedent' and a foreseeable Army of so many 'exceptions' that it cannot adequately perform the tasks for which it is charged. :confused:

OK--I've said my piece and I am done. It will be what it will be. I hope it will be for the best for all of us, however it turns out. :)

Richard's $.02 :munchin
--
BT

RB
10-11-2008, 20:51
I understand the 'band of brothers' ideal--but still worry about the 'precedent' and a foreseeable Army of so many 'exceptions' that it cannot adequately perform the tasks for which it is charged. :confused:
BT

Understand your concern for 'precedent', but I can also see the 'precedent' that should have been put in place decades ago for our 'forgotten heroes' coming back from VN.

I'm not saying this to get in good with that era. I'm saying this because of the way the warriors were treated coming back from DS 1.

Parades, medals, and I know of several warriors that were given staff jobs because of injuries suffered during that war.

Is it wrong to take care of warriors that offered their lives for their countries? Rhetorical, regs or no regs.

I attended the 1st ANCOC/O & I [May '94] with an SFC from 5th SFG with half a calf [SFC Powers]. He had been shot by an Iraqi but was still allowed to stay on active duty and did a great job, fulfilling the requirements of an active duty E-7, minus the PT.

I could not then nor can see now throwing these warrior hero soldiers to the whims of the civilian world solely because they were injured in defense of their country, basically, you, and I.

Notsomuch you Richard, but try turning out the lights, walking around with a blindfold on, and still trying to defend your country.

That, my friend, takes Patriotism to a new level.

:)

blue02hd
10-11-2008, 21:44
It really is unfortunate that this thread has changed tone from one of show-casing a true modern inspriration, to what we have here,, As he is my brother that has been on my left and right, let me respond once again:



The case of CPT Castro is about letting him get to his 20 years (only three years away) so he can retire as a Captain and then get full VA disability (which is now permitted without any offset for holders of the Purple Heart). The amount he would receive from this longevity retirement and VA disability would be more than he would receive if he were to be medically retired.

He has no place in the Active Duty military and certainly not in Special Forces.

The regs on the APFT require the 2-mile run be conducted without assistance, including not allowing someone to pace you.




Brother, with all due respect, you are out of line.

In all the time I have spent with Ivan, both on and off the battlefield, I have never once seen the selfish and greedy behavior that you are claiming his appointment is all about. This is a man who always put his troops first, would give you the shirt off his back, and had a way of making every facet of our existence in the box better. His soldiers loved him, his peers respected him, and his superiors trusted him. This is an observation from the 5 meters line. As others have posted: You bet I'm Biased.

Now, before anyone has a right to explain the true actions and intent of another person, they had better have atleast met the individual, done their research, and confirmed those claims. To say this is a decision motivated by money is sad. Very sad. I won't speak for his finances, that is not my place, nor is it anyone elses. Thats like saying "He only joined SF for the hat". I am still in the belief that we have guys on the teams that love what they do, and the ones they work with as they do it. Maybe things have changed since other posters have served, but for me, this has not.

Ivan continues to give all he has in order to become a better soldier, leader, and person. Hell, he motivates me just thinking about what he and his wife went through, and he still chooses to lace those boots up after running PT everyday. By a show of hands, who else has ran the Boston Marathon with a respectable time even?

It is far easier for me to see that Ivan was offered a job back in the Group he loved because the Commanders saw something in him that they felt was still important, and worth supporting, as opposed to worrying about "the bottom line". Either way, the decision has been made, and I for one believe it will add to and not take away from 7th.



If I am wrong, then I'll smile through the retest,,,,,

MFFJM2
10-17-2008, 07:55
It really is unfortunate that this thread has changed tone from one of show-casing a true modern inspriration, to what we have here,, As he is my brother that has been on my left and right, let me respond once again:



Brother, with all due respect, you are out of line.

In all the time I have spent with Ivan, both on and off the battlefield, I have never once seen the selfish and greedy behavior that you are claiming his appointment is all about. This is a man who always put his troops first, would give you the shirt off his back, and had a way of making every facet of our existence in the box better. His soldiers loved him, his peers respected him, and his superiors trusted him. This is an observation from the 5 meters line. As others have posted: You bet I'm Biased.

Now, before anyone has a right to explain the true actions and intent of another person, they had better have atleast met the individual, done their research, and confirmed those claims. To say this is a decision motivated by money is sad. Very sad. I won't speak for his finances, that is not my place, nor is it anyone elses. Thats like saying "He only joined SF for the hat". I am still in the belief that we have guys on the teams that love what they do, and the ones they work with as they do it. Maybe things have changed since other posters have served, but for me, this has not.

Ivan continues to give all he has in order to become a better soldier, leader, and person. Hell, he motivates me just thinking about what he and his wife went through, and he still chooses to lace those boots up after running PT everyday. By a show of hands, who else has ran the Boston Marathon with a respectable time even?

It is far easier for me to see that Ivan was offered a job back in the Group he loved because the Commanders saw something in him that they felt was still important, and worth supporting, as opposed to worrying about "the bottom line". Either way, the decision has been made, and I for one believe it will add to and not take away from 7th.



If I am wrong, then I'll smile through the retest,,,,,

I haven't made any suggestions about CPT Castro's motivations because I've never met CPT Castro. My issue is not with him, but rather with the decision to continue his active duty service in violation of the regs. What specific job will he be doing..? If you think I'm wrong fine, tell me what position he will fill in the MTO&E; every duty position has a minimum PULHES.

I too remember a SGM with a prosthetic leg in 7th Group, but he was able to do all his job requirements, including taking the APFT.

I don't think a typo shows disrespect, just imperfect typing. It is not commonplace for blind soldiers to be kept on active duty for an extended period, and three years is an extended period. I have no grudge against SF or SF officers, especially officers I've never met. I do know COL Mulholland quite well, as we served together, and friend or not he's still wrong.

I'm surprised that I've either been told I'm living in the past or that I'm showing disrespect to one of our fallen heroes by suggesting we follow the regulations for the severely wounded. The purpose of the US military is the defense of our national security, and Special Forces has an extremely important part of that mission.

I said from the start I was going to get heat about this because I wasn't saying the popular thing, which is that CPT Castro is an inspiration and should be allowed to remain in Group. He is an inspiration, and that won't change even though someday he will take off that uniform. However, that doesn't mean he should fill a position that he is physically incapable of handling.

Please understand I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for CPT Castro and all the other wounded veterans who have given so much to their country.

gksweeney22
12-05-2008, 19:39
Had the honor to meet him today. What an inspiration.

Sweetbriar
01-25-2009, 11:59
Update via Powerline (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/01/022637.php).

"How did the whole country become Lenny Bruce-ified?"

Dan
12-24-2009, 14:17
SF officer, blinded in Iraq, graduates MCCC (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/12/army_blind_captain_122409w/)

By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Dec 24, 2009 13:15:38 EST

Capt. Ivan Castro lost his eyesight in Iraq to a spray of hot shrapnel from an 82mm mortar round that landed five feet from his position on a rooftop.

It’s been a long three years since that Sept. 2, 2006 attack, which killed two of his soldiers, and Castro never thought he’d survive his wounds.

But on Dec. 15, Castro, a 21-year veteran of the Army, graduated from the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning, Ga., and will soon report to his new assignment as operations officer in Special Forces Recruiting Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to an Army news release.

When Castro was an enlisted soldier, he was assigned to 7th Special Forces Group.

At the time of the mortar attack southwest of Baghdad, Castro, a first lieutenant at the time, was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and was a sniper reconnaissance platoon leader.

The mortar caused Castro a bilateral aneurysm, collapsed lung, pulmonary embolism, bone fractures and a nicked artery, in addition to the blindness.

Following his rehabilitation at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., which helped him to adjust to life without sight, and eventually run in the Marine Corps Marathon, he returned to 7th Group.

Throughout his life-changing transition, Castro insisted he not be treated differently, Lt. Col. Fredrick Dummar said in the release.

Dummar worked with Castro at the 7th Special Forces Group and attended his MCCC graduation.

“It was critical for him to attend MCCC,” said Dummar, commander of Special Operations Recruiting Battalion. “You can’t stay on active duty as a captain without it. It would’ve been not only a fight to keep him on active duty with his injuries, but also to keep him on active duty without attending a mandatory school.”

Dummar said in the release that because Castro was a Special Forces soldier and wanted to remain on active duty, his case was reviewed.

“We saw what his potential still was instead of what he can’t do,” Dummar said. “He may not be able to do every job in the Army, but by doing the job he can do, he’s freeing up someone who can see to be doing something else.”

To keep up in classes, Castro said in the release, he used a voice recorder and computer screen-reading software.

Castro enlisted his roommate, Capt. Gerard Torres, as a running buddy to ensure he kept on the track during physical training.

Torres, who attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course with Castro in 2005, said Castro has been an inspiration to him. “We’ve laughed so hard and hated each other like brothers,” Torres said. “The things he’s taught me since the time I’ve known him are invaluable. Sometimes you sit there and start feeling bad for yourself, and then you look over, and there’s Ivan, running 20 miles.”

rltipton
12-24-2009, 16:26
I'm glad everybody is being nice about their opinions and all, but there is only a part of this story being told for whatever reason...maybe folks don't know the whole deal(?). It's not my place to tell it, so I will refrain, but as in most cases where people's OPINIONS are at odds, there is at least one side that doesn't have all of the information.

There is a tremendous difference in SF and all other military units. There is a reason retention in SF units is higher than in other units even among support troops. That reason is evident here...we take care of our own. Look at the non-tabbers commenting...enough said.

The short of it is that Castro has been given a chance to continue to serve and to be productive. Whatever your piddly OPINIONS are about why he shouldn't be allowed to serve are obviously pointless because he IS serving and doing great things, continuing mission in spite of obstacles to daily living that none of you can even begin to comprehend. Instead of taking it easy, getting fat in a wheelchair with a guide dog towing him around, he is still soldiering on.

With that in mind, further "he shouldn't be serving because..." input should cease, being that it cannot contribute anything more to this thread than has already been stated repeatedly from that corner. It's not only pointless, but ignorant. We've heard your side and he is still on active duty and he is going to stay there and your opinions aren't going to change that, so please spare us.

It's a damn good thing the decision to keep him in was made by someone with some freakin loyalty to a brother-in-arms and not you people with the conventional turd burglar follow the regs mindset.

The Reaper
12-24-2009, 16:38
Let me add that Ivan was a former enlisted SF soldier who was in the 82nd when he was injured.

7th Group brought him over and gave him a job that he could do and freed up another Captain to stay on a team, in the fight.

It is what brother warriors do for one another.

TR

echoes
12-24-2009, 17:16
Peeking in here...very cautiously to add,

WELL DONE Capt. Castro!!!:)

You Sir, have been, are, and will continue to be AN INSPIRATION! (Even to those that have never met you in person Sir!):lifter

Thank You for your continued service!!!

Holly & sis

RB
01-02-2010, 09:31
For the late arrivals:

http://www.elboricua.com/PRMilitary_CptIvanCastro.pdf

and if I'm not mistaken, it's now Major Castro.

Here's more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Castro_%28soldier%29

Drop down to 'Awards and Decorations' and then restate your opinions, but I'd venture to say your qualls should be equal or above those earned by Jose Castro.

I'm having a hard time believing the question of his military service is even still being asked.

NousDefionsDoc
01-02-2010, 10:34
"The regs!" "The regs!"

Units are commanded by men, not manuals. Or should be and in this case were.

"If him why not all?" Because he is not "all" and at last a case was decided on the merits and not because of "all". Captain Castro is obviously an exception.

The COMMANDERS made the decision based on the individual and the merits. The way things should be. They didn't default back to a manual written by a nameless faceless group of desk jockeys for "all". The COMMANDERS decided that Captain Castro could contribute. They led their unit. My God that we had more of them that thought this way instead of teeth-gnashing over "THE REGS!"

The claim that EVERY other was medically discharged is apparently not true:
Only two other blind officers serve in the active-duty Army: one a captain studying to be an instructor at West Point, the other an instructor at the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. It would appear there are two more. And that is just from this war.

The biggest problems with soldiers stem from a lack of combat mindset. Captain Castro has demonstrated that in spades. When we find it, we have to use it as a model for the younger troops.

You think we never did little things to keep Old Warriors in the fight? You think things weren't "compensated for" in the past? Then you know nothing of the Regiment and nothing about SF soldiers.

Being an SF soldier is about over-coming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve The Mission. I would say Captain Castro has demonstrated that ability more than most and is therefore the epitome of an SF soldier. He has been given a new Mission. He is driving on. And there are those that whine about "The Regs!" "The Regs!"

He is without sight, not mind. And the mind is the deadliest weapon, all else is secondary.

rltipton
01-25-2010, 09:22
http://www.fayobserver.com/Articles/2010/01/24/969669

greenberetTFS
01-25-2010, 12:46
Next MFer I hear sniveling about how hard training is, I'm punching in the neck.

DOL

I'm with NDD on this...... "Punch them in the neck"......I love it. :D:D:D

Big Teddy :munchin

Richard
01-25-2010, 12:55
Extenuating and mitigating circumstances have an impact upon the interpretation of every rule and regulation by which we abide - woe be it for us all if that ever changes.

Richard's $.02 :munchin

allamerican8204
03-21-2010, 11:53
I was on the mission in Iraq when Lt.(Now Maj.) Castro was wounded. He was also a PL in D co(my co.) before moving over to HHC. A friend of mine Ralph Porras was killed on the same day by mortar fire. It's probably gotten a lot better since i was there in '06, but in the time I spent there I viewed Al Sadr Yusifiyah(or at least I think we were there when that happened) as a good candidate for a nuke. That place was awful. It was also within a few miles that the soldiers from the 10th mountain were taken prisoner a few months later. Also, my best friend in the military was killed there within an hour of our first mission in Iraq. Oh and I didn't see the posts in question, but glancing through this thread I saw several references to posts from non-tabbed guys who commented on how he shouldn't be holding his job due to his wounds. From my experiences with Maj. Castro I can say that whatever job he is doing even with the disabilities he can easily perform it better than you a**holes. So don't question him. We received Lt. Castro and another tabbed Lt., S. Gailey @ the same time and both were excellent for our entire company. They introduced us to a new way of doing things that led to our entire company's training and SOP's to change greatly for the better.

Gimp
04-03-2010, 01:22
Just wanted to drop a post in regards to what happens to our wounded. I was surprised to find out the ignorance of some when going back and reading through this thread.

First off, the military has gotten smart and has stopped throwing people away. The general rule of thumb for initiation of the medboard process is one year post injury or once a service member has completed all surgeries and rehabilitation. It's still the service member's choice whether or not he will remain on active duty. If a person chooses to stay he still goes through the med board, getting everything evaluated and documented. A service member will know his percentages for disability at this time. Once all that's completed it goes to the PEBLO at which time you drop a COAD, Continuation On Active Duty, packet along with it. To be eligible to do a COAD packet you have to meet at least one of three criteria:

1) Be combat wounded
2) Be in a critically short MOS
3) Have at least 15 years service
Along with the COAD packet is DA7652 and whatever letters of recommendation you can scrounge up from your CoC. Once you drop the COAD it basically 'freezes' the process there, then you go on your mary way , and continue to raise hell. The part that sucks is you have to do the whole damn thing again when you decide to finally retire.

One more thing. One of the posts earlier stated, and I'm paraphrasing, that Ivan would be better off monetarily if he got out. Well, yes and no. Ivan was just a 1st Lt when he got hit and now he's a Major. That's a pretty significant pay bump. The longer you stay the more you'll make. Since congress still hasn't fixed concurrent receipt we're stuck with CRSC (Combat Related Special Compensation). If you look on the VA website they have a calculator for it. The formula for calculating it involves a Degree in Quantum Physics IOT figure it out but it does involve years of service. If you have twenty then it works out that you're actually getting both retirement and disability; If you're under twenty you'll get hosed. Now most of us have done everything from DA ops to being "Sally Struthers" in our little fiefdoms. With that being said we could do just about anything; start you're own business, work in anyone of the 'alphabet' agencies, or whatever floats your boat. If you get out and find another job that pays good, combined with your disability then you've got it made.

blue02hd
04-03-2010, 16:02
One more thing. One of the posts earlier stated, and I'm paraphrasing, that Ivan would be better off monetarily if he got out. Well, yes and no. Ivan was just a 1st Lt when he got hit and now he's a Major. That's a pretty significant pay bump. .

Cpt Ivan Castro is in fact a Cpt.

Gimp
04-04-2010, 02:09
I thought he got picked up for O-4. If not my mistake. Still the point is he's getting paid more.

Stras
04-04-2010, 06:03
Anyone that wants to question Ivan Castro's ability to serve should go out and run the Marine Corps Marathon blindfolded, and then make their sniveling comment. I had the honor to meet him in 2008.

Special Forces and SOF take care of our own. The regular army is slowly catching on to the concept, but has a long road to go.

When we taught the USASOC SOF JM course last year, one of our students had a prosthetic leg. He, along with several other students found out that Five Minutes is exactly Five Minutes. I believe that he is the same guy who later graduated the 3rd SFG(A) JM course as the first amputee graduate of any Jumpmaster Course. There is a thread in one of the forums on this website about this. Feel free to use the search function.

There are other wounded warriors serving at the schoolhouse and in various staff positions taking care and training our future SF Brethren.

This is a great example as to the reason why many of us left the conventional army and went Special Forces.

In 1989, one of the Blackhats at Benning had a glass eye, and wore an eyepatch when he was in the aircraft. Someone saw the need to keep him on active duty and not throw him out like a piece of garbage.

Didn't a German officer mention that fact during WWII that it was impossible to fight the Americans using their doctrine because they didn't follow it.

zauber1
05-22-2010, 21:14
When CPT Castro retires, will he be eligible for regular retirement or will he be medically discharged or receive 100% disability? Will there be any distinction? Was he retained so that he could get in his 20? It seems to me that a full medical disability would pay more than staying in for 20. If this is the case, he is even more a worthy individual to not let financiual reasons sway his decision to remain in harness.

On another note, I proudly served under BG Fred Franks at 7th Army in Grafenwoehr. BG Franks left a leg in RVN and set a precedent of remaining on active duty after his injury. He still ran PT with his prosthesis in the days of not very well designed artificial limbs.

greenberetTFS
05-23-2010, 02:48
Next MFer I hear sniveling about how hard training is, I'm punching in the neck.

DOL

NDD,

I just love it, the punching in the neck part..............:cool:;)

BIG Teddy :munchin

Green Light
05-23-2010, 19:41
When CPT Castro retires, will he be eligible for regular retirement or will he be medically discharged or receive 100% disability? Will there be any distinction? Was he retained so that he could get in his 20? It seems to me that a full medical disability would pay more than staying in for 20. If this is the case, he is even more a worthy individual to not let financiual reasons sway his decision to remain in harness.

On another note, I proudly served under BG Fred Franks at 7th Army in Grafenwoehr. BG Franks left a leg in RVN and set a precedent of remaining on active duty after his injury. He still ran PT with his prosthesis in the days of not very well designed artificial limbs. That man was a hero.

I was making my 6th jump at the Q course as a strap hanger. He was sitting next to me and noticed that I was nervous (I'd never made a night jump). He elbowed me in the side with that big smile of his and asked me what was wrong. I told him that I hadn't jumped at night in a long time (ever!) He assured me that it was just like jumping the daytime, only darker. He then looked down at his boot and said "damn! It's untied again." He took his leg off and tightened the boot. Then he took out a boot lace and tied from the top of his boot to his belt and said "the last time I jumped, I lost the dammed thing!" Shock and disbelief overcame my nerviousness about jumping at night.

The next time I served with him, he was a our B tm SGM. The unit dropped into Colorado. Carlos decided to aim for the DZ ambulance but landed on the other side. After his PLF, he took his leg and turned it around backwards. He began to yell in pain. A brand-new female, leg 91B medic came running over and saw the horribly damaged leg, completely turned 180 from where it should have been. She blanched and said "oh crap! What should I do? Someone help me!" Carlos looked at her and said "Here's what you do" when he took his plastic leg and turned it back 180 degrees. Her eyes crossed and she passed out. Carlos loved doing that. Last I saw him he was a civilian at SWC but may have retired by now. He was a legend.

Gimp
06-06-2010, 04:51
The key is making it to 20 for retirement; 20 locks you in for the 50%. When he does go to retire he's going to have to do a medboard. Well, let me back up. The way the system works now is everyone who has a serious injury does a medboard. When I say injury I don't mean just combat wounded. IOT stay on active duty you have to submit a COAD (Continuation On Active Duty) packet. IOT qualify for the COAD program you have to fall in at least one of three categories:

1) Combat wounded
2) Critically short MOS
3) Have at least 15 years of service

There has been exceptions to these standards but if you have at least one of the three you're good. You go through the medboard process as you normally would. You get a narrative summary written out by the lead Doc on your case which is what initiates your medboard. The NARSUM list's everything that is wrong with you. Under the new DES system it gets pushed over to the VA IOT make appointments at the local VA facility. The VA Docs evaluate and document all of your problems and after that they push it to the PEBLO (Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer). While that's going on you go out and find the highest ranking people in your chain of command and get letters of recommendation to submit along with your COAD packet. Once you have that you give it to the PEBLO and he pushes it all to the MEB (Medical Evaluation Board. From that point, barring any severe cognitive issues, it freezes the process and allows you to continue along your merry way.

We've had well over 200 people in SOF do COAD packets in the last 5 years and only 3 have been denied. The ones that were denied were guys with cognitive issues. Also, IOT COAD you must be able to perform a full days worth of work with minimal assistance (that is variable by Command).

Now with all that being said, Ivan and many others are going to have to do the medboard ALL OVER again when they retire. I understand why they do it but its still a pain in the ass. Since he'll be at 20 or over his retirement is good and won't be affected. It's for guys that are under 20 is where it gets squirrely. Under current law guys who are medically retired with less than 20 get CRSC plus VA disability. CRSC is a confusing system. It's original intent was to give concurrent receipt but got lost in translation on the way to Capitol Hill. Just like disability under 100% there is no rhyme or reason to how much you get.

Now there is a proposal in front of Congress right now to give Chapter 61 retirees, medically retired, individuals both but its probably going to die in debate. For one it's attached to a bunch of other PORK and left wing liberal proposals and secondly if it did pass it would only be in affect for two years. After that Congress would have to re-authorize it or let it die and let roughly 5000 veterans take a big cut in benefits.

Reaper411
11-09-2010, 12:18
I just came across this article in Runner's World and read about CPT Castro... Amazing!!!

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-408--13736-0,00.html
:lifter

blue02hd
05-24-2011, 12:16
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/vp/43114724#43114724
Go Ivan go!!

mcmac61
05-24-2011, 12:33
I am proud to have worked and served with Ivan back in 3/7th SFG (A). He is a great guy and it is always a good feeling to see someone who is well deserved get promoted. :D

Dan
10-15-2012, 12:06
http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8478138/captain-ivan-castro-lost-sight-iraq-later-became-top-endurance-athlete-espn-magazine

head
10-15-2012, 12:32
I had the honor to run as his guide for a half-marathon earlier this year. He is an incredible man.