AMARILLO–Quartermaster Epifanio “Jr.”Castillo represented Wellington Glynn Moore Veterans of Foreign WarsPost 6439at the recent Texas VFW District 9 quarterly meeting. Hosted by VFW Post 1475, veterans and their families commemorated two special days, Korean Armistice Day and Purple Heart Day.Eight veterans, including Castillo, received Quilts of Honor, handmade keepsakes that honor veterans for their service.District Commander Benny Guerrero of Lubbock recommended Castillo for commendation for his continuous VFW Post leadership as he works to make sure the community never forgets its veterans.“The backside of the quilt is all red, white and blue stars. It is so pretty.I was just floored to be honored,” Castillo said. “I work on recruiting newVFW members, andI follow up with members to keep dues paid in a timely manner.” Castillo encourages area veterans and past members of VFW Post 6439 to participate in monthly meetings at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month. The next gathering is set for Tuesday, Oct. 5.
In addition to his post quartermaster duties, Castillo has served as the Veterans Service Officer (VSO) for Collingsworth County since August 2014. As VSO, he utilizes his extensive military
The Texas Panhandle Quilts of Valor organization presentsWellington VFW Post Quartermaster Epifanio “Jr.”Castillo a special patriotic keepsake for his military service.Castillo served four years in the U.S. Marine Corp followed by 36 years in the Texas Army National Guard for a total of 40 years of service.
FormerDistrict9 VFWCommander Steve Evans of Amarillo, left, awards Wellington Glynn Moore VFW Post 6439 Quartermaster Epifanio “Jr.”Castillo a special post-level distinction, a commemorative knife, for maintaining over 100% membership in Collingsworth County.
experience and knowledge to advise and assist veterans and their dependents in understanding and obtaining benefits entitled under federal, state and local legislation.Although Castillo says his caseload has low numbers, he can guide veterans in the right direction and has access to the Texas Veterans Commission to check on claims.A county appointed position, Castillo meets with veterans in person rather than the automated telephone systemoption. A serviceman needing assistance can contact Castillo at 806-205-1610 or at his office, Room 6 on the first floor of the Collingsworth County Courthouse.Castillo’s purpose aligns with the mission of VFW organizations, “to foster camaraderie among U.S. veterans of overseas conflicts, to serve veterans, the military and communities and to advocate on behalf of all veterans.”Born Sept. 3, 1948, Castillo spent his early years in South Texas at Donna, located in “The Valley.” His dad, looking for work as a laborer, moved his family to Lutie in 1953. With two older brothers, two younger brothers and two younger sisters, Jr. Castillo and his family remained in Collingsworth County after cotton harvest.“I drug a sack myself at five and six years old,” he said. “We changed clothes after school and headed out to the cotton field. We lived in the old barracks at Lutie, one room per family.”Castillo attended school at Samnorwood through his freshman year of high school.The family then relocated to Dodson where Castillo almost graduated in 1967. “I got really smart halfway through my senior year and decided to start driving a truck,” Castillo said. Drafted soon after, he eventually obtained his General EducationalDevelopment(GED) in the U.S. Marine Corp, and later, an associate degree.
A 20-year-old infantry machine gunner, Pvt. Castillo served a year in Vietnam, then three years in the Marine Corp reserve. For his Vietnam service, Cpl. Castillo received the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat Valor (“V”) for outstanding achievement in superior performance of his duties in the field of leadership while serving in various capacities, including machine gunner, fire team leader and squad leader with Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division.“Cpl. Castillo’s leadership, professional competence and steadfast devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service,”read his citation. Decorations and awards also included U.S.Army Commendation Medal, Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Gallantry Cross, Redeye Gunnar Crew and Short-RangeAir Defense Missile Crew. In addition, Cpl. Castillo earned the Campaign Medal with Device, Combat Action Badge and Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, U.S. Navy Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.Upon return to Collingsworth County, Castillo began a 36-year career in the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG), serving 10 years as a weekend soldier. In 1982, his role became Senior Sgt. Recruiter, traveling all over the state.Through the years, he served as a Squad Leader, Team Leader, Platoon Sgt., First Sgt. and Sgt. Major Select. Discharged from active duty since 2008,Castillo maintains his ranching operation near Dodson while continuing his service as VFW Post 6439 Quartermaster and VSO. Castillo and his late wife,Josephine Castillo, who died in May 2008, have four children, Daniel David “Buffalo” Castillo, Jessie Castillo, Sheila Granadoz and Benito Castillo. Buffalo Castillo spent 23 years in the TXARNG with deployment to White Sands Missile Range.Jessie Castillo served 12 years in the TXARNG. He deployed to Iraq one time. Deployed three times, twice to Iraq and once to Cuba, Benito Castillo spent 21 years in the TXARNG.
In 2009, Jr. Castillo married Maria Elvira Cruz and gained three bonus children, Evie Cruz, Cecilia Orozco and Elvira Garza. Together, the couple has several grandchildren and great grandchildren. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil, the nation remembers the courage of so many first responders that sacrificed their lives to save others and all that perished that horrific Tuesday. America salutes its veteran as well for maintaining the freedoms that citizens continue to experience.