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19 SOS Airman uses heritage as motivation to succeed

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Charles
  • 492d Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. military is one of the most diverse organizations in the world, with its people being the most invaluable part. Every Airman, Guardian, Soldier, Sailor, Coast Guardsman and Marine has a unique background that exemplifies the exceptionally diverse melting pot of the nation for which they serve and protect.


Staff Sgt. Jeremy Castro, 19th Special Operations Squadron special missions aviator, is a prime example of the diversity of the members who make up that melting pot. Castro is the first member of his family to be born in the U.S. 


“Sergeant Castro is truly a hard-working Airman and an incredibly valued asset to this squadron,” said Lt. Col. Clayton Schuety, 19 SOS commander. “His story provides a unique and diverse perspective to leadership that pushes the Air Force forward.”


According to Castro, his heritage also allows him to be adaptable, which has developed his ability to adjust to the “anytime, anywhere” needs of Air Force Special Operations Command. 


“Having to maneuver between Spanish and English during the course of my life has provided me a flexibility that is invaluable for a member in the SOF community,” Castro said. “It also allows me to navigate the complexities of coordinating with different nations and bridge this culture with another that might not be the same.”


Castro enlisted in the Air Force in 2015 and has deployed four times as a special missions aviator. As an enlisted aircrew member, some of the duties of a special missions aviator include various flight inspections, and acting as the loadmaster.


“Essentially, we are the aircraft’s swiss army knife,” said Castro. “Whatever, needs to be done to accomplish the mission we provide.”


Although Castro may excel in his chosen profession, originally, he wanted to be a firefighter.


“I’ve always wanted to be in a job where I can save people,” Castro added. “After researching what I would be doing and how close-knit the SOF community was, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. It was a job that I felt could be truly impactful in service to this nation.


He continued on to say that serving and protecting people is something that his family has devoted themselves to upon their arrival to America.


“Service beyond self is a value that my family brought with us when we arrived in America,” Castro added. “It’s one of the intrinsic values that resonates with me as a member of the U.S. Air Force and extends to everything we do.”


Similarly, Castro’s mother serves on the basis of these values. Currently, she is a nurse serving at the frontline of battle against COVID-19.


“I get my determination and drive from my mom,” Castro said. “She came to this country with almost nothing and unable to speak the common language. She has somehow made it so that my family has never been without and has received the opportunities of those who have been in this country for generations. She was even able to educate herself and become a registered nurse.”


He attributes her as his motivation to serve the country for which she fought to become a naturalized citizen of. 


“I’m so proud of my mother and the opportunities my family has put me in the position to achieve,” said Castro. “I’m looking forward to where this journey takes me.”


Currently Castro is undergoing instructor training in order to teach the next generation of special missions’ aviators and hopes that he is able to provide perspective as they begin their career


“I want to make a lasting contribution,” Castro said.  “While this may be a country my parents immigrated to; for me, it is home. It will always be my home.”