On June 25, 2011, US Army 1st Lt.Dimitri del Castillo, 24, of Tampa, Florida, died in Kunar province, Afghanistan. He was on the radio calling in support for the men of his unit around him who had been attacked and wounded by small arms fire from enemy forces. While refusing to give up the radio so he could help keep his men alive, he was hit and died with the mike in his hand.
Dimitri’s bravery, compassion and commitment to serving his country and others began long before his time in Afghanistan.
After graduating from James E. Taylor High School in Katy, Texas, he entered the US Military Academy at West Point. He became the fly half for the Army Rugby team, and graduated in May 2009, receiving his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. After completion of the Basic Officers Leadership Course and the Mortar Officers Leadership Course, Dimitri went on to earn the coveted US Army Ranger tab. After his third year, 1st Lt. del Castillo earned his Airborne wings at Fort Benning during the summer, and went on to complete Ranger School in May 2010.
1LT del Castillo was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii at the time of his death in Afghanistan.
His personal service awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Ribbon, Global War on Terror Service Medal and the NATO Medal. He also earned the Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Expert Infantry Badge and Combat Infantry Badge.
Prior to deployment, Dimitri and his wife Katie, who served in the same brigade, were married in a civil ceremony. Katie and Dimitri met when they were placed in the same platoon at Camp Buckner in the summer of 2006. After their return from Afghanistan, a church wedding was planned for the couple.
In addition to his wife Katie, he is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carlos E. del Castillo, his brother, Carlos Andres, his sister, Anna Catherine, his grandparents Dr. and Mrs. Dimitri Filostrat and Dr. and Mrs. Hector del Castillo. Dimitri was also deeply loved by his numerous aunts, uncles and cousins and the Pulliam and Blasingame families.
1st Lt. del Castillo was a lover of life, a great athlete, and avid sports fan with a kind heart for those in need. He loved God, his country, his wife and his family. He will be remembered for his great laugh and upbeat personality.
To honor his memory the 1st Lt. Dimitri del Castillo Scholarship has been established.