BROWNWOOD, TX, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, A CO, 2D CEB, RCT 8, 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
06/10/2005, SAQLAWIYAH, IRAQ
Marine Lance Cpl. Mario A. Castillo died as a result of an explosion while conducting combat operations in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He died on June 10, 2005 while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was twenty years old. Also killed was Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Kilpela.
Mario Castillo was known as ‘Happy’ by his fellow engineer platoon members. The Brownwood High School graduate, other engineers and several infantrymen had been patrolling through a roadway outside Fallujah, posting signs that warned the local populace to beware of insurgent-emplaced IEDs in the area.
To the members of his platoon, Mario was known as a Marine who never complained, who always had a smile on his face, and whose positive attitude was infectious. His fellow soldiers and unit leadership even spoke of his brightness calling his smile like a Cheshire cat’s grin. Greatly appreciated was the levity and happiness Castillo brought to whatever task he did.
‘Happy’ never failed to relieve his unit’s stress, no matter what happened or how aggravated they became. ‘Happy’ was always there with a smile to say something funny and make his comrades laugh. And, everyone recognized his passionate devotion to duty. Mario’s leadership notes: “June 10, 2005 is a day that will remain infamous to all of us here today. For the Marine Corps, a great Marine has fallen. For our battalion, a great engineer asset has been taken. For us at Alpha Company, 2nd Platoon, we have been shorted a brother, one of our closest friends.”
Mario loved his wife and family and loved being married. He enjoyed having his platoon over to his home where he could cook up food and enjoy everyone’s company. Mario Castillo is survived by his wife, Angela; mother, Maria; and father, Guadalupe’
“He will be watching us as he stands watch in that post in the heavens above.”