Duane Stephen Castro
Date of Birth: August 4, 1954
Date of Death: April 28, 1980
“An eagle has never soared so high as the aspirations of Duane S. Castro” – eulogized our class “Friend” above.
So beautifully and metaphorically conveyed!
Duane truly was an unforgettable force of nature; pure energy – as others bear witness and express so eloquently in their eulogies.
For years, I have mulled how I might one day honor and preserve his memory – beyond the gesture of writing to his parents after his passing and sending along a news article from North Carolina (that I now wish I had made a copy to share herein).
We became friends beginning in our Plebe year, meeting on the practice field adjacent to the Field House and playing together at Shea Stadium. Many was the time after practice when, Duane, Chris, I (and other teammates) walked together back up the steep incline to the barracks that first fall season. Duane was always so upbeat and positive as we trudged upward – our own anxiety mounting with each step – always boosting our spirits and telling us of the good times to come! Slowly, as we neared the top level with the Plain, and morphed into good beanheads, Duane would bound away with a cheery farewell enroute the “Lost 50’s” and 4th Reg’t, while Chris and I screwed our chins in and pinged back to what we knew and dreaded, awaited us at 1st Reg’t! But I digress….
The above posted and described exploits and character of Duane best tell the all too short story of this great man.
At IOBC we stayed close; anticipating upcoming marriages, and our similar next first assignment with the 4th ID (Mech). Duane scouted Colorado ahead of me, as I went off to Ranger school. We met up again at the far end and enjoyed each others’ company along with that of our fellow classmates, when duties allowed, at the Golden Bee, our apartments and, leading the way always, at Duane’s new house in C-Springs! Over time, I must confess, Duane was a bit chagrined to find that I had lost most of my party-hearty proclivities – well almost most.
Within two years, I was off to another assignment and when I last spoke to him, he told me he was off to flight-school…to push his personal envelope…always that was Duane.
Before we could reconnect (in those days before e-mail or cell-phones), he was suddenly gone. My folks, living on the Virginia Peninsula, relayed to me the shocking news…..
As the years have past, and I think back on Duane – especially it seems when I’m commuting over and under the waters of Hampton Roads – I cannot help but remember that it is very near where he once soared above – as if an eagle with wings….
“smiles for our 3rd Victory over the Navy! –
one of the “good” times Duane predicted! – only better!”