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Feature Stories

NEWS | Aug. 31, 2023

Father Daughter Duo Share Inspiration to Serve

By Story by Sgt. Amber Cobena and Sgt. Egypt Johnson U.S. Army Central

Parents serving with their children in the military is very rare. But that’s just what happened when Col. Johannes Castro, the commander of the 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, received news that he would be serving jointly with his daughter at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., after assuming command on June 21, 2023.

Castro’s daughter, U.S. Air Force air battle manager Capt. Melissa “Peach” Castro, received orders to the 609th Air Operations Center (AOC), U.S. Air Forces Central with a report date of June 23, 2023. After a phone conversation with her mother, she was surprised to find out that she would be stationed at Shaw Air Force Base alongside her father, Col. Johannes Castro. U.S. Air Forces Central and U.S. Army Central are both headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base.

“Capt. Castro and I have the opportunity to sit in meetings together and work directly with the same leaders,” said Col. Castro, “This opportunity has been really special.”

The Castros’ military family history started with the Vietnam War, inspiring Col. Castro to serve at a young age. He and his wife, Marla, have four daughters, two of which currently serve in the military. The oldest, Capt. Castro, followed her father’s footsteps into military service, however, she decided to join the U.S. Air Force instead of the U.S. Army. Experiencing the military lifestyle at a young age nurtured her passion to serve. According to a survey conducted by the National Military Family Association in 2022, two-thirds of military dependent teens reported that they plan to serve in the military to follow their parents’ footsteps.

“I witnessed that the military provided a variety of opportunities such as travel and education,” said Capt. Castro, “The Army was not in my future because I grew an itch for aviation watching my grandfather build and fly planes.”

Both Castros’ careers work hand in hand. The 4th BCD serves as the U.S. Army liaison to the U.S. Air Force. Capt. Castro’s main job responsibility is to coordinate air support for USARCENT ground elements and other branches in support of U.S. Central Command. The 609th AOC provides operational-level command and control of air, space, and cyberspace operations.

“Both of us have been very involved early on in our careers with the joint military community,” said Capt. Castro. “We always joked around that at some point our paths would cross.”

“I plan to continue mentoring my daughter. I push her to chase her dreams,” said. Col. Castro.

Simultaneously, Capt. Castro said that she plans to grow in her career field and to one day take command like her father.