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Jay Castro - Vietnam War

Raymon (Jay) Castro grew up in the Mississippi River town of Savanah, Illinois, the son of Mexican immigrant parents. Jay excelled in athletics in high school, then enlisted in the Navy in 1966, becoming a frogman (the precursor to the Navy SEALs). In late 1967-early 1968 he participated in operations off the coast of northern South Vietnam. Castro returned to Vietnam in mid-1969, this time serving for fifteen months on a river patrol boat in South Vietnam's delta region. During that tour Castro was wounded once and received two bronze stars. After his service in Vietnam, Castro became an artist, and also joined a SEAL Team in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

Interview Links

Feature Except-Audio

A Seal's Biggest Fear

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Growing up in Savannah and training as a Navy frogman

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

First tour in Vietnam as frogman and leave in the U.S.

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Second tour in delta region of S. Vietnam on a river patrol boat


Photos

Caption
Underwater Demolition Team Replacement Accession (UDTRA) (Basic Underwater Demolition) trainees are conducting training at Coronado Cays mud flats.

Where:
Coronado, California

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
UDT trainees scuba dive off Point Loma, San Diego. Castro went through the training in early 1967.

Where:
San Diego, California

When:
Early 1967

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
The parachute locker at Coronado, circa 1967.

Where:
Coronado, California

When:
Circa 1967

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
UDT trainees practicing drop and pick up extraction techniques at the school in Coronado, California.

Where:
Coronado, California

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
This replica of a river patrol boat was at the Coronado Boat Museum near San Diego, California.

Where:
San Diego, California

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Jay Castro is ready to don an MK V hard hat while attending the Deep Sea Diving School at Coronado, California circa 1967.

Where:
Coronado, California

When:
Circa 1967

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
A typical river patrol boat, similar to the one that Jay Castro served on while patrolling the Mekong River during his second tour of duty to South Vietnam in 1968.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1968

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
Castro’s SEAL platoon members on Sea Float, a floating logistics base, on the Mekong River in South Vietnam. The platoon suffered losses just before returning home.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Jay Castro, on the left, and Tony, a fellow student, attended the 9th Infantry Division’s sniper school in Dong Tam, South Vietnam in 1968.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1968

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Jay poses before a sign for the 9th Infantry Division’s Sniper School at Dong Tam, South Vietnam in 1968.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1968

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
The crew’s living quarters on the Sea Float were heavily sandbagged to protect from enemy mortar and small arms fire. Circa 1968 on the Mekong River.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
Circa 1968

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
As a crewman on a river patrol boat, Castro had occasions to use his recently acquired sniper skills.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Circa 1968

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt awarded a Navy Commendation medal to Gunners Mate 3rd Class Jay Castro at the U.S. naval installation at Ving Long, South Vietnam. Castro was awarded for his actions against the enemy in September and October, 1968.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
Circa 1968

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Petty Officer Castro and a fellow patrol boat crew member in between patrols on the Mekong River in 1969.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1969

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Castro with river boat crewmates take a moment to relax on the Sea Float, the ship that served as a logistical base for the unit while operating in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam in 1969. Jay is in the center.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1969

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
The patrol boats were armed, among other weapons, with twin .50 caliber machine guns. Castro is pointing his bayonet toward several bullet holes.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
Circa 1968

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
“Always the kids,” commented Jay Castro when reflecting on this photo. His buddy Vance and Jay enjoyed spending time with them on the beach in 1969.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1969

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
A line of gun patrol boats are getting ready for a night patrol on the Mekong River in 1969.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
1969

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
The Rockford Register-Star carried this article on the occasion of Jay Castro being awarded the first of two Bronze Stars (for valor) on May 31, 1970.

Where:
Rockford Register Star

When:
May 31, 1970

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ramon John (Jay) Castro in his dress uniform circa 1998. He finally retired from the Reserves in 1998. Note the SEAL team insignia above his ribbons, and the Navy parachute insignia below them.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Circa 1998

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Jay (in full dress uniform) and Georgann Castro enjoying a day at the beach in the 2000s.

Where:
Unknown

When:
2000's

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
The Yard Repair Berthing and Messing ship (YRBM 20) was used by the brown water navy during Petty Officer Castro’s time in Vietnam while serving on a river patrol boat.

Where:
South Vietnam

When:
Circa 1968-1969

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
SEAL Team 8 members of the Navy Reserves, along with SEAL Team 4 members at a Chicago air show, circa early 1990s.

Where:
Chicago, Illinois

When:
circa early 1990s

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Jay with a scale model of his statue of Abraham Lincoln during the Black Hawk War. The full sized statue will be erected at the Black Hawk War Memorial outside the village of Kent, west of Freeport, Illinois. Circa 2015.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Circa 2015

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Petty Officer 3-C Castro proudly shows his mother, Maria Castro, the bronze star for bravery he received while serving on a patrol boat in South Vietnam in 1969. Lt. Commander William Elliot, commander of the Rockford area USN Reserve Center, officiated.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
A UDT member rappelling while Jay Castro was in Okinawa.

Where:
Okinawa, Japan

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo



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