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Army Staff Sgt. Roland L. Castro

Died January 16, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


26, of San Antonio, Texas; assigned to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 12th Field Artillery, based at Fort Sill, Okla.; died from a non-hostile gunshot wound, Jan. 16, in Camp Cedar II, Iraq.

Texas family remembers soldier killed

By Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — After being sent to Texas over the summer with relatively minor hand injuries, Army Staff Sgt. Roland Castro told his mother he had to return to Iraq.

“’I’ve got to bring my soldiers back safely,’” Castro’s mother, Hope Soriano, recalled him saying at Brooke Army Medical Center in June. Within weeks he was again leading his field artillery unit near Baghdad.

On Tuesday, the Department of Defense identified the 26-year-old from San Antonio as having died Friday of a non-hostile gunshot wound in Camp Cedar II, Iraq.

Castro was the kind of father who happily played dress-up with his 4-year-old daughter, Raquel Lee.

“It didn’t matter what kind of day he’d had,” his cousin, B.J. Ramos, told the San Antonio Express-News. “He’d sit and have tea with her and her Barbies.”

By early January, half of Castro’s unit had made it safely back to Kuwait. He told his wife, Liliana, that he should be back in San Antonio by March.

Friday, the chaplain came to Liliana Castro’s door. Military officials told the family Castro was accidentally shot as they searched a bunker.

Choking back tears, Soriano said that despite her profound loss, she is not angry.

“This is what he loved to do,” she said. “He was so proud of being a soldier.”

Roland Castro, who entered the Army in 1996, considered himself a career military man.

When he was deployed to Iraq in April, his family moved back to San Antonio from Fort Sill, Okla., where they had been stationed.

When Roland flunked his junior year at Roosevelt High School, he took classes at Fox Tech at night to make up for the lost year. He wanted to graduate with his class, which he did in 1995.

Castro was assigned to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 12th Field Artillery at Fort Sill.

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