The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SP4 Andrew Thomas Castelda, who died in the service of his country on March 12th, 1967 in Kontum Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Multi-Frag. At the time of his death Andrew was 19 years of age. He was from Arlington, Virginia. Andrew is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 16E, Line 71.
The decorations earned by SP4 Andrew Thomas Castelda include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star with V, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
(Excerpt from his obituary, Tuesday March 21, 1967)
Army Sp4 Andrew T Castelda, 19, of Arlington, Virginia, was buried yesterday in Arlington National Cemetery. He was killed March 12 by enemy fire in Vietnam.
A rifleman and small arms specialist, he was a member of Company A, 2/35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. He had been in Vietnam for one month.
He entered the Army in February 1966 and rose to the rank of Specialist Fourth Class in less than nine months service.
He served as acting sergeant last August during a demonstration of counterattack techniques at Fort Hood, Texas, and was commended by the Secretary of The Army for his performance.
"Sp4 Castelda expertly led his squad in an assault on a position, consolidated the position, and withstood a counter attack by other soldiers in aggressor uniform."
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Sp4 Castelda attended St. Thomas Moore School, Kenmore Junior High School and graduated from Wakefield High School in 1965 where he was a member of the track team.
(His BSV Citation)
Award Of The Bronze Star For Heroism
For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: Specialist Four Castelda distinguished himself by heroic action on 12 Match 1967, while serving as a rifleman in the 2nd Platoon of A, 2/35th Infantry, which was one a search and destroy mission in Kontum Province near the Cambodian border. The unit was subjected to a massive barrage of small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar rounds by a multi-battalion size enemy force. The 3rd Platoon had several members seriously wounded and in order to evacuate them, needed the help of the 2nd Platoon. Specialist Four Castelda unhesitatingly volunteered to accompany a squad to the 3rd Platoon's position. In order to reach them, he knew he would have to risk his life crossing 300 meters of open, enemy-held territory. As he neared his objective, moving quickly, he suddenly found himself pinned down by an intense volume of automatic weapons and mortar fire. Specialist Four Castelda realized that some of his comrades were in a position exposed to an enemy bunker, and unless they were able to move, it was just a matter of time before they would be shot. In an effort to give them that chance to move, Specialist Four Castelda, in the face of a hail of enemy bullets, rose up, completely exposing himself to the enemy, and began running to another position. His movement immediately drew the enemy's attention and Specialist Four Castelda was hit with shrapnel and mortally wounded. He held the enemy's attention long enough for the other members of the squad to move out and safely reach their objective. Specialist Four Castelda's exceptional display of bravery, devotion to duty and determination is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.