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    Highlighting heritage: Petty Officer 3rd Class Cassandra Castillo

    Hispanic Heritage Month - Petty Officer Cassandra Castillo

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero | Petty Officer 3rd Class Cassandra Castillo, a health services technician at Coast...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero 

    U.S. Coast Guard District 13

    By Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero

    Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Cassandra Castillo's dream to work in the medical field began when she was a little girl. Growing up, she was passionate about helping others but did not know how to find opportunities to begin a career where she could serve others.

    Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, Castillo’s family focused on ensuring Castillo and her siblings assimilated to American culture, school, and keeping a safe home to sleep in at night. When Castillo was young, planning for her future was not a priority as she focused on adjusting to life and fitting in at school as a fourth-generation Mexican-American.

    Castillo said school was often a struggle, despite having teachers who worked to help Castillo build a bright future.

    “My school was extremely underfunded and had limited electives,” she said. “Our teachers tried to the best of their ability to do what they could to help give us opportunities and encourage us not to give up on what we wanted for our futures.”

    As high school neared an end, Castillo began looking at her career options. She knew her family could not afford college, and saw the military as a path to a better future. Castillo found the Coast Guard attractive because of how small the service is and how closely the service’s humanitarian-based missions align with her personal desire to help others.

    “I joined the Coast Guard to gain independence and because I am passionate about helping people,” said Castillo. “I like that serving in the Coast Guard gives me all the tools I need to fulfill my purpose, and gives me a brighter future while helping others.”

    Today, as a health services technician at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Castillo cares for the health and readiness of the Coast Guard’s first responders in the Pacific Northwest. She said it’s the best job, since she serves people on a one-to-one level and is paving herself a path even farther into medicine.

    Castillo joined the Coast Guard in 2017 and said she has always felt welcome at her Coast Guard units, but admits she struggles with the lack of diversity in her current duty station’s community.

    “My biggest challenge is not being around more people who can relate to my background and heritage,” she said. “Texas is incredibly diverse. It's challenging not being around people who look or sound like me, but my shipmates always do their best to make me feel like I’m at home.”

    Castillo credits the Coast Guard in helping advance her confidence and professional skills. She said she is proud of where she came from and how far she’s come in developing her communication skills.

    “What I have the most pride in is knowing I am making my parents proud,” said Castillo. “I do everything for them. I’m really happy I was able to pave my way to a better future, and am thankful for the opportunities serving in the Coast Guard has provided me.”



    Date Taken: 09.24.2021
    Date Posted: 09.24.2021 18:28
    Story ID: 406031
    Location: WARRENTON, OR, US 

    Web Views: 166
    Downloads: 0