DVIDS – News – Watching over your hometown: the story of a firefighter

Every city needs someone to watch it, but not all are blessed with their own superheroes. Laughlin Air Force Base, a small military base in a sleepy southwest Texas border town, has the next best thing: Raul Castorena.

The 47th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy fire chief and native of Del Rio, Texas, has been up to the task since he was a child in Laughlin.

“I grew up in Del Rio and went to elementary and high school here,” Castorena recalls. “My first job at the Air Force base was as a lifeguard in 1988, so I guess I had a penchant for the rescue. ”

After several months of working at the base’s pool, Castorena realized that her appetite for the protection of those around her could not be satisfied as a lifeguard. Instead, he decided to branch out and join the Marine Corps.

“My whole family is in the military,” Castorena explained. “My grandfather, my father… I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Thousands of miles from this sun-drenched Texas pool, Raul couldn’t help but get his feet wet and save people.

“On a Navy ship, I carried out rescue missions in the Marine Corps,” Casterna said. “In Yugoslavia, I went down and rescued Italian pilots who fell. I was shot and that’s when they gave me my quote (price).

After fulfilling her four-year commitment in the Marine Corps, Castorena found herself on the island of Guam with little direction. He briefly took a delivery job before finding his next call or, more specifically, he found it.

“I was delivering a package to the human resources office and it was written, ‘firefighters wanted, no experience required, military background,’” Castorena said. “So I filled out (an application) while waiting to deliver the package, and the next day I got a call telling me that they were offering me the job. “

Fate had given Raul a chance to become a firefighter and he seized the opportunity. He fought the fires in Guam for three years, but eventually got tired of island life and asked to be reassigned to his hometown.

“I wanted to be close to my family,” Castorena remembers. “I wanted to go back to the states I came from, and that’s when I requested a transfer to Laughlin.”

Today in Laughlin, Raul earned the honor of being named Deputy Fire Chief. He finds himself passing on his decades of vital knowledge and experience to the next generation of firefighters.

“He stays above us to move our health and safety business forward. Remarked Thomas Whitman, firefighter with 47 Civil Engineer Squadron, “He keeps us up to date and is super nice and is a good leader and guide.”

“He’s a good leader,” said Miguel Chacon, chief firefighter of the 47th Civil Engineer Squadron. “He applies all the rules and he cares about everyone. He’s just a caring guy.

Finding his vocation, Raul Castorena has enabled many aviators to save lives and help develop the various fire departments he has joined over the years.

“What I love most about being a firefighter is that you are always there and helping people. I like it, ”said the Deputy Fire Chief. “I’ve always liked it since I started doing the job, it makes you happy.”

So, Laughlin might not have a superhero, but the base has Raul Castorena on the watch. And it’s not too ugly.

Date taken: 20.09.2021
Date posted: 20.09.2021 15:56
Story ID: 405640
Site: DEL RIO, Texas, United States

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About Mark A. Tomlin

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