SGT Vietnam Paratrooper – Episode 10
Masjed Soleymān SGT Fred Castaneda is a proud veteran Paratrooper who served in Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division commonly referred to as the Americal Division. https://americal.org/cmsaml/ The Americal Division is a contraction of “American, New Caledonian Division”. This was unusual, as most U.S. divisions are known by a number. After World War II the Americal Division was officially re-designated as the 23rd Infantry Division. However, it was rarely referred to as such, even on official orders.
The link below is a short biography of SGT Castaneda recorded by the University of Texas at Austin by the Voces Oral History Project back on January 18, 2010.
Fred was drafted and like a lot of draftees he tried to control a little of his own destiny by volunteering to be a Paratrooper. He paints the picture very well in explaining how even though he scored very high on his entrance exam he was given very few options because he was not a United States Citizen. He made the best out of a not so good situation.
I am learning after just my 10th interview, Fred was not different from many veterans, he moved on quickly after he was discharged and put his time in the military behind him, he jumped with both feet into being a very successful civilian, son, husband and father. After two decades Fred landed in the heart of the Army which is North Carolina, the home of the 82nd Airborne, XVIII Airborne Corps, FORSCOM, and the US Army Special Operations Command. He had some time on his hands and decided to visit a recruiting office and there his passion returned as a Soldier & Paratrooper.
Fred is dealing with complications from Agent Orange & PTSD. Hi days are now spent like a lot of veterans who served in Vietnam at the Veterans Administration Hospital. His stories about the media resonated with me all too well and his stories about being a PIG Gunner (this is the affectionate name given to the M60 Machine Gun) was very well told.
You will hear that SGT Fred Castaneda has an excellent radio / podcast voice and if you would like to hear more from Fred he hosts his own podcast at the http://podcastreporter.com/. He has helped me as a fledgling podcaster get off the ground.
Start – Fred is drafted while in College
3m:15s – Volunteered for Airborne along with his buddy
4m.20s – Talk about Fred’s Bio from University of Texas
8m.1s – Why Fred joined the Airborne
12m.15s – Coming Home from Vietnam
18m.43s – Recondo School Instructor
22m.17s – Yom Kippur War,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War
24m.38s – Failed Recruiting Program
26m.44s – Arrived in Vietnam
29m.50s – Injured on an airborne operation at Nijmegen drop zone
33m.15s – Parachute Redeployment Duty
36m.19s – Resurgence in pride & honor of being a Paratrooper
39m. 6s – Adjusting to Civilian Life
42m.45s – Myths around the Army
45m.323s – Engaging the Enemy in Vietnam & Friendly Fire
50m.58s – Dealing with the Media (or as Fred calls it the LAME STREAM MEDIA)
52M.17S – Respect for the Helicopter Pilots & Medics
53m.28s – Best & worst experience in Army
58m.19s – Humorist stories it pass along
1h.03m.27s – Follow up on serious moments
1h.0m.25s – Donut Dolly – Red Cross
1h.15.42 – What does your career look like today
1h.18m3s – Parting thought – A line from the movie Batan
1h.19m – Closing Comments