The daughter of an Army veteran who served in World War II is seeking the Purple Heart after his death.
Amado L. Castro died 15 years ago at the age of 80 after a long life but his daughter’s quest to honor him continues on this Veterans Day.
Cynthia Franco said her father, who died Oct. 5, 2004, was drafted at the age of 18 and sent overseas at 19 with the 79th Infantry Division. The division sent him to England by boat about a month or so before the invasion of Normandy.
From there, they made their way to Utah Beach, one of the landings of Normandy, where they experienced heavy fighting.
The men made their way toward Cherbourg, France, and then got to Sainte-Mère-Église, the first town to fall when the war started. While trying to go over some hedge rows, they hit the ground trying to avoid being shot. Her father, however, was injured.
Franco said her father told her years later that he felt a sting in his left leg but it wasn’t until he took off his boot later that evening that he saw blood on his sock.
Franco, however, did not know the details of her father’s war experience until about 1995 when doctors were getting ready to amputate his leg due to complications from diabetes. An X-ray revealed her father had a metal fragment in the lower part of his leg.
“My dad said he just kept going and didn’t say anything to anybody,” she said. “He was not the type of person to complain. He was 19 and he just wanted to get home to his family.”
Her father served for two years and came home after the war. But he always struggled with pain in his leg. He worked in the railroad and in packaging and was a hard worker all his life, she said.
“It’s important to me because all these years he had problems with his leg. Eventually they had to take it out,” she said. “He had that metal all that time and he never complained. I think he deserves to have the Purple Heart.”
Franco said she didn’t know about the medal given to those who have been wounded in combat or killed in action until she saw former Iraq prisoner of war Shoshana Johnson receive the Purple Heart.
“My dad explained why people get the Purple Heart and it just dawned on me,” she said. “I just want what is due to him. That injury affected the rest of his life.”
Franco said at one time she contacted then U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes’ office and was aided by his veterans’ consultant. But the Purple Heart was denied because Castro didn’t report it.
A representative from U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar’s office in El Paso said they were familiar with the case and said unfortunately nothing could be done because the request for a Purple Heart had already been denied by the Department of Defense.
© 2019 the El Paso Times
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