“Coach Eddie” Shares His Story

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Coginchaug girls volleyball coach and veteran Eddie Castano grew up in Dana Point, California, and served in the Marines for ten years. Growing up, Castano went to military school from second to ninth grade and realized he wanted to spend his early life in the Marines, enlisting as soon as he could.

Castano said, “Military School was a great experience.” It made him the independent person he is. In military school, he said you meet a lot of people, especially people you aren’t used to. “Every day we had a specific schedule,” he said. “We woke up at 5:30 a.m. for certain training before classes.”

He then went to a public high school and never felt like he belonged. “I didn’t have many friends in military school, and when I joined the Marines I became friends with others I was serving with.” He enlisted in the Marines to learn how to earn everything you have and to be himself.

Castano traveled everywhere, starting in boot camp in South Carolina and after graduating went to 2nd Battalion Unit 2-6, following into his next mission, Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Here he was assigned to Security Detail for Base Commander General Tryon in Parris Island, South Carolina.

Overall, Castano had a positive outcome and continued serving. His last place he went to was 3rd Battalion 1st Marines in the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned as the Platoon Sergeant.

After going through all of this, he loved it so much he reenlisted and received an Honorary Discharge in August of 2012. He was awarded the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal, and Castano’s name is displayed on the Hamden Wall of Veterans of War.

While stationed, Castano did not have a connection with family and friends. While serving, his parents moved to an unknown location, and he couldn’t keep in touch.

Coming home after having a strict schedule was a struggle. “Having freedom, eating normal food, etc. was a huge adjustment that I had to make,” Castano said.

In the time Castano was enlisted he learned to “appreciate the things [he had], to be able to understand the difference between having rights and having privileges, and understanding the difference between wanting and needing something.”

One message that Castano really wants to get out is an understanding of why we celebrate Veterans Day. People are sacrificing their lives to keep us all safe, and some people don’t even know why we celebrate these holidays or appreciate all of these mentally and physically strong people that serve. “Raising awareness and appreciating the courageous things that these soldiers and veterans do would be greatly appreciated by so many people,” Castano said.