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Albert Atanacio Castro, 62, of La Plata died Oct. 13, 2012, after suffering a fall while hunting near his home.

He was born in Gallup, N.M., to Atanacio and Lola Castro.

He graduated from Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, N.M., and joined the U.S. Navy in August 1968.

He had a distinguished 23-year naval career. His first operational tour was with VP-4 Skinny Dragons in Barbers Point, Hawaii. He logged more than 500 hours of dedicated combat missions including many searches and refugee operations. Additional duty stations included: NAS North Island in San Diego, Calif., VP-19 Big Red at NAS Moffett Field, Calif., Naval Air Development Center (NADC), Warminster, Pa., Oceanographic Development Squadron VXN-8 and Naval Aviation Maintenance Office (NAMO) at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. His awards and decorations include two Strike Flight Air Medals, Navy Achievement, Navy Expeditionary, Armed Forces Expeditionary, two Vietnam service medals, and numerous other citations and commendations.

Typical of his devotion to duty, he took great pride in his civilian career. He proudly continued to serve the Navy and his country as a DOD contractor supporting air-to-air weapons for Aviation Trainings Systems Command. In 2008 he became program manager for Acquisition and Life Cycle Support of the HARM Weapons System for the Naval Air Weapons Center at Patuxent River. He was a patriot, an unsung hero, always prepared to serve the Navy and the United States of America. Recently, he and his teammates were on board several naval vessels upgrading equipment as his comrades ventured into harmís way.

He was a life member of the Association of Aviation Ordinancemen, Plankowner of Chapter 22, Patuxent River, and also served on the AAO National Board of Directors. In addition, he was a proud member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, prior Post 2632 Senior Vice Commander; the Military Order of the Cooties; the Fleet Reserve Association Branch 093; American Legion; VP-4 Association; the NRA; and the St. Charles Sportsmanís Club. He loved his devoted dog, Rocky.

He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Patricia; brothers, Frank Castro of Paige,Texas, Anthony Castro and Timothy Castro of Albuquerque, N.M.; sisters, Josephine Martinez of Clearfield, Utah, Marie Baca of Fort Worth, Texas, Florence Otis, Elizabeth Sumruld, and Dolores Torres of Albuquerque, N.M., and Kathy Martin of Dalles, Ore.; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation and funeral service were Oct. 18 at Brinsfield-Echols Funeral Home.

Interment followed.

Memorial contributions may be made to VFW National Home for Children, 3573 South Waverly Road, Eaton Rapids, Michigan 48827-9799, or at www.vfwnationalhome.org.