Veterans Appreciation Lunch Recognizes Heroes

Veterans Appreciation Lunch Recognizes Heroes

2022 Field of Honor Heroes (from left) Fabian “OJ” Sosa, Angela Valentine, Pedro Castillo and Peter Castillo. Photo by Rotarian Doreen Tate.

Murrieta’s Rotary Club hosted its annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon at the 14th annual Murrieta Field of Honor Monday, Nov. 7, while recognizing a World War II veteran and his son (a Viet Nam-era veteran), a Marine from Afghanistan experience and an Air Force retiree still serving as an ROTC instructor.

Hundreds of military veterans, their friends and family dined among the 2,022 flags at the Field of Honor in Town Square Park.  With theme of “Who’s Your Hero?” the Murrieta service club has sought Hero nominations from friends and family for special recognition.  This year’s honorees included:

Pedro Ledesma Castillo and Peter Edward Castillo: 

World War II veteran Pedro Castillo enlisted in the US Army in August 1944 and was sent to the Philippines with the 7th Infantry which was involved in combat to liberate the country.  A bullet grazed Pete in the head and he received numerous medals for his service there.  He left the military in November 1946 as Private First Class.  Today he lives in Hemet.

Pedro’s son, Peter Castillo, enlisted in the US Army in 1966 at 17 years old to fight in the Vietnam War and attended Airborne Training with the 1st Special Forces Group and was assigned with the 5th and 24th Infantry Divisions. With the 5th Infantry, young Pete ended up on Okinawa performing logistics functions in support of the Vietnam War.  He left the Army as a Sergeant E5 after a three-year stint.

Fabian “OJ” Sosa

Master Sergeant Sosa served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps for 23 years including several assignments overseas, combat operations in Afghanistan and a tour of duty as a Drill Instructor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He retired in 2008 from 1st Marine Division with the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion aboard Camp Pendleton where he served as the Operations Chief for his unit.  Following his retirement MSgt Sosa started Tactical Global Solutions Corp. (TGS), a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business.  TGS supports the mission of our military, law enforcement, first responders and federal agencies with equipment, logistics, services and training. TGS has 54 employees and recruits their employees from transitioning military members, retired veterans and law enforcement officers.  MSgt Sosa believes in giving back to the community; his company supports organizations like the West Coast Drill Instructors Association, Waves Project and Warfighter Made, which support veterans and their families.  When not at work or giving back, MSgt Sosa enjoys quality time with his family and close friends.  MSgt Sosa and his wife, Frances, have two children, a son Ulysses (an active-duty Marine Major) and daughter Viviana.

Angela Valentine

Air Force Chief MSgt (retired from active duty since 2013) Valentine is currently an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Vista Murrieta High School.  She brings over 30 years of leadership, training and mentoring experience to her work with the 220 students in Vista’s AFJROTC program.  She also earned a bachelor of arts in Social Science and a master of science in psychology counseling. During her active-duty years, she served in Alaska, Florida, New Mexico, Arkansas, California and South Carolina as well as overseas in Korea, Panama, Italy and Turkey.  She was deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield and to Germany in support of Operation Deny Flight.

In addition to teaching full-time, Chief MSgt guides several special programs giving cadets opportunities such as Honor Guard, Color Guard, competitive Drill Team and Pass & Review ceremonies.  Under her leadership, the Honor Guard team salutes Air Force veterans by providing monthly funeral honors at Riverside National Cemetery.

The 2022 Field of Honor will be on display until Sunday, Nov. 13, and is free to the public.  Flags may be dedicated to personal heroes for $35 with the flag being available for pick up on Saturday or Sunday, Nov. 12 or until noon on Nov. 13.  The Field is presented as a community service by the Rotary Club of Murrieta in partnership with the City of Murrieta and is held in Town Square Park, located just two blocks off of I-15, and stretching from City Hall at Jefferson and Kalmia streets, to the Murrieta Library.