U.S. Army soldier 1LT Dimitri del Castillo is shown with his wife Katie Pulliam del Castillo in this photo from Facebook.
Tampa, Florida - A 24-year-old soldier from Tampa was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend, but his father says his son wouldn't want people to dwell on his death instead he'd want everyone to throw their support behind the troops still fighting.
The Department of Defense says Army Soldier 1st Lieutenant Dimitri del Castillo died from wounds he suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire on June 25 in Kunar province, Afghanistan.
Castillo was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
His father, Carlos del Castillo, who lives in Tampa says, "He was very much at peace doing what he was doing. He knew he was in God's hands and not worried. He wasn't worried."
Carlos says his son knew the risk, but wanted to serve his country. Dimitri was inspired by his uncle who is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Dimitri wanted to follow in his footsteps. Carlos says, "He earned his Airborne patch at the academy and then, after he graduated, went on to officer training school through the Army and then on to Ranger school and became a Ranger."
Dimitri joined the Army on May 23, 2009. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal and the NATO Medal.
He was deployed to Afghanistan back in April.
Dimitri del Castillo was married. He met his wife, Katie, at West Point. She is also a 1st Lieutenant in the Army and is stationed in Afghanistan. Carlos says the couple had a chance to see each other on Dimitri's birthday which was on June 9.
He says although the two got married at City Hall in Tampa they were planning a big church wedding in 2012 in Tampa. Here's an engagement announcement in the Rockdale Citizen.
Carlos says his son lived his life to the fullest but was always pushing himself to try new things, but he adds he always put his fellow soldiers needs first. "He wanted to lead his men in combat and do his best to try to help them achieve the mission and get back home safely."
He says a way to honor and help the troops is to donate to The Fisher House Program that supports America's military in their time of need.
Tammie Fields, 10 News