April 13, 2011
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By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - It will be a very special day at the ballpark Saturday, April 30, as the UCF baseball team will be hosting Military Appreciation Night against Houston at 4 p.m. Members of the Wounded Warrior Project, SSG William Castillo and SGT Noé Santos Diloné, will be throwing out the first pitch against the Cougars, and all military members with ID (active and veterans) will receive free admission.
Castillo was deployed to Iraq in 2007 as part of his second tour of duty. While on a mission to rescue Marines who were under attack April 27, 2007, Castillo's vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). While under heavy enemy fire, he fought his way back to the vehicle in an attempt to save fellow soldiers. Despite head trauma and numbing throughout his body, he courageously continued to fight.
During the battle, Castillo was shot five times - twice in the chest, once in the top of his head and once in the right leg. As he struggled to get back to the Humvee, he was struck again; however this round struck him under the chin and exited out his mouth. As he reached the driver of the burning vehicle, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) struck the Humvee and the shrapnel severed his left leg above the knee.
Castillo would spend almost two years at Walter Reed Medical Center in physical therapy to learn how to walk again. He also went through therapy for the traumatic brain injury he sustained as well as some loss of his vision. Castillo was, unfortunately, the only survivor from his vehicle. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and was nominated for the Bronze Star, and now lives in Orlando with his family
Santos Diloné was part of the 3rd Infantry Division in the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq Jan. 17, 2005, where he would later join the Division Support Brigade's Personal Security Team. Such team escorted the Brigade Commander and Command Sergeant Major to meetings in different Forward Operating Bases in Iraq.
On Sept. 6, 2005, while leading a convoy as the lead gunner, three IEDs triggered by laser went off hitting the lead vehicle killing two and injuring two others. Santos Diloné was thrown off the vehicle, which became airborne. He was quickly evacuated to the Green Zone in Baghdad and later transferred to a trauma center in Germany before finally making his way to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. His left leg was amputated at the hip.
Santos Diloné moved to Orlando and is currently enrolled in the Recording Arts program at Full Sail University.
Fans are encouraged to make their way to the park April 30 to honor these two brave soldiers.
Next month, UCF is teaming up with Operation Giveback, a new organization based in Orlando and composed of military veterans and their families, Department of Defense civilians and defense industry contractors, will host a day of road races May 14 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Runners, walkers and participants in wheelchairs are invited to sign up for 5K and 10K races which will be held at UCF. There will also be a short Kids Fun Run for children 10 and under.
The races, sponsored by Electronic Consulting Services, will start at 7 a.m. To register, go to www.operation-giveback.com/race-registration.
For that game with Houston, the Saturday Family 4 Pack will be on sale as it includes four tickets, four dogs, four drinks and four popcorns for just $40. And April 30 will feature a UCF baseball trading card giveaway.
The Knights are on the road this week as they take on East Carolina Friday-Sunday. They will be back home to host FAU April 19 and Florida April 20. For the home contests with the Owls and Gators, fans can purchase the Sunshine State 2-Pack which features one ticket to both games for only $12.