Gold Star Mother Lost Her Only Son in Mosul, Iraq, on Dec. 21, 2004.

DESERT HOT SPRINGS — Gold Star Mother Vickie Castro of Corona will highlight the 18th annual Peace Day Awards Ceremony on Thursday Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. The awards ceremony will be held at Miracle Springs Resort in Desert Hot Springs. The event is free and open to the public. Light food and beverages will be served.

Vickie Castro is a retired math teacher at Centennial High School in Corona where her only child, Jonathan Castro, graduated in 2001. Jonathan Castro enlisted in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of Army Specialist. Jonathan Castro, 21, died in Mosul, Iraq, when an Iraqi civilian suicide bomber who worked for the U.S. military on the base entered his dining facility and set off an explosive on Dec. 21, 2004.

Vickie received a phone call from an Army base commander in Iraq who offered her his condolences. The base commander had recently told the news media that it would be too cumbersome for the U.S. military to vet Iraqi’s who come on the military base.  Vickie told this Army commander that he had lax security and there had been dereliction of duties in her son’s tragic death.

Vickie has become a well-known Gold Star Mother.  She has been featured on national television.  Her son’s funeral mass was covered by PBS News Hour.  She is featured in the documentary “Arlington West.” She has attended the American Gold Star Mothers Inc. National Convention the past several years and served on the national board of directors.  She has been honored by Veterans for Peace with the 2008 Peace Day Award

Vickie Castro has become a strong advocate for peace.   She has traveled across the country giving speeches and attending public events.  She has spoken at many high schools and rallies.  Vickie has raised money to help build the Fisher House at the Long Beach VA Hospital.

She maintains a Facebook page in memory of her son.  Vickie Castro gave permission for the local Chapter of Veterans for Peace to name the local chapter of Veterans for Peace in memory of her son.  She also authorized the establishment of the Jon Castro educational scholarship fund.  Jon Castro’s name appears on the Peace Poles we have dedicated in the Inland Empire.

Vickie was married to the late George Castro for more than 32 years.


Image Sources

  • Vickie Castro: Photo courtesy of Vickie Castro