Vice President of the International Federation of Korean War Veterans Associations (IFKWVA) Dead From Leukemia At 83
Brigadier General Bienvenido R. Castro, F016129, a highly decorated combat veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam who spent his final years working for the welfare of Korea War veterans, died from leukemia on August 17th at his home in the Philippines. He was 83.
Castro served in Korea as a 2nd Lieutenant and forward observer in the field artillery battery of the 20th BCT, the second BCT sent to Korea. The 20th fought in battles against communist North Koreans and Chinese along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in which artillery firepower was a dominant factor.
In Vietnam, Castro served in the Philippine Civic Action Group (PHILCAG) stationed in Tay Ninh Province. Castro was a guerilla in World War II and a member of the UP Vanguard. He was also a member of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines.
Castro was president of the PEFTOK Veterans Association, Inc. (PVAI) from 1998 until his death. He was also First Vice President of the International Federation of Korean War Veterans Associations (IFKWA) and worked for the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.
PEFTOK (the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea) consisted of five battalion combat teams (BCTs) that fought in the Korea War (1950-53) and helped police South Korea from 1954-55 following the signing of the Armistice in 1953.
Brigadier General Castro's term as PEFTOK President was marked by sustained efforts to increase benefits received by Korea War veterans. Out of the 7,000 Philippine Army officers and men who served in Korea, less than 3,000 remain alive today.
His body lies in state at the St. Ignatius Mortuary in Camp Aguinaldo, Manila. Interment will be on August 25.
General Castro is survived by his wife, Aurora, eight children and 17 grandchildren.
I met and worked with General Castro many times in SEOUL as well as through correspondence. We both enjoyed discussing our Special Forces experiences. He had a tender heart for suffering veterans in the other UN allied forces from the Korea War. We will miss his keen leadership. The Korea War and Korea Service Veterans of the United States mourn the loss of this gallant comrade and offer our prayers and sympathy to his family in their time of sorrow.
Louis T Dechert
(Details courtesy Philippine Press Association)