LANSING, MI – Thirteen service members from Michigan have died in combat since Memorial Day last year. Petty Officer Third Class Ben Castiglione of Howell was one of them. He was killed by an I-E-D in Afghanistan. His father, Joel Castiglione, his mother, Carrie Castiglione, and his stepmother, Gloria Castiglione, remembered their son at a memorial ceremony at the state Capitol.
J - "He was born in 1988. He was supposed to be a girl, supposedly. He was really full of life. Loving."
J - "We're a mixed family and he just accepted everybody as they were blood. You know what I mean?"
J - "He called me one day and he says Dad, I'm going to join the Navy' and I go Well the Navy, that's okay, huh?' I says Your college is all paid for, you don't need to do that.' He goes I need something else here.' He says I'm going to be a Navy Corpsman."
G - "The sad thing is, this was Ben's niche. He found something that he loved, and he just loved doing it."
C - "My name is Carrie Castiglione."
C - "He was an animal lover. I always pictured him actually becoming a veterinarian. But he was just a very caring person. We have a lot of people in the medical field, I'm in the medical field, and I think it was just pretty natural for him."
J - "He would call and tell us I'm working, I'm doing the Navy training, and I'm doing the Marine training, and I told them I'm going to sweep these buildings with the Marines. I got to know exactly what they're doing."
C - "One young man told me it was very important for your son to teach the other Marines field-combat medicine. Cause he said if anything else happened, a blast happened or something happened, and the Corpsman were down, these Marines would need to know what to do.' And he said he was relentless. He would bring them in at night, train them on weekends. And they kept telling him they don't need to know this much, and he would say No they do. They need to know this stuff.' And the day he was killed, that's exactly what happened."
J - "You know, he always had this mindset that if he was taken out, people needed to know how to do emergency medicine. And unfortunately, the horror happened where he was taken. But he ended up, because of his dedication and the way he was adamant about training everybody, he saved a lot of lives."
C - "I had just talked to him and he had said Mom, you need to quit worrying so much about me. There's nothing going on, nothing's going to happen to me. Then, less than 24 hours later, they knocked on the door. And when they came around the side of the house there was the Navy officer and the chaplain. And they said I'm sorry to inform you.' And I knew. I knew. You know, I thought after a couple seconds, Well maybe they're just here to tell me he's hurt.' But I just knew. I knew."
C - "He was our only child."
[Senator Cherry reading Ben Castiglione, name and rank]
["Taps" fade out]