Rear Admiral Joseph "Pepe" Castillo assumed his duties as Deputy Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area in August 2012. Prior to this assignment he served as the Eleventh District Commander, responsible for a 3.3 million square mile Area of Responsibility extending from Oregon to Ecuador that included safeguarding our nation’s largest maritime port complex and policing the Eastern Pacific’s maritime drug trafficking routes.
RADM Castillo’s previous Flag Assignments include Director of Response Policy (CG-53) in Coast Guard Headquarters. There, he oversaw the development of strategic doctrine and policy guidance for Coast Guard forces to effectively and efficiently accomplish operational maritime missions in the areas of law enforcement, search and rescue, counterterrorism and defense operations, incident management and preparedness, and the contingency exercises program.
Rear Admiral Castillo previously served as Chief of Staff for the 9th Coast Guard District in Cleveland, Ohio and commanded Group New Orleans, Louisiana. As the 8th District Chief of Operations in New Orleans, he was instrumental in leading the Coast Guard’s efforts to rescue and evacuate over 33,500 people from New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama coasts following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Rear Admiral Castillo has spent the majority of his career in operational assignments, alternating such duty with staff tours in a variety of locations. Special duty assignments included Officer in Charge of Forward Operating Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during Operation Able Manner and Coast Guard Liaison Officer on the Multi-National Force in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy.
Following his graduation from Sherman E. Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, California, Rear Admiral Castillo attended the Coast Guard Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Management, in 1978. He also holds a Master of Science in Industrial Relations and a Professional Certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and currently attends the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security Executive Leader’s Program.
His personal decorations include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Meritorious Service Medal with “O” Device (two awards), the Coast Guard Commendation Medal with “O” Device (six awards), the Army Commendation Medal, the 9-11 Medal, and numerous other awards including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Boat Forces Insignia, and the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge. He has also been recognized with selection as a Kentucky Colonel, and two awards from the Association of Naval Service Officers: the Secretary Hidalgo Award in 2008, and the Legacy in Leadership and Vision Award in May of 2011.