I am always amazed when I hear about wounded warriors who have turned into rock star adaptive athletes. Ivan Castro is one of those rock stars. Marathons and extreme races are challenging enough, now imagine running it blind; having to use your other senses to not only pace yourself but avoid the unseen hazards around you. Ivan Castro mentioned in the SOFREP Radio Podcast that since being injured he has run over 60 marathon races to include the Boston Marathon in 2013 and two 50 mile races.
I recently read “Fighting Blind- A Green Beret’s Story of Extraordinary Courage” by Ivan Castro and Jim DeFelice which not only details Major Ivan Castro’s struggles of being robbed of his sight by a mortar round in Iraq but also takes you into the mind of a recovering veteran that had to face life in a whole new way.
Members of the SOF community are often known for their ‘never quit’ drive, that not only got them through their selection process but also through dangerous missions. While going through the Q course, Castro states in his book,
There were dozens of tests like that, each different, each assessing more than the skills they were calling on. They assessed your resourcefulness, patience, willingness to push yourself.
I kept pushing. I saw a goal in front of me—joining Special Forces—and I wanted to achieve it. One more goal, one more achievement. Whatever it took.”
It is this drive that carried Castro throughout his time in SF as well as when he was going through a painful recovery after the mortar attack. Realizing that his normal goals and way of life no longer existed, he set out to make new ones. The mortar round took his sight but it did not take his limbs or mobility like so many other veterans returning from war. This realization was crucial for turning around his perspective on life. Running became his new focus and he thrived at it. Running not only helped him recover from his physical injuries but in the long run it helped him stay in the active duty army as a Green Beret. He completed his maneuver captains career course and served in SF leadership positions after becoming blind, which is absolutely amazing! The great thing about this book is that it also demonstrates the camaraderie and closeness within the Special Forces community. As Castro said, “Once you are SF, you are family.”
This inspiring book will take you through the missions leading up to his last combat mission, through his recovery, and once again enjoying life after being blind. A great read for aspiring Special Forces soldiers as well as those veterans recovering from life changing injuries.
“Fighting Blind- A Green Beret’s Story of Extraordinary Courage” by Ivan Castro and Jim DeFelice is now available on Amazon today.