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Campus Airman honored by Colombian Air Force

MIAMI - Colombian Air Force Lt. Edgardo J. Villamizar pins the Colombian Air Defense and Air Navigation medal here, March 4 on U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Juan P. Castro, assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Betty J. Squatrito-Martin/Released)

MIAMI - Colombian Air Force Lt. Edgardo J. Villamizar pins the Colombian Air Defense and Air Navigation medal here, March 4 on U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Juan P. Castro, assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Betty J. Squatrito-Martin/Released)

MIAMI -- Master Sgt. Juan P. Castro, with the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, was among six Airmen here March 4 that the Colombian Air Force awarded the Distinguished Service to Air Defense and Air Navigation Medal.

Castro along with retired Lt. Col. Omar Velasquez, Senior Master Sgt. Luis Montanez, , Master Sgt. Joseph Nagengast, retired Master Sgt. Xavier Florez, and retired Master Sgt. Jose Alicea were honored for their efforts and invaluable collaborations through the National Guard Bureau's counterdrug program, said officials.

Castro serves in the TEC's Media and Engagement Division. Prior to his reassignment, he spent nine years with U.S. Southern Command as an airborne linguist, which included missions in Columbia.

The Airmen supported aerial and maritime interdiction operations and were key players in the articulation of operational activities by the Colombian Air Force and the United States, said officials.

"Thanks to these fine Airmen, the Colombian airspace is now secure from drug traffickers and once again safe to fly," said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Walter Hernandez, counterdrug superintendent. "During their tenure, and thanks to their hard work, JIATF-South has been able to confiscate over 2,000 metric tons of illegal drugs."