41ºF

2 veterans from 'greatest generation' to be buried Thursday

Former combat medic, SAPD veteran both fought in World War II

SAN ANTONIO – Burial services for two men who never knew each other will be held at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery half an hour apart Thursday afternoon. Eleazar “Charlie” Alfaro, 92, and Joe Castellanos, 100, were part of what’s known as the “greatest generation,” having grown up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II.

Castellanos was an Army infantryman who earned two Bronze Stars during the Battle of Luzon in the Philippines

After Alfaro came back, he began a 32-year career with the San Antonio Police Department. His highest profile arrest was in 1982 when he caught and later arrested rocker and reality star Ozzy Osbourne for urinating on the Cenotaph outside the Alamo.

“I cracked up. I thought it was the funniest thing I ever heard,” said Marjorie Ruiz, Alfaro’s daughter.

Ruiz said her father told her all about it when he got home that day.

Castellanos was a combat medic during the Battle of Okinawa.

“I left everything there. What I did, I forgot. I never talk about it, never, never,” Castellanos said during an interview last February. 

“It takes strong character to do that,” said Ernesto Leos, Castellanos’ grandson.

Their deaths are considered further proof the “greatest generation” is disappearing.

Kimberly Ogden said San Antonio police officers who came to pay their respects after her grandfather’s passing told her "they don’t make men like this anymore.”

LINK: Pacific War Museum


About the Author: