Castaneda joined the Navy in 1990 to see the world. Having grown up in El Paso, Texas, a very arid desert climate, he was drawn to the cool blue waters of the ocean and the promise of where they would take him. He did not join the Navy with the intention of making it his career, but he stayed Navy because he enjoyed the tempo of the military service, changing jobs every three years, meeting new people, and the challenges and rewards that come with a new position and new duty station. Early one morning in October 2007, Castaneda suffered a stroke during muster aboard the USS Tortuga (LSD 46) while the ship was underway near the Philippines. Castaneda retired from the Navy after 20 years of service in September 2010. Castaneda says, “Everyone [competing in adaptive athletics] seems seven feet tall — larger than life. I feel like superman. I can do anything now.”

Photo of Jim Castaneda

Jim Castaneda

Retired Navy Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class

Age: 47

Current Command/Position: Student

Current Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Disability: Stroke, diagnosed October 2007