Joseph Castellanos

Name: Joseph Castellanos
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Branch: Air Force
Years Served: 3.5
Rank: E-4 (Senior Air Man)
Military Occupation: Security Forces
Twitter Handle: TBD

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • I’ve lived throughout the western United States and abroad with Turkey being my favorite deployment. Most recently, I moved from DFW to Las Vegas. 
  • I have three dogs 
  • I really enjoy reading fantasy novels and going hiking with my dogs when the weather is cooler. 

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • I am joining the IAVA calvary because I think it is important that legislators hear about veterans’ needs from veterans themselves. I have seen the great work that IAVA has done in recent times to get expanded health care access, education benefits, and other legislation passed that benefits all veterans. I want to be part of that coalition that is working towards change in our legislation that benefits all veterans. 

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today? 

  • My military experience provided me with the tools necessary to be an effective professional. More so, it taught me how to overcome adversities and challenges no matter what they might be. 
  • They also taught me to fight for what is right and to defend our constitutionally protected rights both with boots on ground and within our legislative systems. 
  • Lastly, the Air Force instilled in me three core values that I still live by today: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All I Do.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why?

  • I believe that the most pressing policy priority is the need to repeal/reform the 2001/2002 AUMF. During the last three years we have seen a rise in foreign conflicts and an increase in aid being provided to support these global conflicts. Though I do feel that we have a duty to ensure Democracy is upheld throughout the world, we cannot enter other conflict(s) without a clear exit plan.
  • I served during the Afghanistan campaign and during GWOT and it was disheartening to say the least to see the hard-earned sacrifices of my brothers and sisters in arms so callously tossed aside as the Taliban were given back a country, we fought so hard to defend. As such before we begin continuing to deploy more of our brother’s and sisters into these conflicts, we need to have a clear statement(s) on the purpose and length of these conflicts.
  • Additionally, we need to keep our promises to our Afghan allies, as they too sacrificed their own lives in defense of the war on terror. Upon our withdrawal from Afghanistan, we left them at the mercy of the very terrorists we vowed to defend them from after they faithfully provided us years of service.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why? 

  • I have the strongest personal connection to the policies stated above as I am an Afghanistan Campaign Veteran.
  • With that being said so many of our brothers and sisters upon their return came back with trauma related injuries, myself included. Despite evidence that alternative therapies have proven beneficial for veterans who have experienced trauma, the VA under current scheduling and federal guidelines does not allow for them to be prescribed. When a veteran does report to the VA for treatment and shares that they have tried an alternative therapy such as cannabis and have found it to be effective, they are labeled as drug addicts. Veterans are then prescribed medications that are either ineffective or worsen conditions, all while there are alternative therapies that have been proven to be effective.


Our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support vets. Make a donation today to help IAVA fulfill its mission to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.

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