Lucas Castanos

Name: Lucas C Castanos
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ (currently living in Annandale, VA)
Branch: US Marines
Years Served: 1996-2017 (combination of Active and Reserve)
Rank: Major (Ret)
Military Occupation: Military Intelligence
Twitter Handle: @castanoslc1

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • I currently live in Annandale, Virginia.
  • I’m married with three kids, 2 boys (12 &10 years old), a girl (8 years old), and a dog name Kenji.
  • Me and my wife are both immigrants. I’ve immigrated from the Philippines to the US when I was 14 years old. Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, West Valley/Maryvale area. I relocated from Arizona to Virginia in 2019 for work and the rest of my family move 2022.
  • Currently working as a consultant for Cherokee Nation on task as Senior Assessment Analyst to Department of Defense. I want to learn more about government policies, how it works.
  • I plan to explore many parts of the east coast with my family to learn its history and explore the different areas that my children could experience such as hiking and camping.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • I wanted to support military veteran’s efforts. There are many organizations that are supporting veterans causes and I would like to help with those efforts in the policy area. As the saying goes, need the “combine fires” effect.

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

  • My journey as an enlisted then as commissioned service member was somewhat atypical as it was somewhat unplanned. I am the first family member to serve, we did not know anything about the US military. However, my experience in the military shaped me to open my eyes to many possibilities in life and become more aware that respecting one another and diversity in our society makes us a strong country.
  • As with the Marine units I served with, the different background, experience, skills, and Military Occupational Specialty builds into a stronger cohesive organization ready for any mission ahead.
  • While in the military I’ve learn to work w/ people and organization w/ competing ideas and priorities but learn to talk it through to find common grounds to help tackle the bigger challenges beyond our disagreements.

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

  • WE’RE READY TO SEE MORE FROM AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY. The American democracy is unique, and many Americans sometimes might take it for granted or forget the benefits or how powerful it portrays its influence globally.
  • As an immigrant I’ve seen what America’s Democracy provided me and my family. I believe IAVA should propose efforts to do so, such increasing Americans serving in the military as it is declining.

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

  • WE NEED TO HAVE THE BACKS OF OUR AFGHAN ALLIES. As a military advisor to the Afghanistan National Army working Regional Command East, I’ve seen firsthand the many sacrifices they made. For their family, country, and the ideals of democracy. I think there is more that we can do, and those first steps is awareness and serious conversations with our congressional leaders.


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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