AFDW Airman receives Gen. Wilma Vaught Visionary Leadership Award

  • Published
  • By Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
  • Air Force District of Washington

Capt. Frances Castillo, an Air Force District of Washington Airman assigned to the United States Indo-Pacific Command, was selected as the Air Force-level 2023 Brigadier General Wilma Vaught Visionary Leadership award recipient.

The award recognizes service members and civilians who have exhibited innovation, commitment, and a selfless spirit to others while inspiring and significantly improving the integration of and opportunities for women in the Air Force.

Castillo credits the Women’s Initiatives Team, one of seven Department of the Air Force barriers analysis working groups, and the Athena Conferences for enabling Airmen to cut through bureaucracy and accelerate change. These platforms provide a hub for Airmen to identify readiness barriers, develop solutions, and directly present recommendations to senior leaders who can action policy change.

“I dedicate this award to the network of Airmen at the grassroots-level who are identifying, analyzing, and proposing solutions to eliminate barriers across the full readiness spectrum, and to the senior champions who are listening and driving institutional change,” said Castillo.

Since joining the WIT, Castillo has been a part of three Air Force instruction re-writes, impacting officer accessions and medical privacy. Her accomplishments also include building a medical privacy framework for pregnant Airmen which ultimately informed Department of Defense decision-making for a first-of-its-kind policy implemented across all services.

Additionally, Castillo spends much of her time working across echelons and commands to connect networks and guide Airmen in how to advance their proposals, all while maintaining her primary duties within her unit.    

A native of Puerto Rico, Castillo enlisted in 2006 as an Airman basic logistics planner. She was selected for commission through the Officer Training School in 2015 and became involved with the WIT and Athenas in 2021.

“After 18 years in the Air Force, I am invested in advancing the organization so that the women behind me have the opportunity to thrive in their careers without being held back by legacy policies,” Castillo said. “This is how you retain talent.”

Castillo will be recognized at this year’s Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium alongside the enlisted and civilian award recipients.