Brig. Gen. Frederick Castle was born into a military family.
His father, Col. Benjamin Castle, was a West Point graduate and early aviator, who settled his family at 38 Lake Drive in Mountain Lakes after years in the foreign service. Frederick was born in the Phillipines but spent much of his childhood here, and graduated from Boonton High. He, too, was appointed to West Point and finished 7th in his class upon graduation in 1930, then went onto flight training. He left the service four years later, and went to work at Allied Chemical, then Sperry Gyroscope.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, he immediately returned to service, and and joined Gen. Ira Eaker in London to create the 8th Air Force, a bombing group aimed at the Nazis. He took command of the 94th Bomber Group based near Suffolk, England and led many assaults in Western Europe. In April, 1944, he was given command of the 4th Combat Wing, the largest in the 8th Air Force.
On Christmas Eve, 1944, during the height of the Battle of the Bulge, he led a strike mission of 2,032 Flying Fortresses on German airfields, in the largest air attack of the war. His lead plane was hit by enemy fire and he ordered his crew to bail out. He did not unload his bombs for fear of killing civilians and Allied ground troops. As a result, his plane crashed, killing the 36-year-old general.
At a small ceremony at the Mountain Lakes Community Church in the spring of 1946, Mrs. Winfred Walker Castle was presented with her son’s posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor Award by Gen. Eaker who said that “General Castle stands forever in the front ranks of gallant men… and will be an inspiration for future leaders of ground and air forces.”
We honor Gen. Castle today by naming a street for him, and welcome his family to share our pride in his legacy, which will always remain an important part of our Mountain Lakes history.