Leonard Casillas was born in Fresno, California February 21, 1947 to a Hispanic father and mother whose ancestors were of German decent.   Len attended elementary schools in the area and graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School in June of 1965.  Soon after, on February 14, 1966 Len enlisted in the U. S. Army.  After completing basic and advanced infantry training at Ft. Ord in California, he was sent to Fort Benning in the state of Georgia.  There he entered Officer’s Candidate School and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry on May 9, 1967.


His first assignment was as a Training Officer in the Basic Training Brigade at Fort Campbell, in Kentucky.  He later attended the “Jungle Expert” course at Fort Sherman in the Panama Canal Zone.  Following that training, Len was sent for a combat tour in South Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Leader in the Fourth Infantry Division.  Following that he became a MAT advisor to South Vietnamese forces.  For his service Len was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Commendation with ‘V’ device for Valor, Vietnam Service and Campaign medals as well as the Unit Valorous Award.


After leaving active military service on May 8, 1969, Len enrolled at Fresno City College in 1977 and received an Associated Arts degree.  He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree at California State University in 1982.  During this time he continued his military career by serving 27 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and the California Army National Guard. Len’s duties ranged from an Infantry Company Commander to Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 40th Infantry Division (mechanized).  Len continued his military education as well.  He graduated from the Command and General Staff College of the U.S. military.  His awards include the California State Commendation Medal, California Medal of Merit, Army Commendation Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He entered the retired control group on May 15, 1996 as a full Colonel.


Len retired January 3, 2001 from the Internal Revenue Service branch in Fresno after 29 years of employment. He spent most of his long IRS career as an Employee Development Specialist and had several assignments as a Manager and District Training Officer.


After encouragement from his cousin Chuck Monges, the first director of the Legion of Valor Museum, Len became a docent at the museum on June 14, 2001.  He enjoys sharing his past military experiences with visitors to the museum.  Len excels in public speaking and has spoken to clubs and school children about U.S. Military history as well as the museum.