Brother and finest pal of Pearl Harbor casualty Harold Costill discuss latest identification of his stays and the outpouring they count on for the funeral being deliberate in Clayton for Sept. 14.
Joseph Lamberti, Cherry Hill Courier-Submit

CLAYTON, New Jersey – The welcome residence for Pearl Harbor sailor Harold Costill may also be a last farewell.

And the anticipated outpouring of household, associates, townspeople and the general public at giant, veterans, U.S. Navy officers and different navy and civic teams for his upcoming funeral in New Jersey guarantees to be large.

Relations stated they count on 1,000 folks or extra to attend the Sept. 14 funeral for Fireman third Class Harold Kendall “Bud” Costill, 18, a battleship USS West Virginia sailor killed within the Japanese assault on Dec. 7, 1941.

Costill’s physique was solely just lately returned from Hawaii to his Clayton, New Jersey residence for burial after it was lastly recognized. His 93-year-old brother Gene, the one surviving sibling of the 5 Costill kids, will oversee his brother’s return and invited the complete city to his companies.

Costill ‘s stays had been buried within the Nationwide Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, extra generally referred to as the Punchbowl, in one in all almost three dozen caskets buried as “unknowns” of the 106 killed aboard the West Virginia.

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Gene Costill obtained the welcome information in June from the protection division that his older brother had been situated and positively recognized by DNA, anthropological and different examination by the navy — 78 years after being listed formally as Lacking in Motion.

Costill was in an engine room within the backside of the ship when it sustained a number of torpedo and aerial bomb hits whereas moored within the harbor at Ford Island. One bomb’s impression ultimately penetrated the ship’s ammunition provide, inflicting an enormous hearth.

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Well timed counter-flooding measures taken by the crew prevented the battleship from capsizing and allowed it to sink upright on the shallow harbor ground. Costill was one in all 66 sailors whose stays stayed inside till the ship was raised a 12 months after the assault, which sank and broken a number of ships within the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The household plan calls for Harold to be buried within the household plot in a cemetery adjoining to an area highschool and beside his great-grandfather Elwood Costill, who was a wounded Civil Struggle soldier.

A household copes with the unknown 

The sailor’s dad and mom usually are not right here to see their son come residence and neither is his sister, Joan Costill Burke, who, till her dying in 2015, waged a marketing campaign to have him situated and recognized.

“Our dad and mom by no means coped very properly along with his dying,” Gene Costill stated, including his mom was all the time in denial and his father took the blame for his son’s dying.

“My mom by no means believed he was killed and used to say that ‘some day he would stroll by that door (of the home)’ and my father blamed himself as a result of he gave permission for my brother to hitch the Navy due to his age. He was solely 17 on the time,” Costill recalled.

Costill stated he realized from the navy post-mortem that his brother died immediately of extreme head trauma from shrapnel.

“It’s some consolation to know he by no means knew what hit him and did not endure,” he added.”We all the time knew in the future it might be potential for him to be recognized.”

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Costill stated he was sitting on a avenue bench in downtown Clayton when a Courier-Submit newsboy got here working alongside waving particular editions saying the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor.

“Three days later I used to be at residence when a navy officer drove as much as our home at 319 Pearl Road. We knew why he had come and that it wasn’t excellent news. He delivered the telegram telling my dad and mom their son Harold was lacking in motion,” recalled Costill, who later joined the Coast Guard through the struggle and served on a convoy ship in the North Atlantic.

Gene Costill and Thalbert “Pug” Snyder, Harold’s finest pal and one of many scheduled audio system at the funeral service, just lately obtained collectively to reminisce about Harold.

Snyder recalled enlisting within the Navy with Harold Costill after they hitch-hiked collectively to a recruitment workplace in Philadelphia in October 1940.

He additionally remembers his tall buddy as an innovator and drawback solver who liked being on Silver Lake in Clayton and eagerly awaited the autumn looking season when the 2 of them would shoot small sport.

“He additionally liked the ocean and his time on the battleship and was within the means of turning into an electrician’s mate,” stated Snyder, who served within the South Pacific through the struggle and later ran the native information company on the town.

After many years of looking, the household receives solutions

Joan Costill Burke, who was 10 years previous when her brother died, was traumatized by his dying, says her daughter, Nancy Eckler of Williamstown. She started researching the united statesWest Virginia and its casualties, contacting households and writing to the Navy and congressman about her quest to deliver her brother residence.

“If my mother had lived to see at the present time, she could be elated that her brother was lastly coming residence to be buried near his household. I do know that my mother is smiling in heaven,” Eckler stated.

“Bringing him residence had been her mission for a few years. It wasn’t simply her dream to have him recognized and introduced residence, it was additionally her dad and mom’ needs.”

The daughter took up her mom’s trigger after her dying in 2015. That very same 12 months the household turned extra hopeful following a Protection division announcement that it might exhume stays and begin DNA testing to assist establish unknowns buried on the Punchbowl.

Harold Costill’s grand-nephew, Maj. Joseph A. Mucci of the Maryland Military Nationwide Guard and Nancy’s son, then made the formal request to the navy on behalf of the household to boost a specific numbered casket. The household believed it’d comprise their relative’s stays based mostly on an earlier navy evaluation that it was one in all solely three caskets containing our bodies or elements believed to be that of a young person.

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The protection division then decided to disinter all 35 caskets and did so by 2017.

The primary two sailors recognized so removed from the “unknowns” of the West Virginia had been each from New Jersey — Costill and Fireman 1st Class Angelo Gabriele of Trenton, who was first recognized earlier this 12 months.

“I additionally discovered some sudden and ironic connections in my analysis,” Eckler stated.

She discovered by a web-based household tree database that Harold Lee Kagarice, a Costill third cousin with the identical first title as her deceased brother, was killed on the USS Arizona through the 1941 assault as properly.

Comply with Carol Comegno on Twitter: @CarolComegno


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