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Navy Fireman 3rd Class Harold "Bud" Costill was an 18-year-old sailor on the USS West Virginia when he was killed in when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

U.S. Navy veteran killed at Pearl Harbor to be buried in Clayton on Saturday

Remains of Harold “Bud” Costill were unidentified until DNA tests earlier this year

By David Wildstein, September 13 2019 9:39 pm

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Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered flags to fly at half-staff on Monday to honor U.S. Navy veteran Harold “Bud Costill, who was an 18-year-old sailor on the USS West Virginia when he was killed in when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Costill’s remains were not identified until DNA tests were competed in June 2019.  He had been officially listed as missing in action for nearly 78 years.

A funeral service is scheduled for tomorrow in Clayton, where Costill grew up.

Costill’s brother, 93-year-old former Gloucester County Freeholder and Clayton Mayor Gene Costill, will be in attendance.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the Navy recovered remains of at least 66 unidentified sailors while salvaging the USS West Virginia.  Costill was among the those interred as unknowns in Hawaii.

The agency, working with officials at the National Memorial Cemetery, disinterred 35 caskets, reported to be associated with the USS West Virginia and transported the remains to a laboratory for identification.

Costill’s remains were identified after scientists from  the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System conducted a dental and anthropological analysis, as well as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

There are 72,704 still unaccounted for from World War II.  The Defense Department says about 26,000 are considered as possibly-recoverable.

“Costill’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII,” the agency said.  “A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.”

The Defense Department said that the USS West Virginia was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor when the ship faced an attack by Japanese aircraft.

“The USS West Virginia sustained multiple torpedo hits, but timely counter-flooding measures taken by the crew prevented it from capsizing, and it came to rest on the shallow harbor floor,” the DOD said.  “The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 106 crewmen, including Costill.”

Costill was a Navy Fireman 3rd Class.

Gene Costill was served five terms as mayor of Clayton and two terms as a councilman in the 1960s and 1970s and was a freeholder from 1977 to 1980.

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One thought on “U.S. Navy veteran killed at Pearl Harbor to be buried in Clayton on Saturday

  1. “His Lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant…” Matthew 25:21.

    Fireman 3rd Class Harold Kendall Costill boarded the USS West Virginia as a member of the battleship’s crew on 2 August 1941. He was on board the West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. After the attack F3c Costill’s body could not be identified and he was listed as “Missing in Action” (MIA). While at the Department of Defense (DoD) in 2011 and 2012, Chief Rick Stone prepared reports on all of the West Virginia’s MIA’s using the Random Incident Statistical Correlation (RISC) System. On 17 January 2012, Chief Stone determined that F3c Costill was a Most Likely Match to only one “Unknown” buried the Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu and noted his exact grave location. The Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation researchers, using advanced law enforcement investigative techniques and sophisticated technologies not available at the Department of Defense (DoD), continued to research F3c Costill’s case and provided a comprehensive “Family Report” to F3c Costill’s family on 7 September 2015. On 13 June 2017, after over five years, the Department of Defense finally decided to act on Chief Stone’s recommendations and began disinterring all of the USS West Virginia Unknowns. F3c Costill was recovered from the Punchbowl Cemetery as indicated by Chief Stone’s research in 2012 and confirmed by the Foundation’s research in 2015. F3c Costill’s identification was officially announced by the DoD on 19 April 2019.

    Welcome home Sailor! We share the joy of your family in your return! God Bless you and thanks to ALL who never forgot you and your service to our country!

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