Sailor killed in Pearl Har­bor at­tack laid to rest in NJ

The Morning Call - - LOCAL/STATE NEWS - As­so­ci­ated Press

CLAY­TON, N.J. — A sailor killed dur­ing the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor that launched the United States into World War II has been laid to rest in his New Jer­sey home­town.

Hun­dreds gath­ered Satur­day in Clay­ton to bid farewell to Fire­man 3rd Class Harold Ken­dall “Bud” Cos­till, a sailor on the bat­tle­ship USS West Vir­ginia who was killed in the Ja­panese at­tack Dec. 7, 1941.

“He was one of the great­est guys I ever knew,” said for­mer Clay­ton Mayor Gene Cos­till, 93, his only sur­viv­ing sib­ling. “He was fan­tas­tic.”

Cos­till, 18, was in an en­gine room when the ship, moored at Ford Is­land, was hit by tor­pedo and aerial bombs, one of which hit the ship’s am­mu­ni­tion and caused a fire. His remains were in­terred in the Na­tional Me­mo­rial Ceme­tery of the Pa­cific in Honolulu in one of nearly three dozen cas­kets buried as “un­knowns” among the 106 killed aboard the West Vir­ginia, but the fam­ily was no­ti­fied in June that he had been iden­ti­fied through DNA, an­thro­po­log­i­cal and other ex­am­i­na­tions.

Harold Cos­till was af­fec­tion­ately known as “Brud,” a child nick­name he was given be­cause he couldn’t pro­nounce “brother.” His sis­ter, Joan Burke, spear­headed the ef­fort to find her brother’s remains and bring them home, but died three years ago.

“My mother and my sis­ter never knew when this day would come,” Gene Cos­till said. “They never knew where, but they never gave up hope, they knew it would hap­pen.”

Lawn signs and Amer­i­can flags wel­comed him home in the Glouces­ter County com­mu­nity of about 8,000, and a ban­ner in his honor stretched across the main thor­ough­fare. Gov. Phil Mur­phy or­dered flags across New Jer­sey to be flown at half-staff Mon­day in his honor.

Thel­bert “Puggy” Sny­der re­called climb­ing ap­ple trees daily with Harold, who loved hunt­ing and the out­doors. Sny­der, 96, served in the South Pa­cific.

“I don’t know how Brud died, but what I do know, he died bravely,” Sny­der said in his trib­ute. “He was a very, very spe­cial friend.”

In his last let­ter to his sis­ter, dated Dec. 3, 1941, Cos­till said he didn’t “re­gret a sin­gle day” of serv­ing in the Navy, The Philadel­phia In­quirer re­ported.

“If I had it to do over I would join up in a sec­ond,” he wrote. “Even though I have been away from home so long, I have been to places and seen things that I never would have seen.”

TYGER WIL­LIAMS/AP

Gene D. Cos­till, brother of Pearl Har­bor vic­tim Fire­man 3rd Class Harold Ken­dall “Bud” Cos­till, salutes af­ter being handed a folded flag dur­ing the sailor’s in­ter­ment at Cedar Green Ceme­tery.

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