WWII Navy Man Was Missing 78 Years; His Remains are Coming Home to NJ
A New Jersey man who lost his life during the battle at Pearl Harbor will finally be laid to rest with full military honors on Saturday after his remains were identified earlier this year.
Navy Fireman Third Class Harold K. Costill was on board the USS West Virginia when it was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941 by Japanese aircraft, sending the ship and 35 of its crewmen to the harbor floor. He was on duty in the ship's engine room, according to the American Legion in Cherry Hill, which is handling his funeral.
The unidentified remains of the crewmen recovered during efforts to salvage the ship were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also called the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
The remains of the then-18 year old were identified in April by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency using dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis.
Costhill's 93-year-old brother Gene, the former mayor of their native Clayton, told CBS Philly that DNA provided by the family was last step in confirming the remains as Harold and releasing them to the family.
Earlier this year Clayton's Memorial Day parade was dedicated to Costhill.
According to the Facebook page Harold K. Costill Bring Him Home, Costihill's death is considered an active duty loss and his remains will be transported with highest honors from Hawaii to Philadelphia and then Clayton on Friday.
Costill's funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning with visitation from 10 a.m. to noon and a service from noon to 1 p.m. at Clayton High School auditorium. His remains will then be brought to the family plot in the Cedar Green Cemetery.