Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering The Fallen. One, A Family Friend.

This weekend is not about BBQs and having people over to celebrate. It is day to remember all those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price in defense of this wonderful nation, and fighting for those freedoms that we all so often take for granted. Fly your flag outside your home. So few houses do this anymore. After 9/11 it was hard NOT to see the Stars and Stripes at a house or office. Now it is a challenge! This Memorial Day, as I do each year I pay tribute and honor Lt. William Thomas "Tom" Costen, United States Navy and his partner Lt. Charlie Turner. Tom grew up in the house behind us in St. Louis. I remember playingwiffle ball with him and running behind the "bug man" smog truck on summer evenings after dinner. Not the smartest of ideas since it was a mosquito killing fog, but hey you were a kid and everyone else did it. Tom's father was also a great friend to the family as well as an Orthopedic Surgeon to a few of of us.

Tom and Charlie Turner were assigned to Attack Squadron 155 at Whidby Island, Washington. Their unit shipped out to the Middle East on board the USS RANGER when U.S. military buildup began there in January 1991. Tom and Charlie had been in the region only ten days when hostilities began and they were asked to fly combat missions on Iraqi military targets in the first wave of offensive strikes of the war the opening night of the Gulf War. Tom was the pilot of an FA6 Intruder, and Charlie his BN (bomdadier/navigator). Both failed to return from missions on the morning of Friday, January 18, 1991.

Later reports revealed that two emergency radio beeper signals were picked up indicating that both Tom and Charlie ejected safely from their aircraft. Both were returning to the USS Ranger after a bombing mission over Baghdad.

On January 20, both Tom and Charlie were officially listed as MIA by the Pentagon. It was not until almost two months after the end of Operation Desert Storm that the Iraqis handed over the remains of 14 United States soldiers. One of those was Tom



Lt. William Costen

Lt. Charlie Turner

9 comments:

Valorie Leonard said...

Never forgotten.

Dave said...

RIP Tom and Charlie. Thank you for laying so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom. We are forever in your debt.

DL

Stevens Family said...

A very nice tribute to your friends. I lost some good friends about a year and a half ago in a Coast Guard C130 accident. The were out flying a search and rescue mission and never came home. Such a tragic loss.

JayDam said...

I came across your blog randomly, and as a veteran, the title of your last post caught my eye. I wanted to say thanks for keeping the memory of the sacrifices alive.

I don't mean to intrude on your privacy, and I'll leave your blog behind once I close this window, but I just wanted to express my gratitude for you honoring the fallen.

Hank said...

Nobody ever is an intruder on our blog. All are welcome and we thank you for your service to our Nation. It is because of what YOU and those that serve, have served and those that paid the ultimate price, which give us the ability to do this. God bless you.

Claire said...

You have an informative blog. I’ve learned something from it. I do have mine too www.claire-fernandez.blogspot.com... Thanks

Anonymous said...

I have a copper bracelet with Lt. Costen's name that I received in the early 1990's. I was only in high school at the time and I didn't really understand the importance of it. I recently found it again and googled his name tonight. I am so sorry for the loss. Thank you for providing information about him and about what he did for us.

Hank said...

Can you please contact me regarding this bracelet? We have been collecting them and providing them to Tom's mother. His father passed a while back, after Tom's sacrifice and we are trying to keep his memory alive. Hank.belz(at)Gmail(dot)com. It would mean the world to his family.

Heather said...

I had a bracelet too. I sent it and a letter to the only address I could find for Tom's brother, but I never heard anything back. I hope it found its way safely to him and brought some peace. I was just a girl at the time but thought of and prayed for the soul of this stranger often. As an adult, the bracelet was still in my jewelry box. As a mother with two boys, I knew it needed to go to his family.