Richard Dean Costelow was born on April 29, 1965, in Trenton, New Jersey, to George and Dorothy Costelow. He graduated from Morrisville High School in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, in 1983, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on May, 23 1988.
Costelow attended Basic Training in San Diego, California, and then went to Great Lakes, Illinois, for training as an electronics technician. After graduating from “C” school in 1989, he was stationed in Sigonella, Sicily, for two years. Beginning in January 1992, he was stationed for almost six years at the White House Communications Agency. Following training at the Center for Surface Combat Systems in Norfolk, Virginia, Costelow reported to USS Cole (DDG 67) on Jan. 5, 1998 as an Electronics Technician First Class. He served aboard Cole for her maiden deployment, which began in February 1998. He was promoted to chief petty officer on Sept. 16, 2000.
Costelow was killed in the line of duty when a terrorist bomb was detonated along the port side of the ship while it was refueling in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000.
Chief Electronics Technician Costelow was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and Navy Unit Commendation. He held the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award (two awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, and Presidential Service Badge.
Sources: USS Cole (DDG 67) Med Cruise 2000 (Aug. 8–Nov. 3, 2000) Cruise Book in the collection of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Navy Department Library. Awards and citations are sourced from the service member’s official military personnel file and listed in the Navy Department Awards Web Service site and may not be complete.