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"Determined Warrior"

To The Cole Family

The  USS COLE IS UNIQUE, and it will always be remembered as such. I do not believe that it is coincident that our loved ones, both those who are still with us and those who have passed on, ended up on that ship together! WE ARE A COLE FAMILY...and we will forever be!

The "Determined Warrior" will go on... and it will carry with it it's stories...both those of the lives lost in Yemen, and those who were there to see it through the tragedy and bring it home. The "Determined Warrior" will carry with it the memories of our loved one's spirit's.... it will go back out to sea, and see new things, and experience new things,,, it will some day have more stories to tell. New sailors will hope to be a part of it's crew, because there is no ship like it.

For as long as the USS Cole is upon the seas..... this Cole family will remain, and it will be passed on to generations to come.  Perhaps only the Cole's crew and the familes can understand this. We are like no other.
We are unique, and we will be remembered as being so.
May God be with you all!
Sharla Costelow

In honor of my husband Richard D. Costelow and the other 16 sailors who died in the tragic attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, October 12, 2000, we salute you.

This was a day that turned our world upside down.
My family has given the ultimate sacrifice for a free country.
We have lost a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend.
We miss him terribly, and it is only through strength from
God that we are able to carry on.

ETC Richard Dean Costelow

Enlisted in the Navy on April 11, 1988 in Philadelphia, Pa.  He attended Recruit Training Command in San Diego, followed by schools in Great Lakes where he was trained as an electronic technician.  His first tour of duty was in Sigonella, Sicily from November 1989 to December 1991. He was chosen to serve with White House Communications Agency in Washington D.C.  where he remained from January 1992 to October 1997.  In Janurary of 1998 he reported to the USS Cole (DDG 67).

Chief Petty Officer Costelow rapidly worked his way up the enlisted ranks and was promoted to Chief shortly before the attack on the Cole.
His military awards include the Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendations (two awards), the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Presidential Service Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

He has been spoken of by his fellow sailors with high regards.

In a letter written to me on September 28, 2000...
He writes about the day he was pinned as a Chief
of the United States Navy (Sept. 16, 2000)...

" I wish you and the boys could have been there for my pinning ceremony. It was really special to me. If you were there it would have been great."

He was very proud to wear the Chief's uniform, and he proudly died wearing one.
I hate that life took that away from him so quickly, but I am very proud that he achieved as much as he did in that short time.  His life was shorter than most, but more richly blessed than many.  He fulfilled his dreams of serving his country, he had a wife that loved him as much as he loved her, he had three wonderful gorgeous boys to call son. He  served in the White House for 6 years, met many faces, and saw many places.  So many live lives twice as long as his, and yet have not been so richly blessed.  Now he is on a new path, one that God has ordained for him to walk. He has new duties to fulfill. Perhaps he is helping to guide some of the lives who are left behind... be it mine, my sons, other family members, friends, Cole shipmates, or specific people God places in our lives. Whatever his duties, I know that he is proudly fulfilling them.

Thank you Rich for all that you gave, for your love, for your friendships, for the life you sacrificed, for the future you have given to your sons and for making Americans aware that freedom is not free.
You are now closer to God than we are. Say your prayers for us, so that we may someday walk a new path and have new duties to fulfill.

*Click on the Link Below to watch my interview on the
700 Club.*

700 Club Interview

Click Below To Read my Editorial in the Virginian Pilot

Editorial by Sharla Costelow- Virginian Pilot