John J. Kostel

Marauderman’s Name: John J. Kostel
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: 586th
Years in service: 1943 – 1966

Comments: Thanks to all the WWII Maraudermen for their service and to the B26.com Website for keeping their history alive. My uncle, John Kostel, passed away in 1984 and about all I knew of his WWII Army Air Forces service was that he was an Engineer/Gunner. Then just recently, years after our Mother passed away, my brother came across thirteen letters that he had written to his sister during the war. What a marvelous discovery that was. We learned that he did his Basic Training at Sheppard Field, Texas (April 29, 1943 Dear Sis: The Sheppard Field Basic Training area is huge, with 88,000 men and 40 mess halls), then traveled to Flexible Gunnery School at Fort Myers, FL (Jan 10, 1944 Dear Sis: The troop train to Florida took forever. It lasted 172 hours and we were only off the train for 40 minutes in Dallas. There they marched us through the streets to cheering crowds. At the Fort Myers moving base area I shot skeet from the back of a truck and am getting pretty good at it.), then he went to the Lake Charles AAF Base for B-26 aircrew training (April 19, 1944 Dear Sis: I finish on October 22 and then I will be off to Savanna. I am working on qualifying as an engineer.) His next letters had him writing from France and Venlo, Holland (May 21, 1945 Dear Sis: I’ve had 21 total air missions and some were rough.) In addition, we had these two photographs of Uncle Johnnie.

I believe the photo of the B-26 would have been taken at Lake Charles AAF Base and on the back of the photo Uncle Johnnie had written the names of the aircrew starting with the pilot on the right. Our Uncle Johnnie is the 3rd from the left.

I did an internet search on the names of the other five aircrew shown in the photo. Amazingly, I found the co-pilot, LT Richard W. Felton on your website, his list of combat missions and the aircrew who flew with him. The names were of the same aircrew pictured in the Lake Charles AAF Base B-26 photo and “Kostel” was right there with the rest of them.

Now we know what our Uncle Johnnie did in the war.
Our thanks go out to LT Richard W. Felton’s family for sending you the information and thank you again for posting it.

Of course there are always more questions.
How did our Uncle Johnnie get to Europe? Southern Ferry Route as engineer in the aircrew? Northern Route? By ship?

Do any photos exist that could be shared showing him in Europe with his aircrew buddies?
After the war did everyone return by ship or did some fly their aircraft back to the U.S.?

Our Uncle Johnnie retired in 1966 and according to him the Air Force was the best job he ever had.

Thanks again,
Dennis Kaiser, proud nephew of Marauderman John J. Kostel

Engineer/Gunner John J. Kostel Combat Missions with the 394th Bomb Group, 586th Bomb Squadron

John Kostel updated mission list – Added two missions, 13 Feb 45 and 10

March 45.
Added airplane names and numbers where possible

DATE | TARGET | B26

13 Feb 45 Schwelm Motor Transport Park 318
Sachs Speer Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin
19 Feb 45 Neuwied-Irlich Railroad Bridge 552
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

21 Feb 45 Vlotho 835 (44-67835 “The Draggin Lady”)
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

22 Feb 45 Geseke Marshalling Yard 074
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

23 Feb 45 Hozollar Communications Centre 074
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

24 Feb 45 072 window (42-96072 “Dina Might”)
Early return gas leaking – not counted toward the 21 missions
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

25 Feb 45 Colbe Railroad Bridge 072
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

26 Feb 45 Colbe RR.Br 070 (42-96070 “Dinah Might”)
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

2 Mar 45 Geissen Ordnance Depot 552
Sachs Felton Graham Kostel Sifrit Esplin

9 Mar 45 Neiderhausen M/Y 193
Sachs Felton Lyons Kostel Sifrit Esplin
10 Mar 45 Leaflet Drop 925
Sachs Jacobi Hale Kostel Sifrit Esplin

12 Mar 45 Sythen Supply Depot 085 (42-96085 “El Salvo”)
Sachs Felton Tevebaugh Kostel Sifrit Esplin

15 Mar 45 Nuenkirchen Communications Centre 633
Sachs Felton Harrison Kostel Sifrit Esplin

17 Mar 45 Dillenburg M/Y 070
Sachs Felton Royle Kostel Sifrit Esplin

18 Mar 45 Kreuztal M/Y 892 window
Sachs Felton Tevebaugh Kostel Sifrit Esplin

23 Mar 45 Dinslaken defended town 198
Sachs Felton Lindner Kostel Sifrit Esplin

25 Mar 45 Limburg M/Y storage area 892
Sachs Felton Tevebaugh Kostel Sifrit Esplin

8 Apr 45 Gottingen M/Y 099 (42-96099 “Slow Starter”)
Sachs Felton Harrison Kostel Sifrit Esplin

9 Apr 45 Naumburg Ordnance Depot 097
Sachs Felton Eagan Kostel Sifrit Esplin

12 Apr 45 Kempten Ordnance Depot 097 (42-96097 “Connecticut Yankee)
Sachs Felton Eagan Kostel Sifrit Esplin

15 Apr 45 Gunzburg M/Y 097)
Sachs Felton Eagan Kostel Sifrit Esplin

19 Apr 45 Ulm M/Y 097
Sachs Felton Morris Kostel Sifrit Esplin