Written by: Dan Bender
Our Guardian of the Week is a stellar shipmate aboard the CGC Campbell, where the crew, from the captain down, admire him for his leadership and expertise. BM1 John Costabile has proven his worth there time and time again.
“BM1 Costabile is not only the most seasoned coxswain aboard
, he may also be one of the most talented in the Coast Guard,” said Cmdr. Scott Clendenin, the Campbell ’s skipper. ”His natural gift for seamanship, and his keen judgment skills combine to make him the most gifted tactical coxswain I have seen over the span of five sea tours.” Campbell
While his shipmates admire him, drug runners might be more apt to call him the bogeyman. In 2009 Costabile led 10 high-speed, close-quarter pursuits with go-fast suspect boats, often requiring speeds in excess of 40-knots with challenging weather and in unfamiliar and poorly-charted waters, said Clendenin.
“His operational savy disrupted 10 drug smuggling attempts, led to the arrest of five suspected narco-traffickers, the seizure of 2,000 pounds of cocaine worth over $28 million and the seizure of a stolen U.S. flagged vessel,” said Clendenin.
It’s not only his abilities as an operator that are impressive but also his judgment. During one of these chases, Costabile was authorized to use warning shots and disabling fire to stop a go-fast. When warning shots did not compel the suspected smuggler to stop Costabile relied on his experience and training when he decided not to take out their engines.
“He elected not to utilize disabling fire due to safety concerns for the suspected smugglers demonstrating the highest levels of professionalism,” said Clendenin.
Costabile has earned the commands trust to such an extent that he is qualified as an underway officer of the deck, responsible for the entire ship while on watch,a duty usually reserved for officers well above him in paygrade on a cutter the size of
“From my observation his value is at least consistent with the Coast Guard’s highest performing junior officers,” said Clendenin.
He works diligently, both on- and off-duty, to help his shipmates. Costabile can often be found during his off-hours to conduct training on boardings, seamanship or navigation.
“BM1 Costabile is simply a charismatic leader who the entire crew enjoys being around,” said Clendenin.
For his efforts Costabile was awarded the 2009 Douglas A. Munro Inspirational Leadership Award, an honor that comes with an automatic merit promotion.