JOSEPH W. CASTELLO, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Joseph Castello '39

Date of birth: May 28, 1914

Date of death: October 15, 1943

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From Twenty Three Minutes to Eternity: The Final Voyage of the Escort Carrier USS Liscome Bay By James L. Noles:

On October 16 [1943], Lieutenant Joseph W. Castello, USN, guided in his Wildcat toward the flight deck. The LSO signaled "cut," but Castello's angle was too high. His Wildcat slapped down on the deck but missed catching its tail hook on the arresting cables. Veering to port, Castello brought the squat fighter back down again, only to strike the port stanchions anchoring the no. 2 and no. 3 crash barriers. His port landing gear sheared off, his starboard gear buckled, and the fighter slipped over the final cable. Skidding diagonally to starboard, Castello's Wildcat plunged over the starboard side.

The fighter dropped into the water with a heavy splash. At the time, Beasley was on the bridge performing signaling duties, and he ran over to the starboard side of the superstructure. Looking down, Beasley recognized Castello. He had first seen the lieutenant back on the dock in San Diego a little over a week ago and had, in the meantime, seen him often on the ship's flight deck. In a flash, Beasley remembered Castello kissing his wife and small child good-bye just before boarding Liscome Bay.

Now, however, Castello was struggling frantically to extricate himself from his cockpit. In the end, he simply didn't have enough time. With a rapidity that astonished the men aboard the carrier, the Wildcat sank beneath the waves, taking Castello with it. He had been a relatively experienced aviator, with no previous accidents and over 550 hours of flying under his belt. His death delivered a painful reminder to VC-39 of the dangers of their duties.

His wife was listed as next of kin.


Class of 1939

Joseph is one of 75 members of the Class of 1939 in Memorial Hall.