Ft. Sill dedicates "First to Fire" room to late general

Fort Sill_All week long, Fort Sill has been conducting its annual Fires Seminar, and Friday, as part of that event, the post dedicated a 'First to Fire' room in Snow Hall to the late air defense artillery General John Costello.

With the snip of a ribbon--the General John Costello "First to Fire" room exhibit was open--a display of the history of the air defense artillery's first response to the enemy.

"It's a great honor. My dad was a big fan of history and making this kind of legacy was a big honor for not only me but my entire family," said his son, Major Patrick Costello.

The general's family and military personnel gathered to add his plaque to the new room--also displaying former air defense artillery soldiers from World War One to the Vietnam War--all moments that helped shape today's best air defense artillery soldiers.

Fort Sill Chief of Staff Colonel Daniel Karbler recalled General Costello's leadership when Fort Bliss faced a major crisis.

"He had to bring all the defense brigades from all around the United States back to Fort Bliss--because there was only one defense brigade left. The 3rd ACR left and went to Fort Carson. So, Fort Bliss was in danger of being closed because there were not enough units there."

Colonel Karbler says the general filled the air base with defense soldiers from across the nation within a year.

That's not all, in 1996 he helped create Fort Bliss' air defense artillery pipers.

Friday, the band now called "Costello's own" pipe band-- each member from Fort Sill's six brigades-- made their first showing.

"General Costello loved the bagpipes in general. He really was a great advocate for this group as well," said Staff Sergeant Robert Fortune, band member.