Nicholas L. Kosty - F1c

Killed In Action - April 6, 1945

Back to Photos List

Eighteen year old Nicholas Kosty, Fireman 2nd class, reported aboard the USS BUSH on May 25, 1944 while the ship was stateside for needed repairs. He was one of about 100 new sailors reporting aboard the USS BUSH while more experienced sailors were assigned elsewhere.

Nicholas Kosty hailed from Detroit, Michigan and had attended Chadsey High School. He had five older sisters.

By April 6, 1945, Kosty had been promoted to Fireman 1st Class. He survived the three Japanese suicide plane crashes that struck the USS BUSH. He did not survive his time in the cold water waiting to be rescued. His was one of 12 bodies' recovered after the ship's sinking. His body was picked up by the LCS(L) 37. The LCS(L) 37 also recovered the bodies of six other deceased shipmates. Even with their lifejackets, the cold water made it difficult for these men to continue to keep their heads above water in the hours that followed the BUSH sinking. The LCS(L) 37's deck log read "most of the dead men were found to have slipped in their life jackets."

Nicholas K. Kosty - F1c
Nicholas L. Kosty-F1c
Gil Molstein - PhM1c
Gil Molstein-PhM1c
The 37's Pharmacist's Mate Gil Molstein recalled that the night of April 6, 1945 was “so dark we could hardly see.” Molstein noted, “we used a light to shine on the water and then a grappling hook to pull in those that we spotted”. The bodies of the deceased were placed on the fantail of the ship. Molstein said, "I tried to fingerprint some but we did not have enough US Navy forms, so I abandoned the effort. I stayed calm through the entire event. But afterwards, the shakes set in." The efforts of the LCS(L) 37 also resulted in recovery of two surviving USS BUSH sailors.
As was customary, the initial notification received by Kosty's mother of his death was a telegram. Subsequently, she received a sympathy letter dated May 21, 1945 from the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal. That was followed by a letter dated 10 days later from the ship's surviving commanding officer, Rollin E. Westholm. Below are excerpts from those two letters.
Forrestal Text:
My dear Mrs. Byczenski:,

I offer to you my personal condolence in the death of
your son, Nicholas Louis Kosty, Fireman first class,
United States Naval Reserve, which occurred on 6 April

Sincere sympathy is extended to you in your loss. It
is hoped that you may find comfort in the thought that
his sacrifice was made in order that the freedom of his
country might be preserved.

Sincerely yours,


Westholm excerpts:
It is with deep regret that I, Senior Survivor of the USS BUSH,
write to you concerning your son, Nicholas Louis Kosty, who was
killed in action against the enemy on April 6, 1945.

Nicholas survived the action itself and had joined a group of
men in the water after the ship had gone down. Although the seas
were rough and the night very dark he managed to stay afloat for
several hours. A rescue vessel approached and picked him up in a
weakened condition suffering from exposure. Despite expert medical
attention he did not live throughout the night. His body was delivered
to the Army the following day for burial on Okinawa. No personal
effects were recovered from his person.

The loss of your son is felt very profoundly by all who survived. As
his commanding officer I have always known him to be diligent and
cheerful in his work. His courage and performance of duty were in
the best traditions of the naval service. I can only say that we share
your sorrow and will always hold the memory of Nicholas's sacrifice
for his country in our hearts.

Very sincerely,

Commander, U. S. Navy
Nicholas Kosty's remains were initially buried on Okinawa. Eventually his remains were moved back to the States and to his final resting place at the Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.
Nicholas Kosty headstone

Home ||Short History ||Deck Logs ||Final Action Reports ||Photos

||Recollections ||Ship's Poetry ||Sailors Lost ||Fletchers ||Glossary ||Links