Sergeant First Class Thomas “Billy” W. Costello enlisted in the United States Army in November 2002 after graduating from high school. He completed Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson in North Carolina.
Sergeant First Class Costello deployed with his Operational Detachment Alpha attached to 2nd BN, 3rd SFG(A) with the mission of developing Village Stability Platforms to support Village Stability Operations for the Shah Wali Kot District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
On September 20, 2011, Sergeant First Class Costello was seriously injured when he stepped on an anti-personnel improvised explosive device (IED) during a Route Clearance Mission. His injuries resulted in the loss of his right leg above the knee; a tibia/fibula fracture of the left leg; the fracturing of the middle and index finger of the right hand; and a blown eardrum in the right ear. He was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Since arriving at the Warrior Transition Brigade, Sergeant Costello has been a model Warrior, always displaying the utmost level of professionalism. He has been nominated for NCO of the Quarter through the Warrior Transition Brigade at WRNMMC for his performance in an internship with the FBI counterintelligence division and for pursuing continuing education with Georgetown University.
He has sought out physical challenges as a tool to aid in his physical and mental recovery, including the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge. Despite being the only above-the-knee amputee on the trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, he helped lead the charge to the summit and returned with valuable research data for future prosthetic devices. After every summit, the group returns with footage and stories to help inspire the wounded to set lofty goals and to achieve them through partnerships and brotherhood.
Sergeant First Class Costello's many awards and decorations include: Bronze Star w/ V device; Purple Heart; Army Commendation Medal x 3; Army Achievement Medal x 4; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Ribbon; Afghan Campaign Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Over Seas Ribbon; NATO ribbon; Afghan Campaign Medal; Combat Infantryman Badge; Special Forces Tab; Special Operations Diver Badge; and Australian Parachutist Badge.