Brookline War Memorial
Paul C. Kestler

Seaman 2nd Class Paul C. Kestler
United States Navy (1944-1945)

United States Navy (1775-present)

Paul Clarence Kestler was born on December 20, 1926, the youngest of six children of parents Rose A. and Frederick E. Kestler of 1700 Creedmoor Avenue. He had two sisters, Edna and Dorothy, and three brothers, Edward, Albert and Regis. The Kestlers were members of Resurrection Parish, where Paul went to Elementary School.

At age seventeen, on October 28, 1944, Paul left school and joined the Navy. He received his initial Navy indoctination at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois before being assigned to the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17).

After a short visit at home, Seaaman Paul Kestler joined the USS Bunker Hill in January 1945 at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard in Pugeot Sound, Washington, where the veteran warship was docked for a period of major overhaul, upkeep work and weaponry upgrades.

Kestler's duties as Seaman aboard the ship were to stand security-related watches, such as a gangway watch or anchor watch while the ship was not underway. He performed general maintenance, repair, sanitation and upkeep of material, equipment, and areas in the deck department. He also maintained the ship's metal structures by chipping, scraping, cleaning, priming, and painting.

The aircraft carrier departed from the Port of Bremerton on January 24 and returned to the combat area. Along the way she stopped at Pearl Harbor. The Bunker Hill thensteamed for the Central Pacific, the flagship of Admiral Marc Mitscher's Task Force 58.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)

In the Task Force's final drive across the Central Pacific, the Bunker Hill operated with the other fast carriers and their screening gunships in the Battle of Iwo Jima, the raids against Honshu and the Nansei Shoto (February 15 – March 4), and the 5th Fleet's support of the Battle of Okinawa.

On April 7, Bunker Hill's planes took part in an attack on Imperial Japanese Navy forces in the East China Sea. The carrier's aircraft located the Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest in the world, which had not been seen since the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Bunker Hill's aircraft joined in the attack that sank Yamato, a cruiser, and four destroyers.

On the morning of May 11, 1945, while supporting the invasion of Okinawa, Bunker Hill was struck and severely damaged by two Japanese kamikaze planes. A Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane piloted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Seizo Yasunori emerged from low cloud cover, dove toward the flight deck and dropped a 550-pound bomb that penetrated the flight deck and exited from the side of the ship at gallery deck level before exploding in the ocean.

The Zero then crashed onto the carrier's flight deck, destroying parked warplanes full of aviation fuel and ammunition, causing a large fire. Then, a short thirty seconds later, a second Zero, piloted by Ensign Kiyoshi Ogawa, plunged into its suicide dive. The Zero went through the antiaircraft fire, dropped a 550-pound bomb, and then crashed into the flight deck near the carrier's "island". The bomb penetrated the flight deck and exploded in the pilot's ready room. Gasoline fires flamed up and several explosions took place.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)    USS Bunker Hill (Cv-17)
The USS Bunker Hill on May 11, 1945 after being struck by two Japanese kamikaze planes.

The Bunker Hill lost a total of 390 sailors and airmen killed, including forty-three missing (never found) and 264 wounded. Among those missing was Seaman 2nd Class Paul Clarence Kestler. His body was never recovered and declared lost at sea.

Although heavily damaged, the USS Bunker Hill was able to steam at twenty knots to Ulithi. The carrier then returned home by way of Pearl Harbor, and was sent to the Bremerton Naval Shipyard for repairs. She was still in the shipyard when the war ended.

News of Seaman Paul Kestler's fate reached his family in mid-June. The Pittsburgh Press listed him as Missing in Action on June 28, then as Killed in Action on July 5. Two of the other Kestler boys were still serving at the time. While Paul's family and the community mourned the loss of another native Brookliner, a Gold Star replaced one of the three Blue Service Stars on the window of the Kestler home at 1700 Creedmoor Avenue.

Honolulu Memorial Courts of the Missing

Brookline's Paul Clarence Kestler is memorialized at the Honolulu Memorial in the Courts of the Missing. He is honored there along with three other Brookliners. Two are airmen who perished on May 25, 1945 during a bombing raid over Tokyo, Harry Spack and Walter L. Wentz, and the other a fellow seaman, John R. O'Day, who was also lost at sea on May 28, 1945 off the coast of Okinawa.

Honolulu Memorial

* Written by Clint Burton: May 22, 2018 *




The Brookline War Memorial

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.

Listed below are many of the sons of Brookline who gave their
lives to preserve freedom and contain aggression during
World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”
General George S. Patton
 

United States Army (1775-present)  United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)  United States Navy (1775-present)  United States Marine Corps (1775-present)
United States Coast Guards (1790-present)  United States Air Force (1947-present)  United States Merchant Marine (1775-present)

World War I (1917-1919)

Percy Digby

Digby, David P.
Mayville Avenue
Army

Details

Raymond P. Cronin

Cronin, Raymond P.
Berkshire Avenue
USMC

Details

Charles Luppe

Luppe, Charles
Ferncliffe Avenue
Army

Details

WW1 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War I Memorial - Washington D.C.

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World War II (1941-1945)


Alm William H.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details


Arensberg, Roy T.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details


Brickley, Edward G.
Woodward Avenue
Army

Details


Bruni, Lawrence A.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Capogreca, James J.
Merrick Avenue
Navy

Details


Copeland, Clarence R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Cullison, Thomas J.
Birtley Avenue
Army

Details


Dempsey, Howard F.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Dempsey, Walter F.
Milan Avenue
Navy

Details


Diegelman, Edward R. Jr
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Dornetto, Frank P.
Jacob Street
Navy

Details


Fagan, Gerald B.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Falk, Harold E.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details


Fehring, Robert M.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details


Hynes, Richard E.
Waddington Avenue
Army

Details


Jackson, Robert E.
Brookline
Army

 


Kestler, Paul C.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Ketters, Robert C.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Mahoney, Michael J.
Oakridge Street
Army

Details


Majestic, Arthur B.
Starkamp Avenue
Army

Details


Mayberry, Alexander G.
Breining Street
Army

Details


Mazza, John
Alwyn Street
Army

Details


McCann, Robert F.
Edgebrook Avenue
Navy

Details


McFarland, Hugh R.
McNeilly Road
Army

Details


Miller, William J.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Napier, Edward J.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details


Nicholson, John D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


O'Day, John R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Orient, Andrew D.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details


Pisiecki, Raymond A.
Wolford Avenue
Army

Details


Reeves, Alfred M.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details


Reitmeyer, John P.
Bellaire Avenue
Navy

Details


Rhing, Vern M.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Shannon, Harry C.
Midland Street
Army

Details


Shannon, Jack E.
Midland Street
USMC

Details


Simpson, James D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Spack, Harry
Linial Avenue
Army

Details


Vierling, Howard F.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details


Wagner, Ralph G.
Shawhan Avenue
Army

Details


Wentz, Walter L. Jr
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Zeiler, Harold V.
West Liberty Avenue
Army

Details

WW2 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War II Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Korean War (1950-1953)

Patrick Gallagher

Gallagher, Patrick J.
Bodkin Street
Army

Details

James Gormley

Gormley, James W.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

Gerald Hilliard

Hilliard, Gerald G.
Edgebrook Avenue
Army

Details

James McKenna

McKenna, James E.
Bellaire Place
Army

Details

Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Vietnam War (1965-1973)

James Robert Bodish

Bodish, James R.
Plainview Avenue
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Gilbert Collins

Collins, James G.
Dunster Street
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Charles Wonn

Wonn, James C.
Mayville Avenue
Navy

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.




The Brookline Monument - The Cannon

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

<Brookline War Memorial> <> <Brookline History>