Veteran Salute: Anthony vet remembers the day his ship hit a mine

Veteran Salute

One Anthony veteran was so young when he went to enlist in the Navy, that his mother had to sign for him. He went on to serve in the Korean War.

Howard Kastens was quick to pay tribute to his fellow sailors, who didn’t make it home, following their mission aboard a minesweeper.

Kastens said it didn’t take him long to decide on the Navy.

“I always said you had a good dry bed, as long as you had a bed, and I thought that would be better than a foxhole,” Korean War Veteran Howard Kastens said.

Kastens started on an aircraft carrier.

“I was just a farm boy, hard to believe that big thing could float,” Kastens said.

It wasn’t long before Kastens was aboard the U.S.S. Magpie.

“This is action accord of my minesweeper,” Kastens said.

He said they were in action sweeping.

“It must have been a big one,” Kastens said.

He said they could feel the momentum suddenly stop.

“I went down, and then, I started to get up,” Kastens said. 

He said that’s when everything started falling down around them.

“We hit a mine, so we had to abandon ship,” Kastens said.

Twenty one sailors lost their lives that day.

Kastens said he was able to again pay his respects, on an honor flight to see the memorial is Washington D.C.

“The survivors here, and that’s me there,” Kastens said.

He still has the photo of the crew that rescued the 12 sailors who survived.

“When they pulled us out of the water, my legs wouldn’t hold me up,” Kastens said. 

He said the sailors were given thirty days of survivor leave, and he didn’t hesitate to take on a new duty.

“I proposed to my wife,” Kastens said.

He told her he would be home in no time,  but as the Korean War raged on, the President had different plans.

“That’s when Harry said no, you gotta stay another year, but that is alright, she waited for me,” Kastens said.

It all worked out, the Kastens have now been married for nearly seven decades.

Kastens says when he returned from the war it didn’t take him long to get back to his roots, as he made a living farming.

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