Thomas “TC” Costley is a retired United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant as well as a retired Officer of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. He is the third oldest of twelve children parented by Jane Costley, a teacher and Eldridge Costley, a Farmer. “TC” was educated in the segregated Maryland Public School System, graduating from Robert Moton High School in Westminster, Maryland in 1961. He briefly attended Maryland State Teachers College in Bowie, Maryland before en listing in the US Air Force. During his over 26 years of military service “TC” Costley rose through the enlisted ranks to achieve the grade of Chief Master Sergeant, (E-9).
“TC” served in a wide variety of assignments for the Air Force beginning with his first assignment at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey in 1964. From there he serve at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, Danang Air Base, Vietnam, Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, Travis Air Force Base, California, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, Rota Naval Air Station, Spain, Kunsan Air Base, Korea and returned to McGuire Air Force Base retiring there in 1990. “TC” Costley received many awards, honors and recognitions during his military career to include the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Long with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Overseas Ribbon-short with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Training Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
During his military service “TC” remained involved in community programs that affected both the military and civilian sectors. In 1983 “TC” was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King award for Humanitarian Service from the Commander, U.S. Naval Activities Spain for his total involvement in community affairs as the President of the People United To Reach Out, an organization formed to foster better relations between people of all races.
In addition to his many military accomp lishments “TC” also completed the Air Force Leadership School, Air Force NCO Academy and the Air Force Senior NCO Academy.
“TC” Costley joined the New Jersey Department of Corrections after retiring from the Air Force and was selected as the first Officer to be assigned to the newly formed Department of Corrections Adult Boot Camp. He remained in the position of Drill Instructor / Senior Correction Officer until he retired in September of 2006. While with the Department of Corrections “TC” twice received honors as Officer of the Year. Additionally he was twice the recipient of the New Jersey Department of Corrections Community Service award.
In 2009 “TC” returned to law enforcement in the position of Operations Counselor for the Albert “Bo” Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center in Trenton NJ. This facility is one of 100 civilian facilities across the country under the Community Education Center Corporation that houses and treats criminals before they are released to Halfway Houses or released back to society. Within two months hiring “TC” was chosen as employee of the month. Within seven months he was selected for the position of Shift Supervisor where he is responsible for the overall safety of all employees and residents assigned to the nearly 900 bed facility.
In 1999 “TC” Costley founded the New Jersey Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club and set as it’s mission the education of the general public on the rich history of the 9 th and 10 Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. That same year “TC” joined five other independent chapters in forming the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, later changed to The National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Clubs. In 2005 “TC” was elected National President of that organization after being recognized for his outstanding initiatives and contributions in laying much of the ground work for the association. “TC” was re-elected to the position of National President in 2007.
“TC” has had an interest in history for many years and spends much of his time traveling the country visiting places of historical interest and conducting lectures on the history of the Buffalo Soldiers and other blacks who served proudly in America’s armed forces. Additionally he works with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to raise money for their scholarship programs and regularly meets with and conducts Buffalo Soldiers presentations in schools, churches, youth centers, and Veteran / retirement homes in locations across America.
“TC” lives in Browns Mills, New Jersey just outside of historical Fort Dix Army Post and McGuire Air Force Base. He is married to the former Ms Janise Emanuel of Oakland, California. “TC” is an avid motorcyc list and this year will celebrate 59 years of riding experience.