Corp Joseph Francis Kashuba, Jr

Corp Joseph Francis Kashuba, Jr

Duryea, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 13 Aug 1942 (aged 24)
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Burial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 56767837 · View Source
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Joseph Kashuba, Jr., was the son of Joseph Kashuba, Sr., and Rose B. _________.

Kashuba joined the United States Marine Corps on August 16, 1940. He attended Parris Island, South Carolina, for his boot camp training.

Little is known about Kashuba. Lt. Thayer Soule, who was the Photographic Officer with the Intelligence Section of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Guadalcanal with Kashuba wrote that, "Corporal Joseph Kashuba was loud and fast and tough...the old school through and through." Although Kashuba had only eighteen months in the service by the time he joined Soule's photo-lithography team, his past experiences had given him a salty demeanor. After finishing boot camp, he was assigned to the Intelligence Section of the First Marine Brigade and traveled to Cuba, where he participated in training and landing exercises and was speedily promoted to Private First Class in December, 1940. He honed his skills through 1941, and was undergoing instruction in lithography when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Upon returning to his familiar intelligence section, Corporal Kashuba found a host of greenhorns speedily recruited to fill critical gaps, and wasted no time in exercising all the authority his two stripes carried.

This authority was not reserved only to the men in his section. Lieutenant Soule recounted being on liberty with Kashuba and other members of their team and experienced just how temperamental Kashuba could be. They were at Onslow Beach, at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina, and wanted to cross the Inter-coastal Waterway to go swimming. A ferry was in place to take the Marines where they wanted to go but the ferry operator was sleeping on the opposite bank.

Lt. Soule recalled, "I had gone some distance when I heard Kashuba shouting to the operator at the top of his voice, using words and phrases that only an old Marine would know, none of them complimentary to the operator or to any member of his family. I raced back to the truck, but by that time the cussing had had its effect. The ferry was on its way over. The operator and Kashuba glared at each other during the whole trip, but not a word was said. We had a good swim and, as the sun went down, drove back to the ferry. Now it was on the mainland side. This time the operator was totally deaf. Shout, plead, and cajole as we would, he wouldn't come, 'not', he informed us through a megaphone, 'until that loud-mouthed corporal of yours swims over here and apologizes in person!' Kashuba turned purple and red all at once. His blond hair was almost white. The color rose in his face. The men were on him in an instant. 'All right, wise guy, how about it? Get going, and make sure you sound really sorry.' Kashuba wouldn't budge. 'No, (expletive deleted) it, he had it coming. I don't care if we sit here the rest of the war.' It was 1700. We would have to go like mad to be back for chow. The breeze was cold, and some of the men were still wet. They descended on Kashuba. His shirt went one way, his shoes another, his pants another. He hit the water with a splash. Followed by shouts of encouragement, he swam the narrow channel, and after a few minutes the ferry came for us. All the way back to camp, Kashuba sat on the tailgate glowering darkly into the gathering night, his 'Death before Dishonor' tattoo livid in the darkness."

Despite his temper, Soule would claim Kashuba as "one of my best lithographers" and "a scout of some experience," paying testimony to the corporal's experiences in Cuba.

When the division shipped out for New Zealand in preparation for the Guadalcanal operation, Lt. Soule put Kashuba's scouting experience to work, detailing him and Corporal Herbert Benson, who would later die with Kashuba, to find an "unclaimed" generator so the section could continue producing maps late into the night.

The landing on Guadalcanal went unopposed. The Japanese waited in the jungle for the coming battle with the Marines. The Intelligence Section set about gathering and analyzing information they gleaned from the area and Kashuba worked on producing maps for division intelligence. On August 12th, a Marine patrol captured a Japanese soldier named Sakado, found in their area. The Marines learned that the Japanese west of the Matanikau River were a disorganized and demoralized group, short on food and in poor health. They could, Sakado thought, be induced to surrender given the proper conditions.

The commander of the Intelligence Section, Colonel Frank Bryan Goettge, had been annoyed by the rush job that intelligence had been forced into in New Zealand and the now apparent shortcomings in maps and other data were becoming more evident. Sakado was a godsend. Col. Goettge sent First Sergeant Steven Custer to organize a patrol, which Goettge himself would head. They would take an interpreter, a doctor, a good portion of the intelligence section and some riflemen for support, and boat across to a secluded beach where a white flag had reportedly been seen. They would convince the Japanese there to surrender and work their way back to Headquarters the next day, with Goettge presumably at the head of a cluster of happily surrendered Japanese.

The patrol, consisting of 25 men plus Sakado (who was led by a rope around his neck by Platoon Sergeant Denzil Ray Caltrider) set out from the camp at Kukum at about 1800 hours – a twelve hour delay caused by numerous personnel changes. The men were traveling light, carrying enough food for one day, a canteen, a poncho, and only light weapons.

Due to tidal issues, the delay caused another problem – it was now too late to risk heading for the original landing site. Ignoring the warnings of Lieutenant Colonel Bill Whaling and the cries of Sakado, who begged them not to land there, the boat turned for shore and landed about 200 yards west of the Matanikau. The boat ran up on a sandbar, forcing the Marines to jump over the gun-whales and rock it free, creating quite a racket. They waded in to shore and, taking cover behind a line of banyan trees, held a quick council of war. All the noise they had made and now this pause gave the Japanese soldiers of the 2nd Platoon, 11th CU Security Force under Lt. Soichi Shindo, plenty of time to pick their targets. As Col. Goettge led an advance party into the treeline, two shots rang out. Col. Goettge fell dead with a shot to the head. The seriously wounded 1stSgt Custer dropped beside him. Two Marines who crawled forward to check on the men recovered Goettge's insignia and wristwatch. Command passed to Captain Wilfred Ringer. As more Marines dropped, killed or wounded, Capt. Ringer called for Corporal William Bainbridge and ordered him to head back along the beach to the American perimeter to get help. Cpl. Bainbridge set off at a run and disappeared into the darkness (Bainbridge's bullet-ridden body would later be found a few hundred yards away from the rest of the patrol).

The survivors formed a defensive perimeter on the beach, and over the course of the night and following morning were gradually picked off by the Japanese defenders. By dawn, the patrol had been wiped out aside from three survivors who managed to swim back to friendly lines one at a time. They reported seeing Japanese swords "flashing in the sun" as they fell upon the wounded and dead.

The bodies of the Goettge Patrol were never recovered. There were accounts of knowing where they were and that they had been thrown into fighting trenches by the Japanese and covered up. There were at least three reports over the following weeks after the fight that the bodies were partially buried in the sand with limbs sticking out of the makeshift graves. One report, made by a Marine years later stated he was on patrol at the scene of the slaughter and personally saw the mutilated bodies of Goettge's patrol to include decapitated torsos and boots with limbs still attached. But no bodies were ever recovered.

The bodies of Kashuba and the rest of the men are lost to this day. Several attempts over the past 65 years have found nothing and it is suspected now that building in the area and the change of the shoreline will result in the patrol's remains never being recovered.

At the time of his death, Kashuba was married to a woman named Ann.

Corporal Joseph F. Kashuba, Jr., Sn# 291708, earned the following decorations for his service in the United States Marines and in World War II:
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Purple Heart Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with one bronze battle/campaign star
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy/Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- Marine Corps Marksmanship Badge
- Marine Corps Basic Qualification Badge with Bar(s)

**NOTE** - A large portion of this bio is based on information from the website They have done a fantastic job of researching approximately 3000 US Marines whose bodies were lost in the war. This writer wholeheartedly recommends their site for researchers or families of the missing. - Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR {RET})

Family Members

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Pennsylvania.


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  • Maintained by: Rick Lawrence
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56767837
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Corp Joseph Francis Kashuba, Jr (2 Nov 1917–13 Aug 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56767837, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Rick Lawrence (contributor 47207615) .