Service Number: 291708
Birth and Early Life:
Few details are available about Joseph Kashuba’s life before joining the Marine Corps.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Kashuba joined the Corps on August 16, 1940. He attended Parris Island for his boot training.
“Corporal Joseph Kashuba was loud and fast and tough,” recalled Lieutenant Thayer Soule, “the old school through and through.” (1) 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 PFC 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 an expedition on liberty with Kashuba in which the temperamental corporal showed his full range of emotion. They were at Onslow Beach, and wanted to cross the Intercoastal Waterway to go swimming. A ferry was needed; the operator was asleep on the opposite bank.
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, goddamn 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. (2)
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, Soule put Kashuba’s scouting experience to work, detailing him and Corporal Herbert Benson to find an “unclaimed” generator so the section could continue producing maps late into the night.
Corporal Kashuba made the landing on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942; he worked on producing maps for division intelligence until chosen by Colonel Frank Goettge to accompany a patrol behind Japanese lines to capture a group of prisoners. He departed friendly lines by boat at dusk on August 12, 1942; the patrol was ambushed shortly after landing.
Date Of Loss:
“Blond, scrappy Kashuba” was killed on the beach near the village of Matanikau on August 13, 1942, during the disastrous Goettge Patrol. His remains were never recovered.
Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Ann Kashuba
Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) Soule, Thayer. Shooting the Pacific War, pg 28.
(2) Ibid, pg 34.