Corporal Joseph F. Kashuba, Jr.

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.

Wartime Service:
“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

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
_____
NOTES:
(1) Soule, Thayer. Shooting the Pacific War, pg 28.
(2) Ibid, pg 34.

6 thoughts on “Corporal Joseph F. Kashuba, Jr.

  1. Thank you for all the hard work you are putting into this site. I have been looking for biographical information regarding the members of the Goettge Patrol for several years. In magazine articles and other websites the Colonel’s name was always mentioned of course, but there was never any mention of the other members of the Patrol. Just to let you know, the link to Aaron Gelzer keeps showing the article on Joseph Kashuba. Thanks again.

    1. David – thank you for the note and for the correction. I figured each of these men suffered as much if not more than the Colonel, and it’s a shame that their names are often forgotten. I wish I could have found more pictures of them, but so it goes. If you’re looking for anything in particular in your research, let me know and I’ll be happy to help out.

      The book “Hell in the Pacific” by Jim McEnery (a veteran of K/3/5th Marines) mentions the aftermath of the patrol in horrifying detail, as the author was a member of one of the patrols that found the butchered remains of the patrol several days later. McEnery describes how his patrol was ordered not to bother the remains but instead mark the location for a burial detail to follow. From his account it seems extremely unlikely that any of their remains will ever be recovered, meaning that their names are all we will have to remember.

      Cheers,
      Geoff

      1. I just found this web site and I am very impressed with your information on the Goettge Patrol. I have done extensive research on the patrol and conducted detailed interviews with all three survivors (now deceased) as well as interviewing many officers and men of the 5th Marines and division HQ. Also, I interviewed USN officers and men too. I have travelled several times to the site of the battle (Matanikau) and wrote an in depth article on all of this for Naval History Magazine. I participated on an unsuccesful military recovery mission that searched for the remains on Guadalcanal. I also knew Stan Jersey and gave him quite a bit of my information for his book. It still amazes me to see new information surface on the patrol. My intent is to expand my article into a short book, but I need a few more pieces to complete the puzzle.

        SF.

        Joe Mueller

      1. Hi Lois,

        Yes, it appears he was born in Duryea, PA. (It’s been a while since I created this page and I haven’t updated for some time.) Evidently he went by “Frank Kashuba” to distinguish himself from his father, Joseph Senior.

        At some point before the war, the Kashubas moved to Meshoppen, Pennsylvania; Joseph enlisted from Wilkes-Barre. However, on casualty reports he is listed as a resident of Washington, D. C. This is because his wife (whom he married in May 1942, just before going overseas) was living there, at 1915 K Street NW.

        Hope this helps!
        Geoffrey

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