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Lt. Col Joseph Frank Kasun USA-Ret

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Lt. Col. Joseph Frank Kasun, USA-Ret Joseph Frank Kasun died peacefully on February 21, 2013, at the age of 94, in Bayside, CA. He follows in death his beloved wife of 59 years, Jacqueline. He is survived by four children: Marilyn Gamper, The Hon. Christine Moruza, Audrey Moruza, and Lt. Cmdr. (USNR-R) Walter Kasun; as well as ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Joseph, born on November 7, 1918, in Lowell Arizona, was the second of four sons of Sam and Antonia Kasun. He graduated from Bisbee High School in 1936 and worked for the Phelps Dodge corporation in Bisbee before leaving to attend Arizona State University in Flagstaff, Arizona. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1941, became a sergeant, and attended Officers Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant to captain, he commanded rifle company "L", 3rd Battalion, 411th Infantry, 103 rd division, 7th Army in the European theater during World War II. The following language in quotes is taken directly from his medal citations. In 1944 in Maisonsgoutte, France Captain Kasun received a Bronze Star Medal for "strategically deploying and leading his advance guard company over eight miles of hazardous terrain under heavy German fire with a minimum of casualties." In March 1945 "during a stalled tank-infantry attack on Jagerthal, France, Captain Kasun ran 300 yards through heavy mortar, machine gun, and small arms fire, boarded the lead tank, and, riding exposed, led his men forward. Confronted by a wall, he ordered the tanks to crash through and, after taking positions to support the riflemen, directed tank fire on enemy emplacements on the high ground in the rear of the town. Locating an artillery ammunition dump, he directed fire, completely destroying it." For conspicuous gallantry, he was awarded the Silver Star. Captain Kasun received his second Silver Star for gallantry in action in April of that year for "leading his company forward against fierce enemy fire to capture the city of Landsberg, Germany. With his company split in two sections by enemy fire, he continued forward with twenty-five riflemen and one light machine-gun squad. In the faint light of dawn, he deployed his small force so skillfully around an enemy garrison in the city that the enemy commander, believing himself to be surrounded by a large force, surrendered his entire garrison of almost one thousand men." For this action, Captain Kasun was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. In Landsberg, Captain Kasun's unit helped liberate a German concentration camp with hundreds of starving inmates and many dead waiting for disposal. In 1944, he received the Purple Heart for wounds received in battle. After the war Captain Kasun served two years in the Army of Occupation in Germany. After graduating from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1952 and promotion, Major Kasun departed for duty in the Korean War as a military advisor to the famed Capitol Roc Infantry Division of the Republic of Korea Army. In July 1953 the Division was the hardest hit in a heavy attack by several Chinese divisions. For his conduct in this action, Major Kasun received a second Bronze Star and numerous letters of commendation from the Republic of Korea Army. His awards include: Silver Star (two awards), Bronze Star (two awards), Purple Heart, Army Commendation (two awards), American Defense, American Campaign, European Campaign (4th award), Army of Occupation, Berlin Airlift, National Defense, Korean Defense (4th award) United Nations Korean Service, Korean presidential unit citation, Combat Infantry Badge (star and wreath), Combat Action Ribbon. After his Korean duty, Lt. Col. Kasun was assigned to the Army General Staff in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., where he served four years. During this assignment Lt. Col. Kasun was placed in temporary duty as the military aide to the governor of Arizona for the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower. At this time he returned to his college studies that had been interrupted by the war. Lt. Colonel Kasun next went to Germany, where he served first in Heidelberg and then, behind the Iron Curtain as Assistant Chief of Staff for G-4 in the headquarters of the Berlin Command. In 1960 Lt. Col. Kasun returned from Germany and reported for duty as an instructor on the Staff and Faculty of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was here that he finished his college degree at Park University, Missouri. In 1963 Lt. Col. Kasun retired from the Army and enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Arizona at Tucson, earning master's degrees in history and political science. His master's thesis on the U.S. Army occupation of Mexico under General Winfield Scott in 1847-1848 is in the library of the U.S. Army War College. Lt. Col. Kasun next began his second career as a high-school teacher, first for four years at Troy High School in Fullerton, California, and then in 1969 at Arcata High School in Arcata, California for 22 years. He also taught classes in U.S. History at Humboldt State University. While teaching at Arcata High he served as senior class advisor and chairman of the social sciences department. He was an avid golfer. He scored three holes in one in his life: The last one coming at the age of 80 on a 180 yard par 3 hole. After his retirement from teaching in 1988, Kasun devoted himself to caring for his beloved wife Jacqueline during her long illness and his work as a lay reader in the Anglican Catholic church. Funeral services will be held at St. Bernard's Catholic Church on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Interment with be with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Meyer, Virginia. Joseph will rest in peace next to his wife Jacqueline. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Disabled Veterans of America or the Wounded Warrior Project. "On fame's eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread and glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead." Dad, the flag you so bravely defended now guards you, in eternal peace. Please sign the guest book at www.Times-Standard.com, click obits.

Published in Eureka Times-Standard from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27, 2013
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