Coaldale Marine the first Marine killed in Action in World War ll.
On December 8th, 1941 between 20 and 30 twin engine bombers in the opening attack on
caught 12 planes on the ground and put
eight out of action and killed 25 Marines and some civilians. Among those Marines was Pvt. John Katchak from
Coaldale, . Schuylkill
John joined the Marines in 1941 and was stationed at
On December 9, there were two more raids by planes which also carried incendiaries, but due to vigorous plane and anti aircraft fire damage was less severe than on the 8th.
A week before Christmas Katchaks parents received the telegram telling them that their son was killed in action on the attack on
From the book entitled, “
by James P.S. Devereux I take the
account of burying private John Katchak, USMC.
Private John Katchak
First Defense Battalion, FMF ,
One grave was apart from the others . It was in the middle of Barningers’s battery position. It held the body if the first man of the First Marine Defense Battalion killed in action. In the air attack of December 9, a bomb had landed on the lip of the foxhole, killing him instantly. All they could do was make his foxhole his grave.
They made a small mound and pit some chunks of coral in on it. They didn’t have a book with the burial service in it, but they gathered around the grave. The lieutenant said they would say the Lord’s prayer for his soul. Some said the catholic version, some said the protestant version and some only moved their lips when they came to the parts they were npt sure of.. Then they went back to work. That was how they buried Private John Katchak, of Coaldale, Penna. Who was nineteen years old. Lieutenant Barninger, an unsentimental young man, noted in the battery journal: “ His grave in the middle of the battery position, serves as continuous reminder of the task before us, and a source of inspiration to us all.”