Is there any way to find out how a US Marine died in WW2?

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I have a "first cousin, twice removed" who died in the Pacific theater of World War 2. He died on September 18, 1942. He was buried in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Chicago, IL when he entered the service, so apparently the US Military did not bring bodies of killed soldiers back home in WW2. He was in the US Marine Corps.
I would like to know how he died. For instance, i would like to know if he was KIA or if he died in an accident, or if he died of natural causes.

Does anyone know of any types of databases of US military records of World War 2 that state how a US Marine died in World War 2? If so, what is the name(s) of this database? Is the database accessible to the public?
 
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  • #2
phinds
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See if the corps has a web site and go from there. Talk to someone at your local VFW
 
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National Archives. But you need to be next-of-kin. Expect delays.
 
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National Archives. But you need to be next-of-kin. Expect delays.
Does a first cousin, twice removed count as next of kin?

He was my grandmother's first cousin (without any removes), which makes him my first cousin, twice removed.
 
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scottdave
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Does a first cousin, twice removed count as next of kin?

He was my grandmother's first cousin (without any removes), which makes him my first cousin, twice removed.
Next of kin is immediately related.
I believe these are the only ones which would qualify:
brother, sister, father, mother, child, or spouse.

But for something that happened so long ago, there might be a way - if none of those are still around.
 
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Update: using resources at ancestry.com, i found out that my first cousin twice removed committed suicide while stationed in the Pacific in WW2. I looked at his " US Marine Corps WW2 Casualty card". The card said "casualty type: SUI". It instantly occurred to me that SUI probably meant suicide. I was hoping that SUI was an acronym, not an abbreviation for suicide. I was hoping SUI stood for "shot unsolved incident or "sick blank blank". But i found the key code for the US Marine corps casualty card, and the key code said SUI meant suicide.

This is a substantial disappointment for me. I was really hoping he had been KIA. There is a lot of glory in being KIA. There is no glory in his committing suicide.
 
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S.G. Janssens
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This is a substantial disappointment for me. I was really hoping he had been KIA. There is a lot of glory in being KIA. There is no glory in his committing suicide.
No need for disappointment, in my opinion.

You don't know the exact details surrounding his death. (To knowledgeable US readers: Could certain well-intended offensive actions maybe have been classified as "suicide" in those times?) He was there and fought for a good cause, and his tragic cause of death does not need to make you less proud of him.

Keep his memory alive, as you already did by starting your search.
 
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I don't know what 'SUI' meant in the WWII era but at least since SE Asia the code for casualty type for suicide is 'Q' . . .

https://catalog.archives.gov/OpaAPI/media/1965870/content/arcmedia/electronic-records/rg-330/cacdb/153.1DP.pdf
I found the key code for the US Marine World War 2 Casualty Card database. The code for suicide in other databases may be Q. But the code for suicide on the US Marine World War 2 Casualty Card database is definitely SUI. I saw it with my own eyes.
 
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I saw it with my own eyes.
Who 'ya going to believe? Me or your own lyin' eyes? :wink:
 
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I was really hoping he had been KIA. There is a lot of glory in being KIA. There is no glory in his committing suicide.
I'm not sure I understand this, any glory either way attaches to your cousin, not you.

Suppose you had discovered him to have been Helm Hammerhand, how would that change your life now?
 
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gmax137 said:
I'm not sure I understand this, any glory either way attaches to your cousin, not you.
I think that a grieving person has a right to be consoled or disappointed depending on the hows and whys:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45319/the-charge-of-the-light-brigade

From: https://www.rct.uk/commanders-of-the-light-brigade

The charge was tactically a disaster, but in the eyes of the Russians the British cavalry appeared to know no fear. The action was summed up by the French commander General Pierre Bosquet who remarked, ‘C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre; c’est de la folie’ [It’s magnificent, but it’s not war; it’s madness’].​
 
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  • #13
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I'm not sure I understand this, any glory either way attaches to your cousin, not you.
I agree that their would be more glory "attached" to my cousin than to me. However, haven't you ever heard of someone being proud of one of their relatives' accomplishments? If not, i don't know what planet you're from, but it is definitely not Earth!
 
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To console myself, i am going to expand from family tree and find a blood relative (not someone i am only related to by marriage) of mine who was KIA in WW2. Maybe the closest i will find is a fourth cousin, twice removed, but i will find someone.

All my life i've felt this pride that my cousin Edward was KIA gloriously for America in World War 2 and it turns out that he committed suicide, wimping out on his country and his comrades. It is a letdown
 
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berkeman
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Thread closed temporarily for Moderation...
 
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berkeman
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After a long Mentor discussion, this thread will remain closed.

Thank you everybody for trying to help the OP with this issue.
 
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