The description of the bravery actions of Christos H. Karaberis during World War 2 is mind boggling. The official record speaks for itself:
Rank and organizations: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company L, 337th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Guignola, Italy, 1-2 October 1944.
Citation: Leading a squad of Company L, he gallantry cleared the way for his company’s approach along a ridge toward its objective, the Casoni di Remagna. When his platoon was pinned down by heavy fire from enemy mortars, machine-guns, machine pistols and rifles, he climbed in advance of his squad on a maneuver around the left flank to locate and eliminate the enemy gun positions. Undeterred by deadly fire that ricocheted off the barren rocky hillside, he crept to the rear of the first machinegun and charged, firing his submachinegune. In this surprise attack he captured 8 prisoners and turned them over to his squad before striking out alone for a second machinegun. Discovered in his advance and subjected to direct fire from the hostile weapon, he leaped to his feet and ran forward, weaving and crouching, pouring automatic fire into the emplacement that killed 4 of its defenders and forced the surrender of a third machinegun. When close to the emplacement, he closed with a nerve-shattering shout and burst of fire. Paralyzed by his whirlwind attack, all 4 gunners immediately surrendered. Once more advancing aggressively in the face of a thoroughly alerted enemy, he approached a point of high ground occupied by 2 machineguns which were firing on his company on the slope below. Charging the first of these weapons, he killed 4 of the crew and captured 3 more. The 6 defenders of the adjacent position, cowed by the savagery of the assault, immediately gave up. By his 1-man attack, heroically and voluntarily undertaken in the face of tremendous risks, Sgt. Karaberis captured 5 enemy machine-gun positions, killed 8 Germans, took 22 prisoners, cleared the ridge leading to his company’s objective, and drove a deep wedge into the enemy line, making it possible for his battalion to occupy important, commanding ground. [from page 513, “Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863-1978, by U.S. Government Printing Office].
He continued fighting with his battalion, at least for seven more days, if the article in the Oakland Tribune of September 7, 1948 is true: “Karaberis wears the Combat Infantryman’s badge and the Purple Heart, which he received for leg wounds suffered only seven days after the heroic exploit that won him the CMH.”
By November 1945 Christos H. Karaberis had returned home, to parades, accolades. The 9 November 1945 edition of the Lowell Sun newspaper heralded “A Parade for Karaberis,” stating: Monday at an Armistice day program the Manchester sergeant who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his feat will be honored at a public reception following the holiday parade. Besides the parade of military and civic bodies and speech making in his honor, Karaberis will receive a gift from the city. “I never thought this could happen to me,” commented Manchester’s hero.”
It appears from several newspaper stories, that life after the military was not easy for Karaberis. In May of 1947 the newspapers wrote about his difficulty in finding employment, and how he had been offered a bus driving job in Albany, New York.
Decorated Vet Lands Job After Two Years
ALBANY NY–May 26 (UP) Christos Karaberis, 33 year old former Army sergeant and holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor, began work today as a bus driver for the United Traction company here. Karaberis had searched for work since his discharged from the Army two years ago, but was unable to do “strenuous jobs” because of service injuries. Although he never drove a bus before, Karaberis grinned and said: “I’ve driven Army trucks, so bus driving should be easy.” Two weeks ago his plight came to the attention of Mayor Erastus Corning, and ex-G.I. The mayor made several inquiries and announced he expected to have a job for Karaberis soon. Karaberis won the Congressional Medal in the Italian campaign when he was riddled with shell fragments and blinded for three weeks. His feat opened a wedge through the enemy lines and permitted an advance of his own company. The medal was presented to him by President Truman in 1945. Karaberis, whose home is Manchester NH, is visiting a war buddy in nearby Schenectady. [Lubbock Morning Avalanche, Lubbock TX, May 27, 1947, page 5]
By September of 1948, Christos H. Karaberis had re-enlisted and was working as a U.S. Army Recruiter, according to this newspaper account. By War Hero Now Recruiter Here. From taking on German machine guns nests singlehandedly to Army and Air Force Recruiting duty at 15th and Jackson Streets is quite a jump, but thats the transition made by Sgt. Christos H. Karaberis, holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration…”It was just a case of them or me,” Karaberis explained. Karaberis was out of the Army for a time, then decided to re-enlist. His job now is to try to convince others that he made a wise move. Just now he’s trying to find a place in Oakland for him and his wife to live. [Oakland Tribune, September 7, 1948, page 20D]
By October 1951, Christos is shown in a newspaper photograph holding his son 19 month old son James. The storyline follows: “NOT IN, NOT OUT OF ARMY: BROKE. While his father, Sgt. Christos Karaberis, 37, Congressional Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, and Italian Military Valor Cross winner, looks over mounting bills in their San Pedro, Cal., home, 19 month old James Karaberis toys with his daddy’s Medal of Honor, which someday will permit him to qualify for military academies without other appointment. The sergeant is a victim of Berger’s disease and is anxiously awaiting verdict of Army Review board on granting of 60 per cent disability. He cannot apply for a job because he still is on Army rolls, and he’ll be destitute soon if funds don’t arrive. Karaberis has a wife, Anita, and a daughter, Christine, 2-1/2.” [Mount Pleasant News, Mount Pleasant30 Octber 1951, page 3].
Two months later in November of 1951 it appears that Christos’ situation is improving. AILING HERO GIVEN PLANT PLANT TASKS. Hawthorne, Nov 27 (AP) Life is a little brighter today for Sgt. Chris H. Karaberis, 37, holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Karaberis is suffering from Buerger’s disease, which attacks the blood vessels. He was broke and jobless until the Veteran of Foreign Wars came to his aid. Yesterday Northrop Aircraft Company gave him a job in its shipping department. Karaberis who has a wife and two children, won his medal in Italy. He wiped out five German machine guns, killed eight men and captured 22. [Long Beach Press Telegraph, November 27, 1951]
By official accounts, Christos K. Karaberis later legally changed his name to Chris Carr, and that is the name on his grave stone. He died September 16, 1970 and is buried at Los Angeles Memorial Cemetery, Los Angeles, California. His wife, Juanita, who died 7 years later is beside him. He left two children: a daughter Christine, and son James Karaberis.
NOTE: I would be deeply grateful if any relatives who have more information and/or additional photographs of Christos H. Karaberis and family would contact me through this blog.
[Editor’s Note: This article is one of several I have written at the request of Don Pinard, Department of Public Works, Chief of Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, City of Manchester, New Hampshire. It is a volunteer project (on my part) to better record and share the stories of the men memorialized by the city’s “Military Squares.” All the information specifically within the body of this project is shared copyright free with the City of Manchester and its representatives, with the exception of photographs provided by family or friends who still retain whatever rights conveyed to them by law.]
=====PARTIAL GENEALOGY of Christos H. Karaberis=====
Arthur (Artauros) Karaberis, b. 4 July 1888 in Larissa Greece, [per his WW2 Draft Registration] and died Nov 1965 in Ipswich Massachusetts; He married 21 Sep 1947 — to Mary Zartha Karatzas/Karalga, dau of Nicholas & Pipina N. (Zaravas) Karatzas. She was born 4 Sep 1891 in Greece [Izmir Turkey], and d. Sep 1974 in Waltham MA [SSDI];
1910 United States Census
Athanias Karaberis b abt 1889 Greece immigrated 1909 single
1940 United States Census > MA > Essex > Ipswich > 8 Putnam Rd
Arthur Karaberis 50 M W 6 yrs of school Greece Foreman shoe shop
Mary Karaberis 48 married finished 1st grade wife
Theodore Karaberis 20 single G1 son
Nicholas Karaberis 18 single H3 son
Children of Arthur & Mary (Karatzas) Karaberis:
1. Constantine Arthur Karaberis, b. 4 Aug 1912 in Hillsboro NH; d. 5 Feb 1987 in San Diego California; m. 16 June 1937 at King, Washington to Phyllis Audrey Smith, daughter of Fred Edgar Smith; he m2) Avis Moore. She b. 27 Oct 1915 and d. 11 Dec 1998 in San Diego California. Constantine A. Karaberis graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1935. Captain of the “USS Wasp” 1943 CV-16, CVA-18, CVS-18 1972. He was eventually promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. He is buried at Annapolis, Anne Arundel Co., MD.
2. +Christos H. Karaberis, aka Chris Carr, born 6 April 1914 in Manchester NH [see below, the top of this blog post]
3. Theodore Arthur “Telemachos” Karaberis, b 16 June 1919 Manchester NH; d. 9 April 1976 MA; Enlisted 15 Feb 1944, out 14 Apr 1946 Army
4. Nicholas A. Karaberis, b. 29 July 1921; d. 20 July 1966 MA; m. 21 Sep 1947 in Newport VT to Doris Mae Prue. Joint owner of Royal Cafe, Newport VT. Military 10 Dec 1942, out 11 Feb 1946 Navy. Children: Michael A. Karaberis b 13 Feb 1948 in NH, d. 6 July 2004 Denver Colorado [military 28 Nov 1969-out 4 Nov 1971]; Nicholas Frederick Karaberis, and Charlene Marie Karaberis.
Christos H. Karaberis, son of Arthur & Mary (Karatzas) Karaberis, was born 6 April 1914 in Manchester NH, died 16 September 1970 Los Angeles, California. He joined the United States army from Manchester NH in October 1942. He married 1st) 17 March 1938 in Seabrook, Rockingham Co. NH to Phyllis Irene Vannah, dau of John & Theresa (O’Hanley) Vannah. She was b. in Gloucester MA. He m2) Juanita B. “Anita” Houle , dau of Arthur & Blanche Houle. She b. 9 April 1920, Canada, d. 7 July 1977 Orange Co. California. He served in the United States Army as a Sergeant in Company L, 337th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery near Guignola, Italy, on October 1 and 2, 1944. [He is the subject of this blog story].
Children of Christos H. & Juanita B. (Houle) Karaberis:
1. Christine Karaberis [now Miller] of Hawaii
2. James Arthur Karaberis (1950-2006)