Chrysafidis, Constantine

Constantine Chrysafidis was born August 13, 1925 in Leonidia, Greece, born of an American mother and a Greek father.  He was raised in Athens, and when his parents divorced he came to the United States with his mother in 1939, beginning his American journey.  They settled in Maysville, Kentucky, where Constantine adapted to life in the U.S., learning English and playing many sports at school.  The attack on Pearl Harbor happened when he was in high school, and on his 18th birthday in 1943 Constantine joined the Marines.  He did his basic training on the west coast – which gave him the chance to visit Hollywood – and soon enough he was off to Pearl Harbor and Maui, and then on to Guam.  In Guam Constantine and the other Marines were given the task of hunting down the Japanese forces that were hiding in the jungle:  so they would do patrols on dangerous terrain, killing Japanese soldiers and taking prisoners where they could.  His next stop would be Iwo Jima, where the 3rd Marines were to be used as reinforcements.  They went ashore at D+2, and Constantine took part in the combat inland, as the Marines fought to take control of the island’s airfields.  In the battle for the second airfield Constantine was grievously wounded in his left leg, and he was evacuated from the battlefield and sent to a military hospital in Saipan.  Nerves in his lower left leg had been severed, so he needed specialized care, and he was sent further east to Hawaii.  Over time he recovered some function, but the injury turned out to have lifelong impacts.  After time in Hawaii he returned to the mainland U.S.,  arriving in Oakland en route to Bethesda, Maryland, where additional surgery and physiotherapy awaited him.  Eventually Constantine left the hospital and returned to civilian life, armed with his education earned from the GI Bill.  He went into the restaurant business, awakening an entrepreneurial spirit that saw him go in multiple directions.  He supported people in his community, and married and raised a family, maintaining his positive direction and optimistic attitude in spite of the challenges put in front of him.  Constantine Chrysafidis was interviewed by Scott Masters at his home in Rochester, New Hampshire in July 2022.