Rank: Corporal, 21st Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
War: World War II
Courtesy of Foster’s Daily Democrat — Constantine Chrysafidis said he was 18 when he left high school to join the Marines in November 1942, in the midst of World War II. He was a corporal of the 21st Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, primarily stationed in Guam. “Back then, people lined up around the block to join,” Chrysafidis said. “We were all united in this fight and we all wanted to serve.” He said becoming a Marine took a lot of hard work and dedication. Basic training taught him harsh lessons as a young man, like scrubbing floors with a toothbrush for forgetting to clean his gun, but he said they were lessons that ultimately saved his life in combat. While stationed in Guam, he was out on patrol in the early hours of the morning. He opened fire on an approaching Japanese soldier, and next thing he knew, he had a hand grenade in his lap. “I just ran and asked for Jesus’ help, and it blew me right into a foxhole, and I said to myself, ‘Hey I’m still alive!” Chrysafidis said, noting it was pitch black outside at 2 a.m. “I felt my left leg wasn’t there anymore, I couldn’t move it or see it. As I was moved from the foxhole I realized I’m dragging my leg and I said, ‘Hey, my leg is there!’ I really thought I lost it, but there was shrapnel that hit my leg.” The injury sent him to several military hospitals to recuperate from his injuries, but he suffered significant nerve damage, which ultimately cut his time in the Marines short after 28 months.