John A. Barakis
Biography: John A. Barakis was born on February 25, 1920, in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was the son of Andrew Barakis and Alexandra Tsaltes and attended Franklin, Wilson, Maynard and then Central High school. He left school early to help the family and found work in the manufacturing of boots and shoes. He also joined the National Guard in anticipation of the war to come.
Service Time: John entered the service on February 24, 1941, at Manchester, New Hampshire. He was assigned to Company C and also served in Reconnaissance Company of the 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Just prior to shipping out, they converted to the 3″ towed gun as their main weapon.
The unit shipped out from the New York port on June 3, 1944, and arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on June 12th. After some additional training and preparations for actions in France, they boarded transports and debarked at Utah Beach on August 7th, joining the fighting around Argentan. The unit moved eastward to Lorraine as part of a cavalry screen with the 7th Armored Division, participating in fighting around Metz starting in September.
The 774th fought along the Saar in December and then joined the rush north to the Ardennes. They converted to the M36 tank destroyer in late February, 1945, and drove to the Rhine in March. They held the Rhine, west of the Ruhr Pocket in April, and then took on military government duties. John was awarded the Bronze Star medal under General Order 217 of August 27, 1945 from the HQ of the 94th Infantry Division. The citation reads:
For Heroic achievement, in connection with military operations against the enemy of the United States, in Germany, from 2 December, 1944, to 19 December, 1944, in all combat operations. Private Barakis has proved himself to be an outstanding soldier. On one occasion while evacuating a damaged vehicle under heavy fire, he was forced to seek cover on numerous occasions, but persisted in his mission until this vehicle was removed from the danger area. His heroic example and unflinching devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States.
John returned to Manchester and on December 9, 1945, married the former Fay Ziogas who was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, and was the daughter of Stavros Ziogas and Evangeline Tsaras. The new couple had three children, John Andrew, Stephen and Sandra. John worked for the Manchester Gas Company and he retired after 35 years. In addition to his work, he was also active in the St. George Greek Orthodox Church and loved spending time with his children and later his granddaughters. He was also a member of the Order of Ahepa and NOA, which is a Greek men’s club.
John passed away on February 24, 2005, and was buried in the Brown Avenue Cemetery in Manchester. I want to thank John’s son, Stephen, for providing the information and the main photo for this tribute. I want to thank Hannah Desmarais for the use of the grave marker photo.
John wasn’t the only member of the family that received recognition of their WWII service. His cousin, Sgt. Christos Karaberis (aka Chris Carr) was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near Guignola, Italy, on October 1 – 2, 1944. Chris’ brother Constantine “Connie” Karaberis graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935 and served on the U.S.S. Honolulu and was on the ship when it was attacked on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor. He eventually reached the rank of Rear Admiral.