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Popalis Family History
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Peter Popalis soon after enlistment, 1916.
Peter Popalis enlisted in the United States Navy during World War I, the year was 1916. Peter was assigned to a new battleship, the U.S.S. Arizona, his position was Chief Water Tender. The Arizona had just been commissioned the previous year. Both the Arizona and her sister ship, the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, represented the seafaring might of the United States Navy at that time. During World War I the U.S.S. Arizona served as a gunnery training ship and patrolled the waters of the eastern seaboard from the Virginia Capes to New York. In the years after World War I the Arizona and her crew saw varied duty and traveled around the world representing U.S. interests.
Chief Petty Officer Peter Popalis, while onboard the Arizona. Click on the image above for a larger version.
Peter attained the rank of Cheif Petty Officer and stayed onboard the Arizona until the late 1930's, at which time he became a recruiting officer in Elmira NY. This was followed by a brief retirement, brief only because the outbreak of World War II saw Peter called back to active sea duty in 1942. Peter was immediately assigned to the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Quincy, currently being overhauled in the New York Naval Yard. After being transferred to the Pacific Fleet the Quincy was sent to New Zealand, in July 1942, where she joined the forces preparing for the invasion of the Solomon Islands. On August 7th 1942, the U.S.S. Quincy bombarded Japanese installations on Guadalcanal in support of the U.S. Marine Corps landing there. During the night of August 8-9, she was one of three heavy cruisers stationed in the northern approaches to the invasion zone. There, in the early morning darkness of August 9th 1942, the Quincy was sunk by a force of Japanese cruisers in the disastrous Battle of Savo Island. The American cruisers; Vincennes, Astoria & Quincy, were taken by suprise. The U.S.S. Quincy was the only ship able to retaliate, slamming two salvoes into the heavy cruiser Chokai, destroying a gun turret. During the course of the battle the Quincy suffered many direct hits. The U.S.S. Quincy went under the water, bow first, and came to rest in an area which would later be known as Ironbottom Sound. Quincy caualties included 370 men dead and 167 wounded. Peter was among the wounded, he suffered injuries and was blown into the water during the battle. Peter was hospitalized, treated and then sent back to the United States.
To read about the Battle of Savo Island in more detail, CLICK HERE.
Visit the U.S.S. Arizona or the U.S.S. Quincy pages to see these ships during Peter's tour of duty.
Joseph Popalis during World War II.
Joseph Popalis enlisted in 1938, and after a brief stint as a Military Police officer, was assigned to the 8th Army Air Force. The 8th Air Force was based in Gratorford England and Joseph remained at the Air Force Depot for the duration of the war. Joseph's position was Tech Inspector, and all planes required his o.k. before they were allowed to fly. While in England Joseph attained the rank of Master Sergeant and at the conclusion of the war, was discharged from the Air Force in 1945.
Visit the ENGLAND 1944 page to see an Army Air Force image taken during Joseph's time in Europe.
Albert Popalis at the dawn of the second World War.
Albert Popalis enlisted in 1938, and became an Engineer Gunner aboard a B-17. Albert took part in the Invasion of North Africa and saw action from Africa up through Foggia, Italy. Later Albert would be reassigned to B-29 school in Salina, Kansas and assumed duties as an Engineer on a B-29. Albert then flew two bombing missions over Japan before the end of the war. Albert would eventually attain the rank of Cheif Master Sergeant. After World War II Albert stayed in the service as a crew member of the Strategic Air Command until his retirement after 25 years of service.
Andrew T. Popalis
Andrew T. Popalis around 1943.
Andrew T. Popalis entered the service in March of 1943 at the age of 19. Andrew then attended Technical School for WACOCG4A Combat Gliders, and was sent overseas in November, 1943. Andrew served briefly in North Africa, primerally in Oran and was later assigned to the China-Burma-India theater of operations. Andrew spent 27 months overseas, based in India and Burma and attained the rank of Technical Sergeant. He returned home at the end of the war in February, 1946.
Visit the CBI page to learn more about Andrew's time in the China-Burma-India theater.
Bruce Popalis in the United States Army, 1958.
Bruce Popalis enlisted in 1958, and became a Military Police Officer. While serving in the United States, Bruce was stationed in Fort Dix, Fort Gordon and Fort Jay (1st Army Headquarters). Bruce was then assigned to the 7th Army, 3rd Armored Division, 503rd M.P. Company, stationed in occupied Germany. Bruce served in the German cities of Frankfurt, Budigen and Gelnhausen. While in Gelnhausen Bruce was the Chief Traffic Accident Investigator and as part of his duties, investigated all traffic accidents and all military fatalities, reguardless of cause. Bruce attained the rank of Specialist 4th class and was honorably discharged in 1961.
If you would like to see additional photographs from Bruce's tour of duty CLICK HERE.
Andrew M. Popalis
Andrew M. Popalis soon after joining the Army Reserve.
On April 14, 1971, Andrew M. Popalis (son of Andrew T. and Rose Popalis) enlisted in the United States Army Reserve. During his enlistment Andrew had many accomplishments, culminating in the awarding of the Meritorious Service Medal. For seven of his 20 years in the Army Reserve, Andrew served as First Sergeant of Bravo Company, 6th Battalion, 68th Armor Division, 157th Separate Infantry Brigade (Mechanized). Andrew retired from the Army Reserve on May 15, 1991.
If anyone has information on James or Eugene Popalis' time in the military please go to the Contact Page, we would love to hear about it!
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