Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Karthas
Reflections on this veteran's military service
Submitted by Nicholas Karthas
I am age 90, and I am thankful to God that I am still around. During my lifetime, I have been fortunate that I have been able to help others and to have served my country in the U.S. Navy for 34 years. I was the youngest of eight children. My father passed away when I was eight years old. During World War II, when I was 17, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy. I was the sole supporter of my mother, and with my pay and dependent pay, I was able to continue to support her. In the Navy, I was sent to Electricians Mate school and upon graduation, I was ordered to board the U.S.S. Huse DE145, a destroyer escort ship. There were 565 destroyer escorts built during the war to counteract the German submarines, also known as U Boats. The U Boats were located in the Atlantic and sank at random all ships, including commercial and military. The main objective of the destroyer escorts was to seek out and destroy the German submarine fleet. The ship I was on was credited with sinking five German submarines. I served on board for two years. Almost all of my fellow WWII shipmates have passed away.
After WWII I was recalled to serve during the Korean War and in 1961 for the Vietnam War. During these two wars, I was married with one daughter. During 1961, at the beginning of the U.W. involvement in Vietnam, I was on board the U.S.S. Marsh DE699. The ship sailed to Vietnam from Long Beach where I served as a Chief Electrician on board. In 1956, I also served briefly on the aircraft carrier, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and sailed around the South American horn.
Nicholas and his family moved to Lakewood in 1954 upon his release from active duty from the Korean War.