Andrew “Sam” Mousalimas, a West Oakland, California native and one of America’s greatest World War II warriors, passed away on May 20 at the age of 95.
Born on December 6, 1924 to Sotiros and Paraskevi Caredis Mousalimas in Oakland, he was the older brother to Michael, who predeceased him. He traced his California roots back to Michael and Bessie Caredis, who had arrived in San Francisco from Greece in 1898.
Mousalimas volunteered on March 31, 1943 into the 122nd Infantry Battalion, known as the “Greek Battalion.”
He was one of 200 volunteers to join the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) — the forerunner of the CIA and the Green Berets — in which he served for two years as a paratrooper.
Mousalimas and his comrades secretly parachuted behind enemy lines into occupied Greece and raised havoc among the German forces, destroying infrastructure and pinning down a whopping 31 German divisions which otherwise would have been sent to France to stop the Allied invasion on D-Day,” the East Bay Times reported.
“In retaliation, Hitler issued his infamous Fuhrer Order No. 003830: ‘From now on, all enemies on so-called commando missions are to be slaughtered to the last man. Even if these individuals should apparently be prepared to give themselves up, no pardon is to be granted them,’” the Times reported, adding that “any Greek who helped catch them would be rewarded with their own weight in gold – no small incentive in a nation where the Germans were systematically starving the civilian population.”
“But not one Greek ever turned us in,” Mousalimas said proudly, years later, the East Bay Times reported. “Not one.”
The former paratrooper would later write of his many wartime exploits — for which he received the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington D.C. in 2018 — in a book of his memoirs.
When the war ended, Mousalimas returned to Oakland and threw himself into his passion for his Church, serving as board member and later, in 1955, being elected, at the age of 31, as the youngest president of the Assumption community.
Perhaps most famously, he was one of the founders of the beloved American pastime of Fantasy Football and was therefore inducted into the Toyota Fantasy Football Hall of Fame.