Biography of Bill Chrissos
10th Mtn Div, USA
My story is my father's, Bill Chrissos. He was born on an island ( Karpathos) in Greece and taken to the US as a young boy to escape starvation and possible enlistment into the Italian army under Mussolini. Karpathos was invaded by Germany and Italy. He then enlisted at a young age into the US army and was selected to be in the 10th mountain division. This division was a specially trained ski unit trained to ski in the Alps. Many former members have formed ski resorts including Aspen and Vail. My father was chosen because of his physical stamina and his knowledge of Italian. They put him through an unbelievable training in the mountains of Colorado near aspen (the camp still exists and there is a highway named after the 10th.) He talks about this training often. They hiked many feet up to passes in below zero temp with skis and equipment and guns on their back. Later he was sent to fight in Italy in the Alps on skis. He was severely wounded there and received many medals including the purple heart.
He recovered totally from his wound except for the loss of his big toe which he makes many jokes about to his children now.
He is still alive and well in Ohio with 5 children and 10 grandchildren. At the moment he is visiting Karpathos Greece for the summer ( the first time in many years) where he has always been remembered as Basil Chrissos the war Hero.
His life and stories always struck me as great material for a book but I am not a writer. A young boy from a beautiful Greek island ends up in sub zero temps in a famous ski infantry. Unfortunately he was never able to ski again due to the war injuries but all his children love to ski and have been to see the camp and the war memorials in aspen and vail.
He remembers his training with kind of a love hate thing but loves to talk about it as if it was the greatest part of his life. As of his war experiences in Italy he talks little and tells us He doesn't want to talk about it because it was hell. He always said war is true hell. He does not like to remember that part of his life.
His loving and adoring daughter Nancy
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