LTjg Samaras trained as a Midshipman at Northwestern University and was commissioned on the 22nd December 1943. He was assigned to the Amphibious Training Base in Solomons, MD and after 6 weeks training, he was ordered to New Orleans, LA to become the CO of LCT 709. After a week of fitting out in New York, his little ship became part of a 70 ship Atlantic convoy bound for England.
LCT 709 rode piggy back on a much larger LST, namely the LST 510. 510 was loaded to the gills with ammunition and during the crossing of the Atlantic the convoy was soon under attack by German U-Boats.
While on watch one night, a torpedo struck and blew up a tanker near his ship. He could see another torpedo heading toward him. It struck the hull of LST 510, but did not explode. He later told his son David, it was at that point when he became a fatalist.
The convoy arrived in Ireland, and later LCT 709 moved to Plymouth England
On the night of 4th June 1944, he set sail for France as part of a huge armada. Half way across the Channel, they were called back only to repeat the voyage the following day.
As the sun came up in 6th June 1944, LCT 709 maneuvered into position to make a run into Utah Beach. Ltjg Samaras recalled there were ships everywhere, from horizon to horizon and the sky was black with airplanes.
On their very first landing they were able to disembark troops, trucks, and jeeps, but were unable to pull the ship off the beach because the anchor cable was fouled in the screws. Crewmen, including the Skipper Samaras took turns going over the side with a hack saw to free the propeller. It took 7 hours, and they were under heavy fire. Finally, by mid-afternoon, they were underway and making more landings. Once the Mullberry harbors were operational, the beach landings became less frequent.
By the end of July he was ordered stateside with 30 days leave.
New orders sent him to the Pacific as CO of LCS(L)(3) 81, a former landing craft supply ship converted to a gun platform.
This little ship served in radar picket duty northeast of Okinawa. Alerting the fleet anchorage at Okinawa and fighting off Kamakazis was the job of the LCS-81 and they shot down several, including 3 in one day.
Following the surrender of Japan, LTjg Samaras was part of the Occupaton of Japan.
He was honorably discharged in 1946 after serving 20 months overseas.
Ltjg Samaras wartime decorations include;
Bronze Star with "V"
American Theatre of Operations
European Theatre of Operations with one Battle Star
Asiatic Pacific Theatre of Operations with one Battle Star
Philippines Liberation Medal
Japan Occupation Medal
World War Two Victory Medal