Haig Sarafian was born September 23, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the only child of Puzant Sarafian and mother Elizabeth Kistorian, both Armenians from Turkey. Peter immigrated to the United States in 1916 and Elizabeth during 1921. In the United States, his father Americanized his first name to "Peter".
In 1930, his father worked as Paperhanger/Decorating, while his mother worked as a picker at a silk mill. At some point during the 1930s, his father abandoned the family. Afterwards, he and his mother lived at 5948 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. She then moved to 6027 Ludlow Street, Philadelphia, PA. His father lived at 6203 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.
As of 1935, Sarafian was an "inmate" at the Luzerne County Industrial School for Boys (Kis-Lyn School for Boys). During early October 1940, Sarafian was one of seventeen inmates that escaped the school until they were located by the State Police on October 11, 1940 and returned to the school.
On January 12, 1943 at age 17, Haig Sarafian enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) in Philadelphia. Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) with service number 530680. He was given his tetanus shot during March 1943 and completed his recruit training at Camp Elliott in San Diego, CA.
During July 1943 assigned to 22nd Replacement Battalion. In October 1943 assigned to Headquarters & Service Battery and transported overseas across the Pacific aboard either USS Hunter Liggett (APA-14) and USS George Clymer (APA-27) before arriving on Guadalcanal. Assigned to Special Weapons Group.
Sarafian was assigned to the 3rd Defense Battalion manning a 90mm anti-aircraft gun at Torokina on Bougainville. Afterwards, he returned to Guadalcanal and was based at Tetere. While on the island, he lost or dropped one of his dog tags.
In July 1944, promoted to Private First Class (Pfc). On September 11, 1944 assigned to the Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment (C/1/1) in the 1st Marine Division just prior to the U. S. Marine invasion of Peleliu Island.
Missing In Action (MIA)
On September 19, 1944 Pfc Haig Sarafian went Missing In Action (MIA) on Peleliu Island. He was eighteen years old, missing four days before his 19th birthday.
Sarafian was officially declared dead on January 22, 1946. He earned the Silver Star for gallantry and Purple Heart, posthumously. Sarafian is memorialized at the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Massachusetts National Cemetery at plot M/B, 0, 32.
On May 2, 1950 his mother received $500 compensation payment from the state of Pennsylvania for the death of her son. His father's claim was denied on the basis he left the family.
Dog Tag Discovery
During 2012, a Haig Sarafian's dog tag was found by Mr. Mesion Bosoboe near Tetere on Guadalcanal. During August 2017, Mesion contacted Pacific Wrecks to share his story and the tag. He wants to return the dog tag to a family member. Feeling a special connection to this dog tag, he named his son "Haig" in honor of Haig Sarafian.
Are you a relative of Haig Sarafian?
Born May 23, 1892. Passed away April 1970 and buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia PA. at section 60, lot 40 and 42 (row 2 fr W. L.).
Elizabeth Kistorian (mother)
In 1953, his mother married Cary Kegham Chakarian, a widower from Worcester, Massachusetts and moved to Massachusetts. Her second husband died on March 31, 1983. She passed away February 25, 1989 in Worcester.
Her burial is unknown.
Ancestry Family View - Sarafian Family Tree by desposi1
Ancestry - Haig Sarafian
Puzant M. Sarafian
Ancestry - Elizabeth Kistorian
Ancestry - Cary Kegham Chakarian
1930 United States Federal Census - Pennsylvania, County: Philadelphia - Sarafian, Peter, Elizabeth and Haig
The Wilkes Barre Record "17 Who Fled Kis-Lyn Caught: Last 3 are captured hiding in small shanty near Stockton" October 12, 1940
"The last three of 17 youths who fled Kis-Lyn at Drums last weekend were rounded up by State Police yesterday afternoon and returned to the school... The others recaptured are: Haig Sarafian, Philadelphia."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0569 - January 1-31, 1943
(Page 72) "Sarafian, Haig enlisted 12Jan43, 13, jdrf ERD, 12, enl DHS Philadelphia, Pa."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0604 - April 1-30, 1943
(Page 372) "Sarafian, Haig see footnote D"
(Page 374) "Footnote D: Omitted fr roll."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0639 - July 1-31, 1943
(Page 405) "Sarafian, Haig enlisted 12Jan43, See footnote A"
(Page 427) "Footnote A: 5, jdfr Co "E", InfBn. PC, Camp Elliott, San Diego, Calif."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0639 - July 1-31, 1943
(Page 334) "Sarafian, Haig - See footnote A / "[Footnote] A" 25, to 22d Repln Bn, in the field."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0681 - October 1-31 1943
(Page 296) "Sarafian, Haig - Hq&Sery Btry. See footnotes "B" and "I": 8, jdfr. Spl Wpn. G."
(Page 297) "Footnote B: at sea aboard USS Hunter Liggett (APA-14)]"
(Page 298) "Footnote I: 30, emb aboard USS George Clymer and sailed for Guadalcanal, B.S.I., p.31 only at sea"
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0721 - January 1-31, 1944
(Page 301) "Sarafian, Haig - Spl Wpn G."
Ancrestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0764 - April 1-30, 1944
(Page 176) "504 Btry 'H'"
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0811 - July 1-31, 1944
"Sarafian, Haig - 605 Btry 'B' "
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0868 - October 1-31, 1944
(Page 186) "Sarafian, Haig - 605 Btry 'B': Tarr to 1st Bn. 1st Mar, 1st Mar Div. on 11 Sep44. Picked up as straggler on rolls 'c' Co, 1st Bn. 1st Mar, 1st Mar Div. 11Sept-18Sep44. det d..."
(Page 187) "... with 1st Mar Div: 19Sep44. evacuated, destination unknown; see addends.* "
"Sarafian, Haig - 19Sep44, WIA against Japanese forces, on Peleliu Island, Palau Islands."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0917 - January 1-31, 1945
(Page 939) "Sarafian, Haig- (605)."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 0794 - January 1-31, 1945
(Page 939) "Sarafian, Haig - (605)."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 1013 - July 1-31, 1945
(Page 513) "Sarafian, Haig - 605 HqCo: evacuated, destination unknown."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 1055 - October 1-31, 1945
"Sarafian, Haig - 530680 19, jd fr Co. C. 1B, 1Mar."
Ancestry - USMC Muster Rolls - Roll 1105 - January 1946 - Sarafian, Haig
(Page 83) "MIA 19Sept44. Declared KIA on Palau Is. 22Jan46 by reason of finding of death by SecNav."
USMC Service File -
USMC Casulaty Report -
Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) - Haig Sarafian
Application For World War II Compensation - To be used in case of death - Kistorian Elizabeth (surviving mother) May 2, 1950
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Haig Sarafian
FindAGrave - PFC Haig Sarafian (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Haig Sarafian (Massachusetts National Cemetery photo)
Hall of Valor - Haig Sarafian
Honor States - Haig Sarafian
Peleliu Tribute - Names Q-S - Pfc Haig Sarafian
United States Marine Corps Casualties - Part 1 - by name - Sarafian, Haig
United States Marine Corps Casualties - Part 2 - by date - Sarafian, Haig
Missing Marines - PFC Haig Sarafian
Thanks to Mesion Bosoboe and Donna Esposito for additional research and analysis.