John Papayanni

John Clifford Papayanni was born in Wagga Wagga on May 5, 1920, the youngest of three sons (Basil and George) of Nicholas Papayanni and his wife, Winifred (nee Hill). All of them grew up in Kogarah. Cliff's grandfather and great-uncle, Basilio, and George, from Smyrna, Asia Minor, had founded the Papayanni Steamship Company in Liverpool, England. Unfortunately, Basilio's son, Nicholas, gambled away the fortune and headed to Australia, where he met and married Winifred. Cliff was brilliant at school and earned entrance into the selective Canterbury Boys High School where he was always at the top of his class. Unfortunately, as the family was poor, he was forced to quit school early. Cliff loved school and cried the day he was compelled to leave and find work at the age of 13 in order to earn money.


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Leon Moutsos

Leon Moutsos was the son of the Greek immigrant couple, Emanuel (Volakis) Moutsos and Jasmine Moutsos. Emanuel gave the nickname of Moutsos when he came through Ellis Island (as he did not speak English). Later his real last name was appended as a middle name. He immigrated from Samos in 1908. He came over via Ellis Island, got a job on the railroads in Tennessee, and worked his way over to Chicago. He entered the draft at 18 years of age and was gassed fighting the Germans in WW I. He was given an honorable discharge and awarded the Purple Heart. He remained a barber for the rest of his life and retired in Colorado. Leon was born in Colorado and continuing his father legacy, he fought in WW II and during the Korean War, was debriefing Greek Generals as he spoke fluent Greek and English. They flew him to Cyprus during the Korean War ......

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Constantine Chioles

Constantine ‘Connie’ Chioles was born on June 1, 1915, in Aurora, Illinois. He was the son of Samuel Konstantine and Emily Chioles. Samuel immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's along with his brother John Konstantine Chioles. Their heritage was from Levidi in Arkadia, few kilometers outside Tripolis. The Greek spelling of their surname was originally Tsioles. Αt least eight members of Chioles family immigrated to the US and initially settled in Aurora, Illinois, between them the two brothers which managed to established a candy store which they operated for some time until they moved to Chicago. Connie was born and grew up in Aurora. Before WWII he worked for the railroads. He enlisted in the US Army Air Corp on May 14, 1942. Before being posted overseas for duty he served as an instructor in the advanced training ......


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K. Stylianopoulos

Konstantinos 'Dinos' Stylianopoulos is a special kind of a Greek in foreign cockpits. Born and raised in Greece, he left for studies in the United States of America dreaming of being an airline pilot, gained his citizenship and enlisted to the USAF, trained by HAF Officers during Euro-Nato pilot training programme in Sheppard AFB, TX and finally becoming a pilot in one of the hottest fighters ever made, the famous McDonell Douglas F-15 Eagle. After he left the Air Force he flew in numerous airlines and now he flies over the Pacific with the Cathay Pacific Airlines, big airliners like the Boeing 747 and Boeing 777. No one could write about him better than he did, in our introductory note for our Volume B' of GREEKS IN FOREIGN COCKPITS.

"Its the fall of 1984. I had finished high school and was with my first girlfriend, Tessy, riding across the coastal freeway in Glifada, next to Athens airport in my Simonini 50CC (special pistons made it very powerful) motocross bike making noise. I had barely finished high school by the skin of my teeth (reexaminations for four subjects) without getting admitted to any Greek Universities. It has always been very competitive and my lack of studying combined with excessive semi-pro soccer playing at the age of 17 sure did not contribute. We stopped at a gas station to fill up with the special mix for 2-stroke bike engines and I see a big jet taking off from the old Athens Airport in Hellenikon...and it hit me...why didn't I think of that earlier.....

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Christos Mougianis

1st Lt Christos Mugianis (aka Christ Manners) was born October 14, 1921, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was the son of Greek immigrants. His parents were Diamandis Mugianis and Mary Vassilaros who came to the USA in 1902 from the Greek island of Icaria in the Aegean Sea. The couple had also 2 more daughters, Mary and Ann as well as two more sons, John and George. During September 1940, the family changed the name to Manners as it was easiest to pronounced by the Americans. Diamandis was an industrial paint contractor and he created a company named D. Mugianis and Sons Inc. The WW2 was the reason for Christ to enlist in the USAAF although it isn't known if he was an aviation enthusiast. It must be noted that the family had already a member with wartime experience. A cousin of Christ, although much older, with the same name, Christos Mugianis was born in Greece and fought at a very young age during the Asia Minor Greek campaign. He later immigrated to the United States and....


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Samuel Assimotos

Samuel A. Assimotos was born in Constantinople on June 4, 1919. According to his daughter Sandra Assimotos, the name spelling isn’t correct, may be changed when her grandparents emigrated. They came to the United States in 1920 when Samuel was 6 months, because of the continues Turkish threats against Greeks. His father Anthony Assimotos had no other family in the US and his mother named Bessie Meshitis had a lot of her sisters with her, as all came to the US at the same time. They also were from Constantinople. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Force and promoted to 2nd Lt, after he took Navigation Training on April 10, 1943. For the next two months, he was posted to Pyote and Dalhart, Texas in order to get his Combat Crew Training and posted overseas for combat duty. During his training, his crew involved in one of the most famous incidents in the US during the War. The bombing of ......

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Unveiling S. Legatos

Seventeen years of research. Seventeen years in a continues quest for a Greek parentage pilot who fought and died over Japan. During 2001, Kyriakos Paloulian mentioned for the first time in Greek public the name of Sabe Legatos, a Greek American USN pilot with 4 kills in his credit. I must say that I (Dimitrios Vassilopoulos) was personally obsessed to find his story. The information on the internet was scarce but at least gave me a clue where to search. First our team, through our partnership with Global Military Research LLC managed to find his file and partly reconstruct his career through official squadron papers and reports. However, our effort was incomplete because we didn't have photos of him, except from two blurry ones. Moreover, we couldn’t reach anyone from his family in order to learn more about his heritage and to get more photographic evidence. 2017 was a great year for our research. Having successfully run our Vol.B’ we began writing Vol.C at full throttle. The quest to find Legatos family was a priority. Our timetable is to release the volume C’ in 2020, so we had at least one and a half more year to look for any possible connections with Legatos' family. Suddenly everything has been revealed to us. We didn’t only find the sole survivor from his family, his niece Barbara Taylor who happened to have all his memorabilia, but we also found the name of the Japanese pilot who shot down Legatos. In fact, they shot down each other during a head-on engagement. The information from the Japanese side came through a Japanese researcher, named Kenji Shudo. Both Lt.jg Legatos and Ens. Matsunaga fell in a field area close to his family house. That was the reason for him to start searching for both pilots. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Japan, asking me about Legatos (my email was given to him by a common friend, Nick Alexander, who both asked for further info about Legatos). An enormous amount of information has been exchanged and now we have the complete story of Sabe Legatos actions over the Pacific, as well as how he died. We are very lucky to meet Kenji today in Greece as he had arranged his holidays here before he knew anything about our team and research. Furthermore, he revealed to us the name of Matsunaga's wingman, who was also shot down by Legatos, Sgt. Yokoyama. As a gift for his help, we decided to give him the study of the painting which will be published in our volume C, depicting the final moments of both these heroes, the Greek-American, and Japanese pilot. This study painting will be later reproduced in colors, with all new evidence added/corrected, in order to be given to the Legatos family for its invaluable help in our research and their allowance to tribute their relative. This great artwork was created by our artist, George Moris a man which I have the honor to be his friend, and a ‘sworn’ partner of our research. Our connection with Kenji didn’t stop on Legatos, as he already finds us the victim of another PTO Greek American pilot, who flew the Lockheed P-38 over New Guinea. What a great day!




Δεκαεπτά χρόνια έρευνας. Δεκαεπτά χρόνια σε μια αέναη αναζήτηση για έναν ελληνικής καταγωγής πιλότο που πολέμησε και πέθανε πάνω από την Ιαπωνία. Κατά τη διάρκεια του 2000, ο Κυριάκος Παλουλιάν ανέφερε για πρώτη φορά στο ελληνικό κοινό το όνομα του Sabe Legatos, ενός Ελληνοαμερικανού πιλότου του αμερικανικού ναυτικού με 4 καταρρίψεις στο ενεργητικό του. Πρέπει να πω ότι εγώ (Δημήτριος Βασιλόπουλος) προσωπικά απέκτησα εμμονή για να μάθω την ιστορία του με όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες. Οι πληροφορίες στο διαδίκτυο ήταν σπάνιες αλλά μου έδωσαν τουλάχιστον μια ιδέα για το που να ψάξω. Αρχικά, η ομάδα μας, μέσω της συνεργασίας της με την Global Military Research LLC κατάφερε να βρει τον φάκελό του Legatos και να ανακατασκευάσει εν μέρει την καριέρα του μέσω επίσημων αρχείων των Μοιρών που πετούσε και των αναφορών τους. Ωστόσο, η προσπάθειά μας ήταν ελλιπής, επειδή δεν είχαμε φωτογραφίες από αυτόν, εκτός από δύο πραγματικά κακής ποιότητας. Επίσης, δεν μπορούσαμε να προσεγγίσουμε κανέναν από την οικογένειά του για να μάθουμε περισσότερα για την κληρονομιά του και να βρούμε περισσότερες φωτογραφίες. Το 2017 ήταν ένα σπουδαίο έτος για την έρευνά μας. Έχοντας εκδώσει με επιτυχία τον B’ Τόμο ξεκινήσαμε να γράφουμε Γ’ Τόμο πάση δυνάμει. Η αναζήτηση της οικογένειας Legatos ήταν προτεραιότητα. Το χρονοδιάγραμμά μας είναι να εκδώσουμε τον Γ’ Τόμο το 2020. Έτσι, είχαμε τουλάχιστον ενάμιση ακόμα έτος για να αναζητήσουμε πιθανές διασυνδέσεις με την οικογένεια Legatos. Και ξαφνικά όλα μας αποκαλύφθηκαν. Δεν βρήκαμε μόνο τον μοναδικό επιζώντα από την οικογένειά του, την ανιψιά του Barbara Taylor, που έτυχε να έχει στην κατοχή του όλα τα αναμνηστικά του, αλλά βρήκαμε επίσης τον Ιάπωνα πιλότο που κατέρριψε τον Legatos. Στην πραγματικότητα κατέρριψαν ένας τον άλλον κατά τη διάρκεια μιας μετωπικής εμπλοκής (head on). Οι πληροφορίες από την ιαπωνική πλευρά ήρθαν από έναν Ιάπωνα ερευνητή, Kenji Shudo. Τόσο ο Aνθυποπλοίαρχος (Ι) Legatos όσο και ο Aνθυπασπιστής (Ι) Matsunaga κατέπεσαν σε μια περιοχή κοντά στο πατρικό του. Αυτός ήταν ο λόγος για τον οποίο άρχισε να ψάχνει πληροφορίες και για τους δύο πιλότους. Φανταστείτε την έκπληξή μου όταν έλαβα ένα μήνυμα ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου από την Ιαπωνία, ρωτώντας αν είχα περαιτέρω για τον Legatos (το email μου μου δόθηκε από έναν κοινό φίλο, τον Nick Alexander, στον οποίο είχαμε απευθυνθεί και οι δύο προσπαθώντας να αποκομίσουμε περισσότερες πληροφορίες για τον Ελληνοαμερικανό πιλότο). Ανταλλάσσοντας στοιχεία μεταξύ μας καταφέραμε να αποκτήσουμε σαφή εικόνα της πλήρους ιστορίας της δράσης του Sabe Legatos στον Ειρηνικό καθώς και των συνθηκών κάτω υπό τις οποίες έχασε τη ζωή του. Η καλή μας τύχη συνεχίστηκε, αφού σήμερα συναντήσαμε τον Kenji στην Ελλάδα, καθώς είχε κανονίσει τις διακοπές του εδώ πριν μάθει τίποτα για την ομάδα και την έρευνά μας. Επιπλέον των όσων μας είχε αναφέρει στη μεταξύ μας επικοινωνία, αυτή τη φορά μας αποκάλυψε και το όνομα του Νο.2 του Matsunaga, Λοχία (Ι) Yokoyama. Ως δώρο για τη βοήθειά του, εκτός των δύο αντιτύπων των προηγούμενων τόμων της ερευνάς μας, αποφασίσαμε να του δώσουμε τον δοκιμαστικό πίνακα για έργο ζωγραφικής που θα δημοσιευτεί στον Γ’ Τόμο, και που απεικονίζει τις τελευταίες στιγμές των δύο αυτών ηρώων, του Ελληνοαμερικανού και του Ιάπωνα πιλότου. Ο δημιουργός του είναι ο προσωπικός μου φίλος και ανεκτίμητος συνεργάτης των βιβλίων μας, Γεώργιος Μώρης (George Moris). Αυτός ο πίνακας θα αναπαραχθεί έγχρωμος αργότερα, ενσωματώνοντας όλα τα νέα στοιχεία, ώστε να δοθεί στην οικογένεια Legatos, ως ένα ελάχιστος φόρος τιμής, για την ανεκτίμητη βοήθεια τους στην έρευνά μας και της άδειας που μας έδωσαν στο να τιμήσουμε τον συγγενή τους σε ένα από τα βιβλία μας. Από την άλλη πλευρά, η ερευνητική μας ομάδα, βρήκε στο πρόσωπο του Kenji Shudo έναν ακόμα συνεργάτη ο οποίος θα μπορεί να δίνει στοιχεία από τα Ιαπωνικά αρχεία αν αυτά είναι διαθέσιμα. Τα αποτελέσματα της συνεργασίας αυτής ήταν άμεσα, αφού ο Kenji εκτός των Ιαπώνων τους οποίους κατέρριψε ο Sabe Legatos, κατόρθωσε και μας βρήκε ήδη το θύμα ενός άλλου Ελληνοαμερικανού πιλότου ο οποίος πετούσε με Lockheed P-38 στη Νέα Γουινέα. Τι υπέροχη μέρα!


James Pitas

Jim was the first born son of John D. Pitas (a Greek Immigrant) and Eva Collins Pitas (the daughter of a lumberjack). He was born on November 22, 1924, and raised in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and graduated from Fond du Lac Senior High School. His father, John James Pitas, emigrated from Samos. John joined the US Army at age 14 (lied about his age as many did) so he could gain US citizenship. John came to the US with 2 brothers who were both older than him. One stayed on the east coast and I'm not sure where the other one settled. John came to Fond du Lac by himself as a teenage boy knowing zero English. He settled in with the Greek community in town. Became a barber and then


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Terry Pappas

One of the most intrigued pilot careers of Greek Americans is the one of Terry Pappas. We can definitely say that he is the fastest Greek heritage pilot in history, as he was privileged to fly the marvelous SR-71 Blackbird. During our communication with him wrote to us about his family history.

“My grandfather, Nikos Papapostolou Pappas was from Petrona, a small community above Agrinio in the region of Aetolokarnania. From Athens, you take the highway towards Patras and turn onto the new bridge call Rio Antirio towards Agrinio and.......


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Andrew Anzanos

Andrew Anzanos story is a great one. A fearless gunner, serving in the 8th AF Bomber Command, flying over Europe in his B-17 and defending it from the enemy attacks from his upper turret twin 0,50''s. After the war, he became an aeronautical engineer, he obtained his pilot license and later worked for McDonnell Douglas in various aircraft and space programs. Our team was lucky to be in touch with him many years ago. Unfortunately that time we were just researching as we didn't have the resources to have either a website or writing books. Now its time to honor him. We are very proud that we had a chance to exchange emails and learn more about him. Andrew was able to publish a book with his memoirs, entitled as 'My Combat Diary with 'Liberty Bell-E' - Eight Air Force B-17, 390th Bomb Group'. His biography was copied by his book (which were happy to get a signed copy by himself), while we added some further info, especially for his Greek heritage as he wrote it in a letter to George Chalkiadopoulos. Andrew Anzanos was born of Greek immigrant parents on Feb.22, 1924 in Gary, Indiana.........


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