Cdr. George Pappas 14

GEORGE T. PAPPAS

Commander George T. Pappas, USN, was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1940. He was the son of the Greek immigrant Theodore Pappas and Ruby Pappas. Theodore came in the United States traveling from Pireus to New York onboard a ship named Constantinople in 1923 while he was 28 years old while Ruby was born in Scotland about 1909. Like many Greeks, he started his own restaurant business. George entered the Navy in 1950 as a Naval Aviation Cadet after attending the Howard College and then the University of Alabama and he was a great football player He earned his Navy Wings of Gold in May 1952. He served his first tour of duty with VA-104 at NAS Jacksonville, Fla. flying the FG-1D Corsair and later the AD Skyraider. This was followed by two years of academic study in economics at the University of Alabama. In February of 1957, he reported to the Basic Training Command and became a flight instructor. After attending a year of school at the U. S. Naval Post-graduate School, Monterey he resumed his role as an attack pilot in VA-165 while performing as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. His next tour...

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Cdr. George Pappas 4
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GUS J. STATHIS

Konstantine Efstathiou Stathis was born in 1941 in Jacksonville, Florida. His father Ioannis was born in Leonidio, Peloponnese and his mother Metaxia is from Spetses and grew up in Athens. His parents emigrated to the United States from Greece in 1936 and settled in Jacksonville, Florida. His father Ioannis, opened the Stathis Restaurant near the Naval Base and was known for not charging servicemen for food. His uncle John M. Cocoris, also from Leonidio, introduced sponge diving to Tarpon Springs in 1905 and recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands. Nobody could write about his career other than Lt. Col. Gus J. Stathis.

“I graduated in1963 from ‘The Citadel’ Military College, South Carolina. Because I did not like to march, they offered me the chance to be in the flying program, which was the first step to flight training. After graduation, I entered the United States Air Force Flight Training Program at Laredo AFB, Texas. The first jet plane I flew was the T-37 and then the T-33. In order to graduate from Flight School...

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Chirigotis 4

STEVE CHIRIGOTIS

Steve Chirigotis was born on August 3, 1924, in New Bedford, Massachusetts where he grew up and went to school. He was the son of Anthony Chirigotis and Pota Levakos, both from Githio Greece, who emigrated in the United States in 1912. During WW2 Steve, originally named as “Stavalus Tserigotis” enlisted in the United States Army Air Force and trained as a gunner/radio operator. He was posted for overseas duty in Europe, specifically the 15th AF and flew missions from Pantanella Army Air Base, Italy, serving with the 781st BS, 465th BG. He flew his first mission on 10 May 1944....

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