Lieutenant Junior Grade Vassileios C. Giftos was born on December 20, 1922, the son of Constantine "Costi" Sarantos Giftos from Agios Petros, Αrcadia, and Helen Zee from Sparta. Constantine had lost his first wife, Helen Panesis from Agios Petros in Kilkis from flu during 1919, and remarried Helen Zee later. He was one of the five sons the couple had. According to his brother Peter, his father was appreciative to become a U.S. citizen and used to say, 'Don't you ever let me hear you say anything bad about this country,' He was proud of America." This however didn't stop him to teach his sons about Greece, the Greek language, and Orthodox beliefs something that is very clear in the application papers of Vassileios Officer Military File
Vassileios graduated from Pittsfield Highschool in 1940 and probably like many other Greek Americans motivated by the infamous Pearl Harbor raid and the gallant fight of Greece against the Axis and enlisted in the US Navy. He joined the Aviation Cadet V-5 training program on December 8, 1942, in NACSB (Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Board) New York, while attending Amherst College in Amherst MA, hoping to be a Naval Aviator. He was called to attend the NPFS (Navy Pre-Flight School) in Chapel Hill, NC on June 3, 1943, which included...
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