Bebas 12

CONSTANTINE 'GUS' BEBAS

"It is indeed a great honor to the Bebas family to contribute in blood towards the noble cause of liberty. And though we all express a deep sorrow on the loss of a brave young Greek American, yet the honor bestowed upon the Bebas family will be displayed in the annals of history in honor of young Bebas who fought for the highest ideals of humanity and civilization."

The Greek Star May 21, 1943

 

EARLY YEARS & USNR

Constantine G. “Gus” Bebas was one of six children (four sisters and a brother) growing up in a modest house on the east side of Wilmette, a predominantly wealthy, lakefront suburb of Chicago. His parents, George, and Angeline - who operated a fruit and vegetable business - were Greek immigrants who were fiercely proud of their country of birth and equally proud of their new home. The original surname name was Bimbas, by the way.  Gus's mother, Angeline, was from Vrethena in Laconia, north of Sparta. Gus's father George Peter Bimbas/Bebas was born in Megalopolis, Arkadia, but lived in Kalamata before he immigrated. He and Angeline were married in 1902 in Sparta. Bebas was educated at Wilmette public schools and graduated from...

 

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Bebas 8
USN, SBD-3, VB-8, USS Hornet, Battle of Midway, 4 June 1942
JBoosalis 1

JOHN G. BOOSALIS

John Boosalis was one of the seven children of Gus and Mary (Prokovakis) Boosalis and he was born on March 14, 1919. The couple had immigrated in the early 1900s from Niata village which is located southeast of Sparta, Greece, and were involved in the restaurant business. They managed to obtain their own, named Olympia, which they operated along with their children. They were both very proud of their new country and they passed their patriotic feeling to their children. There was no better proof of that, than the fact that all their sons served the armed forces during WW2, and their youngest one, Theodore, applied for the USN but was rejected due to his age. He was only 8 years old when WW2 broke out. The couple overcame the difficulties of the war with the help of their two daughters and were blessed to see all their sons returning safely back to their house. It must be noted that during an interview in Faribault Daily News the reporter asked her if she had any regrets about having five sons serving in harm's way. She replied: 

"My only regret I have is I wish I had five more sons to give to the service of my country." 

 

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JBoosalis 10
VT-26
Sakes 1

JAMES C. 'GREEK' SAKELLARIADES

James Constantine Sakellariades was born in Washington. He was the son of Constantine Sakellariades from Isaris village in Arcadia district in Peloponnese, Greece and Aspasia Stratis Economon from Kastaboli village in the Eastern Thrace, Turkey. The couple had also one daughter, Eleni Kleio and both were very active in helping young Greek immigrants to settle in Washington. The couple held strong bonds with Greece and their families and made many trips back home. On one of those trips in 1932, the young James followed his parents on an unforgettable tour where he explored his roots. The young Greek American graduated from Eastern High School and later joined the Marshall College in Huntington West Virginia. He joined the CPTP program and later entered the V-5 Naval Reserve Program. He became a naval aviator and attached to Bombing Squadron 83 flying the SB2C Helldiver. However, he soon transferred to the new Fighter-Bomber Squadron VBF-83 flying the famous F4U Corsair and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Essex. He flew his first combat mission on March 18, 1945.  VBF-83's Corsairs were launched for a strike and a fighter sweep to Karasahara, Nittagahara, and Tomitaka airfields armed with bombs. After successfully...

 

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Sakes 2
USN, FG-1D BuNo 87797, VBF-83, USS Essex, early 1945
Kav.6

ARGERY H. KAVAFES

Staff Sergeant Argery Harry Kavafes, son of Greek immigrants, was born in Long Island, New York, on November 18, 1921. His father, Alexandros Argyriou Kavafes, was born on August 20, 1885, in the Forty Churches (Kirk Kilisse) in Eastern Thrace. This city is in the European part of Turkey, near the border with Bulgaria, and today is known as Kirk Areli. The emergence of the Turkish Nationalism movement in 1908 and the policies of intimidation that began to be applied against Christians, forced many Greek people living in that area to immigrate. The then 25-year-old Alexander left for the United States, looking for a better future across the Atlantic. On May 20, 1910, he arrived in New York, where he settled permanently, working as a shoemaker. After years of hard work, he finally managed to open his own shoe store in Queens, New York. On December 19, 1920, he married his wife Chrysoula (Chressy Spyridon), her heritage also was from the Forty Churches (translated in Greek as Saranta Eklessies). It is worthy to note that after the population exchange in 1923, most of the city's inhabitants...

 

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Kav.1
USAAF, B-24D-1-CO, 41-23656, Rowdy Ann, 344 BS, 98 BG, Benina airfield, Lybia, 1943
Giftos VC 6 NH 69356

JOHN PAPADAKIS

Born in Richmond, Calif., in 1922, John and his sister Martha were the children of Greek immigrants Anthony and Iphigenia Papadakis. He attended the San Francisco City College and completed the CPT program and he was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. John immediately volunteered and was accepted into the U.S. Navy pilot training program. So began his lifelong love of aviation. From his file, we know that except for English he also spoke Greek, Spanish, and French. He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet V-5 in NACSB - Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Board on October 9, 1942. He was transferred to U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School at St. Mary’s College, California on May 6, 1943. He continued his Primary Flight Training in NAS Pasco, Washington on July 29, 1943, and completed it successfully on October 14, 1943. Two days later he received orders to move to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas for Basic Training and arrived there on October 21. Commissioned as an ensign Naval Aviator, at Corpus Christi, Texas on April 5, 1944. Served with...

 

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IMG_3425
Contos 3

GEORGE G. CONTOS

George G. Contos was born on March 12, 1923, in Canton, Stark, Ohio. He was the son of Konstantinos (Gust) Contos and Calliope Fanouriakis from the village Archanes in Crete, Greece. Both came to Fairhope, Ohio in 1920 and Gust worked for Republic Steel Corporation and retired from there after 35 years. The couple also had two more sons and two daughters. After school George also worked as a metalworker for Republic Steel Corporation. The entry of the United States in the Second World War urged him to join the fight as many Greek Americans did. Contos was commissioned in the United States Army Air Force on December 5, 1943. He received his ...


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Contos 2
US, P-51D-15-NA, 44-15701, Lillian, Lt George G. Contos, 486 FS, 352 FG
Nick St9

NICHOLAS P. STAMPOLIS

Lieutenant Nicholas Stampolis story is a sad story, nevertheless, a story that reminds us of the sacrifices made by young men all over the world during the fight against the Axis in WW2. It’s also a story that's totally dependent on the story of his best friend, also Greek American USAAF pilot, Arthur (Athanasios) Sougas, or Andy as he was known to his friends. There is no way to refer to one of them without mentioning the other. Nicholas was the first child and son of Peter Stampolis and Chrysoula Mechalas Stampolis followed by two sisters, Corina and Stella, and one more brother, Anthony. Μost information regarding their early days became known from the article "The Fall of Hermes" published for the first time in Air Classics Magazine, issue, July 2004 by Gerard Pahl.

"Nicholas Stampolis and Arthur Sugas were inseparable. The boys typically went through the school system and at one time attended McKinley Elementary where, perhaps, both received their introduction to aviation, for it was there that movies were shown on the outside wall of the school on warm summer evenings. Sometimes an aircraft would visit what was then the Lindbergh.....

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Nick St1
USAAF, B-24D-80-CO, 42-40617, José Carioca, 409 BS, 93BG, 1943
Alexatos 2

MICHAEL S. ALEXATOS

Michael S. Alexatos was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1919, the son of Peter Alexatos and Kalomoira Potamianos from Kefalonia. He entered the Navy as an Ensign in July 1942. Upon arriving at Corpus Christi he requested the Fleet instead of duty as a flight instructor. After completing flight training, he was assigned to VF-1 which was later based on Tarawa (with strikes against the Marshall Islands), and on the USS Yorktown (CV-10) where he participated in strikes against the Marianas, Bonin Islands, Caroline Islands, and the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, flying the famous F6F Hellcat. He was credited with two Zeros and one more as probable. During the operations in the Pacific, he earned the “MAD GREEK” call sign. He joined VF-7 in 1945 and was with that squadron until the end of World War II. He was then assigned to the Photographic Division under the Bureau of Aeronautics (BUAER) in Washington D.C., where he spent two years after which he was transferred to Villanova College for one year under the Holloway Program. He was next assigned to VF-72 in 1948, and after...

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Alexatos 3
USN, F6F-3 BuNo xxxxx, Michael S. Alexatos, VF-1, Tarawa, late 1943 v2
070410-F-1234P-002

PETER J. DASCOULIAS

S/Sgt Peter J. Dascoulias was the son of Greek immigrants and was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, on January 10, 1921. His father's name was John Dascoulias and he came from Mavria, a small village in the Prefecture of Arcadia, in southern Greece, which administratively belongs to the municipality of Gortynia, in Karytaina. Born on May 27, 1882, in a large, however poor, family, he was forced from a young age to work hard to survive. In 1914, four of his brothers immigrated to relatives in the United States, and two years later, he made the big decision to emigrate. On August 21, 1915, the 33-year-old John Dascoulias married in Karytaina, his beloved Christina Anastasiou (or Liatsimis). The following year they set sail for the United States aboard the passenger ship "PATRIS", arriving in New York on August 18, 1916. The couple first settled in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, where John found a job as a worker in a steel factory. In a matter of 6 years, they were blessed with five children, specifically Zaphiria (1917), George (1918), Gust (1919), Peter (1921), and Christina (1922). Unfortunately in 1926, John lost his job and along with his wife and children, was forced to move to Middleboro, Massachusetts. In 1933 they changed their place of residence once again, as they settled permanently in Warren, Ohio, where John found a permanent...

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Dascoulias 2
USAAF, B-17F-40-BO, 42-5180, 'DFC', 423 BS, 306 BG, early 1943
Valachos 9

PETER J. VALACHOS

Peter Valachos was born in 1915 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of James Valachos, a pioneer of the local Greeks in Brantford, Ontario, having come to Canada in 1904. The couple also had three daughters,  Evelyn (Coulos),  Lillian (Roda), and Kathleen (Hawken), and two more sons,  William and George.  He established the Olympia Candy, a landmark of this city which up to 1953 was run by his sons and daughters. Two of his sons served with the Canadian Army, Peter with the Air Force and William with the Army. Peter prior to joining the RAF in 1938 he served in the Dufferin Rifles in Canada. Ηe was also a licensed pilot in Canada and the fact that he was Greek gave him relative publicity as can be seen below, in  A Publisher Extra Newspaper dating September 14, 1938:

"From information received from the secretary of the Brant-Norfolk Aero Club, Brantford, Ontario, Canada, we learn that Peter J. Valachos, age 23, is perhaps the only Greek aviator in Canada. He is now ...

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Valachos 8
RAF, Wellington Mk Ic T2875, 148 Squadron, Luqa, Malta, winter 1940-1941-2
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