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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Chirigotis 3
Vergados Promo

PETER (PERICLES) J. VERGADOS

My father Demetrios Pericles Vergados, in 1920 at 11 years old was taken by his father (My Grandfather) and brought to Boston, Massachusetts, where they sold fruits and vegetables from a horse-drawn carriage. They returned to Greece during the 1930s. A few years later, my father returned to Boston and opened up a restaurant-liquor establishment. Sometime during the early 1950s, my dad came home and announced we were going to visit a local Air Force Base and watch one of the first jet fighter aircraft perform. After making high speed passes the pilot landed, parked the Jet, climbed down the ladder carrying his flying helmet and walked past me. I then looked up and my mother and told her someday I would fly jets. I was Commissioned as a 2nd June 4, 1964, after graduating from Boston University where I studied Aeronautical Engineering. Graduated from USAF Pilot...

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Vergados 19
promo copy

RHAF CLASS 21-B US TRAINING

From the year 1947 and onwards, the US Air Force Mission in Greece undertakes the financial support of (then) Royal Hellenic Air Force (RHAF) replacing the British Air Mission, which of course continues its direct involvement in RHAF issues. It was more than obvious that the time of re-equipment, the education and reorganization of the structure of RHAF would be based on US standards. The RHAF ΗQ’s considering the new doctrine which would transform the air force decided to send some of the aviation cadets, known in Greece as ‘Icarus’, to be trained in the United States. The high education costs, which reached $ 50,000 per student, for a full educational cycle, dictated that only a small number of aviation cadets could be trained overseas. Fifty young Greek men transferred from March 8, 1948, with successive flights of the C-54 Skymaster of the Military Air Transport Command, to the United States. These students belong to the 21-B Class and they were accepted for training in RHAF, on February 21, 1948. The 21-A-Class began its training 2 months earlier and it had already decided to be trained entirely in Greece. The RHAF students were based is Randolph Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, .....

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othon p-80
Demades Combo 4

DEMOSTHENES DEMADES

Sergeant Demosthenes Demades was a Greek pilot of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died during the Second World War. He was born in 1919, the son of Captain Anthony and Zinovia Demades, of Piraeus, Greece. He was studying in Newcastle when Greece entered the war and he tried to return to his homeland in order to join the armed forces. Unable to travel to Greece he opted for service with the Allies wanting to be a pilot. After enlisting to RAF, Demades was sent to Canada in order to attend the BCATP. His initial flight training took place in No.33 EFTS at Caron Canada flying DH82As Tiger Moths. He continued to No.41 SFTS at Weyburn, Canada flying the famous Harvard, before he returned back to England. Once back on the British Isles he was posted to No.5 (F) AFU and Miles Masters and then he proceeded for his operational training on Spitfires in No. 57 OTU at RAF Eshott. On October 11, 1943, he took off, flying his Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I R7063 for a training sortie, practicing attacks, climbs and dogfights with his instructor P/O Charron. During their engagement, Demades fighter spun in and crashed at Eshott Hall, near Morpeth at 16:14. According to...

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Demades 1
Ladas Post

ANTHONY E. LADAS

Lt. Antony E. Ladas was born on December 16, 1922 and he was the first born son of the Greek immigrant from Tenedos Island in the Aegean, Ernest A. Ladas. Ernest came in the United States in 1907. His wife was Nellie Clough Ladas and the couple had also three girls, Helen, την Cynthia και την Crysanthy. After his training and promoted to 2nd Lt. Antony (O-810522) he was posted in England and served with the 9TH Air Force, 363rd Fighter (Bomber) Group, 382nd Fighter (Bomber) Squadron. He arrived in the squadron on February 5, 1944 and soon began flying escort and ground attack missions over Northwest Europe. He was killed in action on May 28, 1944. While flying an bomber escort mission to Frankfurt, Germany, Anthony’s fighter, a P-51B-10, #42-106486, had collided with the P-47D #42-26016 which was flown by Captain Juchheim , a well known ace of the 78th FG. More details were given in the Missing Air Crew Report 5138, specifically the statement of 1st Lt John R. Brown, Jr.,( O-795905) of the same flight, dated 30 May 1944: 

“On May 28, 1944, Lt Ladas was flying #4 position in my flight. The mission was escort of heavy bombers to Frankfurt Germany.

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Ladas 1

CHARLES PETRAKOS

Petrakos Post

Not Every Hero Flew.

Tribute to Charles Petrakos. The first Greek - American awarded the Silver Star in WW2 for heroic actions during the Pearl Harbor raid, where he shot down one Zero and probably one more! For more details follow the link below:

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/charles-petrakos/

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ALEXANDER & WILLIAM (BILL) PHILLIPS

POST

Like Father Like Son. Tribute to Greek American family of US Army Gunners during WW2 and Vietnam Wars, flying with B-17s (92nd BG) and UH-1s (282nd AHC). We urge you to read the stories of Alexander Phillips and his son William (Bill) Phillips who honored both the United States and Greece with their service and bravery, following the links below:

 

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/alexander-phillips/

 

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/william-phillips/

Kehayias 12

WILLIAM ‘VASILIOS’ KEHAYIAS

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William “Bill” Vasilios Kehayias was born in New York City, July 10, 1925. His father, Zafirios Anthony Kehayias was a Greek immigrant from Chorlou, a small town in Eastern Thrace, which at the turn of the 20th Century was part of the Ottoman Empire. Zafirios was born May 21, 1893, was a cobbler and married to Vasiliki who was from the nearby town of Rodosto, also in Eastern Thrace. They immigrated to the US on the SS Argentina, arriving September 1, 1913, and settled in New York City. Zafirios eventually owned and operated a shoe repair and hat cleaners at 3675 Broadway in upper Manhattan. According to his Declaration of Intention to naturalize, submitted on June 9, 1924, he and Vasiliki were living at 228 West 149th Street. Their son Vasilios (William) was born a year later. Zafirios struggled to keep his shoe store during the Great Depression and to add to his troubles, his wife Vasiliki passed away and he was raising his son Bill by himself. The Kehayias family joined the Greek Orthodox Church community of St. Spyridon in Washington Heights, located on Wadsworth Avenue, not that close to where they lived but the most vibrant Greek community in NYC, if not among the Greek communities in the entire United States. Bill joined the St. Spyridon youth group called the EON (Elliniki Orthodox Neolea - Greek Orthodox Youth), where Bill played basketball and captained the EON baseball and football teams. Vasili “Bill” was a bright student and when he completed junior high school, applied and was accepted into one of the top public high schools in NYC, Stuyvesant High School. According to his 1943 high school yearbook, he must have excelled in there, earning a scholarship pin, making the honor roll, and was his class Vice President. A typical wartime yearbook, Bill listed that his post-high school plan was to join in the US Army Air Corps. While still a high school senior, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force on April 9, 1943, in the USAAF’s Air Cadet Program for high school students. As a 17-year-old, he needed his father’s signature on his enlistment papers and his father was reluctant to sign, giving his permission for his only son to join the army. After a few minutes, Bill got impatient and said to his Greek immigrant father:

For more details please follow the link below:
https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/bill-kehayias/

Sakis 46

ACHILLES ‘CHILI’ SAKIS (TSAKEREDES)

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USAF F-16D VISTA

Achilles 'Chili' Sakis (Tsakeredes) is the son of Greek immigrants, George (deceased) and Sotiria Tsakeredes, who emigrated to the United States from Greece. Achilles is named after his grandfather, whose Pontic Greek family was forced from the Trabzon area of Turkey during the forced deportation of Greeks from the area in the early 1900s. Sotiria’s father moved his wife, Agape, and their four children from a small village near Kilkis, Greece to the United States in search of a better life in the mid-1940s. They arrived by boat on Ellis Island when Sotiria was only nine years old. Years later, when Sotiria was 17, she was visiting Greece and heard of a celebration happening in Vyroneia, a small village not far from where she was raised as a child. It is there that she met and fell in love with her husband, George. George had served in the Greek Army and was now living in his hometown village of Vyroneia, where he farmed and raised livestock. He played the ......

For more details please follow the link below:
https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/test-pilots-flight-test-engineers/achilles-sakis/

Hnarakis 04

ALEXANDER ‘YOGI’ HNARAKIS

Formal Whites
Grimes 27

Writing Alex ‘Yogi’ Hnarakis tribute was a kind of weird to me. I knew him well through the English language articles regarding Top Gun and FLIR Integration to the mighty Tomcat but didn’t have the chance to get in touch with him, through letters and emails. His career epitomized the profession (although I prefer the word passion) of a naval aviator. I was determined to contact him and ask him to write me the prologue for our third volume of GREEKS IN FOREIGN COCKPITS, which will be published in 2020 and will feature mostly USN pilots operating from aircraft carriers during WW2. My request was addressed through a common friend and fellow naval aviator David Baranek, and I was waiting for his answer. Unfortunately, he got ill and passes away, so I missed a chance to know a great man. The least I could do was to gather all the information I found from published articles as well as various websites and newspapers in order to present to the Greek people and Greeks worldwide a remarkable aviator. Alexander Hnarakis was of Greek parentage (third generation Greek American) and born in Alexandria Virginia on August 14, 1958. He was the son of Gus Hnarakis, who’s the father (Alex grandfather), Emanuel Hnarakis, immigrated from the island of Crete to the US, in 1910. His heritage was from Thrapsano, a small village outside Heraklion city. In the United States, he was married to Bessie Vasilakis, who was also from Thrapsano. In fact, the two families were known each other very well. Emanuel and Bessie had 7 children, Gus, Alex father, was one of them. Hnarakis family .....

For more details please follow the link below:
https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/fighter-pilots/alex-hnarakis/

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