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 .....

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Darakis 6

PETER DARAKIS

Peter Manual Darakis was born in Amherst Ohio on June 28, 1928. Peter was the youngest of 3 sons born to John Darakis and Phyllis Darakis (nee Dietrich). Peter’s father, John Darakis, originally from Sklavopoula on the island of Crete, moved to the mainland to Leonidion, Argolidos to be a carpenter’s apprentice. It was from there he immigrated to the United States in August 1912 at the age of 22, leaving on the ship Themistocles from the port of Piraeus. Upon arriving in the US, Ellis Island, John set out for the west coast working on the railroad. He ended up in Pocatello, Idaho. It is unclear what brought him back east, but he finally ended up in Lorain, Ohio in 1921 which, at the time, had a large Greek population. It was in Lorain that he met and married Phyllis Dietrich in 1922. John and Phyllis settled in Amherst, Ohio where Peter and his 2 brothers were born. Peter’s two older brothers, Arthur and James, soldiered in WW II. Arthur served in Europe in the US Army and James in the US Navy in the Pacific. Like their father, both men learned a trade for a living. When the Korean War broke out Peter was 22 years old, had completed high school in Amherst, Ohio and had attended Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He had also spent some time working with his father as a builder of houses. Those who knew Peter found him quiet but well-liked. His friends called him "Pete”. Peter applied for the Air Force

 

 

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Grimes 1

DEMETRIES A. GRIMES

Demetries’ father, Melvin Grimes enlisted in the US Navy when at the age of seventeen and served as an Engineman on everything from mine-hunters, amphibious ships, patrol boats, frigates, and destroyers. He was at sea during the Cuban missile crisis and other historic moments during the Cold War. According to Demetries, he was a proud sailor and American, and he retired as a Chief Engineman after more than 23 years of naval service. His mother’s maiden name was Pappaleonidas and her heritage is from the village of Efira, near Amaliada and Pyrgos in the Peloponnese. His parents met while his father was assigned to the US Navy Base at Nea Makri. His best friend’s fiancé was his mother’s best friend, which is how they met. They were married at St. Demetrios ....

 

For more click the link below.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/nfos-wsos-mission-co/demetries-grimes/

 

 

 

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papayannis 30

JOHN CLIFFORD 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.

 

For more click the link below.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/cliff-papayanni/

 

 

 

Papayanni 5
leon 10

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 ......

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

leon 1
Chioles-5

CONSTANTINE S. 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 ......

 

For more details click the link below:

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/fighter-pilots/constantine-chioles/

 

Chioles 2
Dino 12

KONSTANTINOS 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.....

For further details please click on the following link:

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Dino 6
Mugiannis 4

CHRISTOS MUGIANIS

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....

 

For more click the link below.

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Mougiannis 1

SAMUEL A. 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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Assimotos 9
USAAF, B-17F-35-VE 42-5950, Peters Pride, 410 BS, 94 BG, 1943

JAMES J. 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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Pitas 13

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