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 ......

For more click the link below.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/bombardiers-and-navigators/samuel-assimotos/

 

 

 

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VOLUME ‘C’ PILOT UNVEILS – Lt.jg SABE LEGATOS

Seventeen years of research. Seventeen years in a continues quest for a Greek parentage pilot who fought and died over Japan. During 2001, Kyriakos Paloulian mentioned for the first time in Greek public the name of Sabe Legatos, a Greek American USN pilot with 4 kills in his credit. I must say that I (Dimitrios Vassilopoulos) was personally obsessed to find his story. The information on the internet was scarce but at least gave me a clue where to search. First our team, through our partnership with Global Military Research LLC managed to find his file and partly reconstruct his career through official squadron papers and reports. However, our effort was incomplete because we didn't have photos of him, except from two blurry ones. Moreover, we couldn’t reach anyone from his family in order to learn more about his heritage and to get more photographic evidence. 2017 was a great year for our research. Having successfully run our Vol.B’ we began writing Vol.C at full throttle. The quest to find Legatos family was a priority. Our timetable is to release the volume C’ in 2020, so we had at least one and a half more year to look for any possible connections with Legatos' family. Suddenly everything has been revealed to us. We didn’t only find the sole survivor from his family, his niece Barbara Taylor who happened to have all his memorabilia, but we also found the name of the Japanese pilot who shot down Legatos. In fact, they shot down each other during a head-on engagement. The information from the Japanese side came through a Japanese researcher, named Kenji Shudo. Both Lt.jg Legatos and Ens. Matsunaga fell in a field area close to his family house. That was the reason for him to start searching for both pilots. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Japan, asking me about Legatos (my email was given to him by a common friend, Nick Alexander, who both asked for further info about Legatos). An enormous amount of information has been exchanged and now we have the complete story of Sabe Legatos actions over the Pacific, as well as how he died. We are very lucky to meet Kenji today in Greece as he had arranged his holidays here before he knew anything about our team and research. Furthermore, he revealed to us the name of Matsunaga's wingman, who was also shot down by Legatos, Sgt. Yokoyama. As a gift for his help, we decided to give him the study of the painting which will be published in our volume C, depicting the final moments of both these heroes, the Greek-American, and Japanese pilot. This study painting will be later reproduced in colors, with all new evidence added/corrected, in order to be given to the Legatos family for its invaluable help in our research and their allowance to tribute their relative. This great artwork was created by our artist, George Moris a man which I have the honor to be his friend, and a ‘sworn’ partner of our research. Our connection with Kenji didn’t stop on Legatos, as he already finds us the victim of another PTO Greek American pilot, who flew the Lockheed P-38 over New Guinea. What a great day!

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Lt.jg SABE LEGATOS

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΕΚΔΟΣΗ

Δεκαεπτά χρόνια έρευνας. Δεκαεπτά χρόνια σε μια αέναη αναζήτηση για έναν ελληνικής καταγωγής πιλότο που πολέμησε και πέθανε πάνω από την Ιαπωνία. Κατά τη διάρκεια του 2000, ο Κυριάκος Παλουλιάν ανέφερε για πρώτη φορά στο ελληνικό κοινό το όνομα του Sabe Legatos, ενός Ελληνοαμερικανού πιλότου του αμερικανικού ναυτικού με 4 καταρρίψεις στο ενεργητικό του. Πρέπει να πω ότι εγώ (Δημήτριος Βασιλόπουλος) προσωπικά απέκτησα εμμονή για να μάθω την ιστορία του με όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες. Οι πληροφορίες στο διαδίκτυο ήταν σπάνιες αλλά μου έδωσαν τουλάχιστον μια ιδέα για το που να ψάξω. Αρχικά, η ομάδα μας, μέσω της συνεργασίας της με την Global Military Research LLC κατάφερε να βρει τον φάκελό του Legatos και να ανακατασκευάσει εν μέρει την καριέρα του μέσω επίσημων αρχείων των Μοιρών που πετούσε και των αναφορών τους. Ωστόσο, η προσπάθειά μας ήταν ελλιπής, επειδή δεν είχαμε φωτογραφίες από αυτόν, εκτός από δύο πραγματικά κακής ποιότητας. Επίσης, δεν μπορούσαμε να προσεγγίσουμε κανέναν από την οικογένειά του για να μάθουμε περισσότερα για την κληρονομιά του και να βρούμε περισσότερες φωτογραφίες. Το 2017 ήταν ένα σπουδαίο έτος για την έρευνά μας. Έχοντας εκδώσει με επιτυχία τον B’ Τόμο ξεκινήσαμε να γράφουμε Γ’ Τόμο πάση δυνάμει. Η αναζήτηση της οικογένειας Legatos ήταν προτεραιότητα. Το χρονοδιάγραμμά μας είναι να εκδώσουμε τον Γ’ Τόμο το 2020. Έτσι, είχαμε τουλάχιστον ενάμιση ακόμα έτος για να αναζητήσουμε πιθανές διασυνδέσεις με την οικογένεια Legatos. Και ξαφνικά όλα μας αποκαλύφθηκαν. Δεν βρήκαμε μόνο τον μοναδικό επιζώντα από την οικογένειά του, την ανιψιά του Barbara Taylor, που έτυχε να έχει στην κατοχή του όλα τα αναμνηστικά του, αλλά βρήκαμε επίσης τον Ιάπωνα πιλότο που κατέρριψε τον Legatos. Στην πραγματικότητα κατέρριψαν ένας τον άλλον κατά τη διάρκεια μιας μετωπικής εμπλοκής (head on). Οι πληροφορίες από την ιαπωνική πλευρά ήρθαν από έναν Ιάπωνα ερευνητή, Kenji Shudo. Τόσο ο Aνθυποπλοίαρχος (Ι) Legatos όσο και ο Aνθυπασπιστής (Ι) Matsunaga κατέπεσαν σε μια περιοχή κοντά στο πατρικό του. Αυτός ήταν ο λόγος για τον οποίο άρχισε να ψάχνει πληροφορίες και για τους δύο πιλότους. Φανταστείτε την έκπληξή μου όταν έλαβα ένα μήνυμα ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου από την Ιαπωνία, ρωτώντας αν είχα περαιτέρω για τον Legatos (το email μου μου δόθηκε από έναν κοινό φίλο, τον Nick Alexander, στον οποίο είχαμε απευθυνθεί και οι δύο προσπαθώντας να αποκομίσουμε περισσότερες πληροφορίες για τον Ελληνοαμερικανό πιλότο). Ανταλλάσσοντας στοιχεία μεταξύ μας καταφέραμε να αποκτήσουμε σαφή εικόνα της πλήρους ιστορίας της δράσης του Sabe Legatos στον Ειρηνικό καθώς και των συνθηκών κάτω υπό τις οποίες έχασε τη ζωή του. Η καλή μας τύχη συνεχίστηκε, αφού σήμερα συναντήσαμε τον Kenji στην Ελλάδα, καθώς είχε κανονίσει τις διακοπές του εδώ πριν μάθει τίποτα για την ομάδα και την έρευνά μας. Επιπλέον των όσων μας είχε αναφέρει στη μεταξύ μας επικοινωνία, αυτή τη φορά μας αποκάλυψε και το όνομα του Νο.2 του Matsunaga, Λοχία (Ι) Yokoyama. Ως δώρο για τη βοήθειά του, εκτός των δύο αντιτύπων των προηγούμενων τόμων της ερευνάς μας, αποφασίσαμε να του δώσουμε τον δοκιμαστικό πίνακα για έργο ζωγραφικής που θα δημοσιευτεί στον Γ’ Τόμο, και που απεικονίζει τις τελευταίες στιγμές των δύο αυτών ηρώων, του Ελληνοαμερικανού και του Ιάπωνα πιλότου. Ο δημιουργός του είναι ο προσωπικός μου φίλος και ανεκτίμητος συνεργάτης των βιβλίων μας, Γεώργιος Μώρης (George Moris). Αυτός ο πίνακας θα αναπαραχθεί έγχρωμος αργότερα, ενσωματώνοντας όλα τα νέα στοιχεία, ώστε να δοθεί στην οικογένεια Legatos, ως ένα ελάχιστος φόρος τιμής, για την ανεκτίμητη βοήθεια τους στην έρευνά μας και της άδειας που μας έδωσαν στο να τιμήσουμε τον συγγενή τους σε ένα από τα βιβλία μας. Από την άλλη πλευρά, η ερευνητική μας ομάδα, βρήκε στο πρόσωπο του Kenji Shudo έναν ακόμα συνεργάτη ο οποίος θα μπορεί να δίνει στοιχεία από τα Ιαπωνικά αρχεία αν αυτά είναι διαθέσιμα. Τα αποτελέσματα της συνεργασίας αυτής ήταν άμεσα, αφού ο Kenji εκτός των Ιαπώνων τους οποίους κατέρριψε ο Sabe Legatos, κατόρθωσε και μας βρήκε ήδη το θύμα ενός άλλου Ελληνοαμερικανού πιλότου ο οποίος πετούσε με Lockheed P-38 στη Νέα Γουινέα. Τι υπέροχη μέρα!

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

 

For more click the link below.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/james-pitas/

 

 

 

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TERRY PAPPAS

One of the most intrigued pilot careers of Greek Americans is the one of Terry Pappas. We can definitely say that he is the fastest Greek heritage pilot in history, as he was privileged to fly the marvelous SR-71 Blackbird. During our communication with him wrote to us about his family history.

“My grandfather, Nikos Papapostolou Pappas was from Petrona, a small community above Agrinio in the region of Aetolokarnania. From Athens, you take the highway towards Patras and turn onto the new bridge call Rio Antirio towards Agrinio and.......

 

For more click the link below.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/fighter-pilots/terry-pappas/

 

 

 

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ANDREW ‘ANDY’ ANZANOS

Andrew Anzanos story is a great one. A fearless gunner, serving in the 8th AF Bomber Command, flying over Europe in his B-17 and defending it from the enemy attacks from his upper turret twin 0,50''s. After the war, he became an aeronautical engineer, he obtained his pilot license and later worked for McDonnell Douglas in various aircraft and space programs. Our team was lucky to be in touch with him many years ago. Unfortunately that time we were just researching as we didn't have the resources to have either a website or writing books. Now its time to honor him. We are very proud that we had a chance to exchange emails and learn more about him. Andrew was able to publish a book with his memoirs, entitled as 'My Combat Diary with 'Liberty Bell-E' - Eight Air Force B-17, 390th Bomb Group'. His biography was copied by his book (which were happy to get a signed copy by himself), while we added some further info, especially for his Greek heritage as he wrote it in a letter to George Chalkiadopoulos. Andrew Anzanos was born of Greek immigrant parents on Feb.22, 1924 in Gary, Indiana.........

 

For more click the link below.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/gunners/andy-anzanos/

 

 

 

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GEORGE A. NICOLAU

Can you imagine a 19 years old man, navigating a B-17 Flying Fortress, heavy bomber? How did this young Greek - American airman felt when he lost his leg during his fourth mission from German anti-aircraft fire? War is cruel but from the war ashes, great men born. Men righteously called as being members of the GREATEST GENERATION. One such man is also George Nicolau, 93 years old today. His story will be the opening story for the Bombardiers - Navigators subpage. More to follow.

https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com/pilots-crews/bombardiers-and-navigators/george_nikolau/

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VOLUME ‘C’ PILOT UNVEILS – JAMES VERINIS

Having come in for the good concerning the writing of the Volume 'C' of 'GREEKS IN FOREIGN COCKPITS', it is time to start slowly unveiling its contents. As you probably understand from the photo, the first pilot who will be covered within its pages is none other than the famous Jim Verinis, Co-Pilot of 'Memphis Belle' and Captain of 'Connecticut Yankee' B-17s. The authors have been in touch with the famous pilot's family for many months now and keep receiving a wealth of personal and career information that will be presented for the first time in Greek as well as international literature.

Given the opportunity of officially unveiling the refurbished 'Memphis Belle' at the National Museum of US Air Force, at Wright-Patterson AFB, James children not only attended the event, but they also had a huge surprise for us. In the photograph, Jim Verinis' son, Jim Verinis Jr, holding the Volume 'A' of our series in his hands, having as a background the famous B-17. It is a great honor for us since even in such a way, a part of us attended the event, even though, mentally and through the dozens of articles published, it was as if we had attended the exhibit ourselves. However, the honor is even greater, since the Verinis family, in particular, the brothers Jim and Steven and Verinis granddaughter, Arielle, trusted us and embraced our effort to honor this great Greek-American in Greece, his ancestor's birthplace. We hope that we will be worthy of their expectations.

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ACHILLES ‘ACHI’ KOZAKIS

Today we are very honored to present to our site, one of our best friends in the net. Achilles Kozakis, was an Emerson turret nose gunner, flying with 451st BG B-24 Liberators of the 15th AF. He is a proud man, born American, with Greek blood, a truly a remarkable personality. If you didn't make him a friends request, so far, do it know. You will be surprised by his spirit and his will to pass his experiences to the new generations. As Achi usually says, we wish all of you "Sto Kalo” (Farewell in Greek). Thank you for your service sir.

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

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GEORGE W. AGIASOTTELIS

As promised we are starting to add more airmen of Greek parentage, not only pilots, who flew during WW2 and other conflicts. Today we present you a short story of a Greek American ball turret gunner who flew 26 missions with 390th BG, B-17s and acted as a co-pilot when their bomber severely damaged and half of the crew bailed out under captains orders. He chooses to stay and helped him to split-s their bomber in order to put out the engine fire through the dive. They were lucky to live and fight again over Europe. You can read more about his story at the following link:

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

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Interview

INTERVIEW IN WWW.WW2WRECKS.COM

Do you want to know about our bigining and our passion for aviation history?

Just click read on the interview one of our researchers, Dimitrios Vassilopoulos, gave to Pierre Kosmidis, owner of the www.ww2wrecks.com. 

English Version:

http://www.ww2wrecks.com/portfolio/greeks-in-foreign-cockpits-pilots-of-greek-descent-flying-with-the-usaaf-and-the-raf/

Greek Version:

http://www.ww2wrecks.com/portfolio/%CE%AD%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%B5%CF%82-%CF%83%CE%B5-%CE%BE%CE%AD%CE%BD%CE%B1-%CE%BA%CF%8C%CE%BA%CF%80%CE%B9%CF%84-%CE%B7-%CE%B6%CF%89%CE%AE-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9-%CE%B7-%CE%B5%CF%80%CE%B9%CF%87/

© 2017-2018 Dimitris Vassilopoulos - All Rights Reserved