American Hellenic Institute


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11-30-09 Hellenic Armed Forces Day Commemoration Features Senior U.S. Foreign Service Official

Capital Report

November 30, 2009—No. 04 (202) 785-8430


Executive Director’s Note:  The American Hellenic Institute presents AHI’s Capital Report which is a timely synopsis of recent policy discussions in Washington to help keep you abreast of the latest developments. As a service to our membership and constituency, and to gain an understanding of the position of other entities on our issues, the American Hellenic Institute attends and participates at policy forums or roundtable discussions to ensure the policy positions of the Greek-American community are represented.

The content provided in AHI’s Capital Report is for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of AHI.

Hellenic Armed Forces Day Commemoration Features Senior U.S. Foreign Service Official

Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. and Mrs. Vassilis Kaskarelis, and Defense Attaché Col. and Mrs. Taxiarchis Sardellis, held a reception to commemorate Hellenic Armed Forces Day at the Embassy of Greece on Mon., Nov. 23, 2009.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State Thomas M. Countryman joined the commemoration.  Countryman, a recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Citation for 2007, offered the following remarks:

Honorable ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

It is a great honor for me to be here tonight and celebrate with you the Anniversary of the Armed Forces.

On behalf of my colleagues throughout the U.S. government, I can affirm how highly we value the alliance and friendship between Greece and the United States. Through the inevitable ups and downs of politics, this friendship is sustained in large part due to the extraordinary strong relationship between our two militaries. Our alliance is not measured in words, or in the volume of defense trade, but in the battles we have shared, in the blood we’ve spilt together. This is no less true today, as Greece continues its commitment to the world’s security, in places as diverse as Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo, and the high seas off of Somalia.

I am also aware of the fact that today the Greek Orthodox Community celebrates the Feast of the Presentation. This signifies that the Holy Virgin protects the Greek Army from any visible and invisible danger.

I extend my warm regards and thank you for your kind invitation.

The American Hellenic Institute welcomes Countryman’s thorough understanding of the longstanding alliance between Greece and the United States and his appreciation of Greek language and culture.

Countryman served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Athens from 2005 to 2008.  For a five-month period in 2007, he served as Charge d’affaires of the Embassy.  Prior to his current post, Countryman was the Foreign Policy Advisor to General James Conway, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The State Department Bureau at which Countryman currently serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary is the principal link between the State and Defense Departments.  It manages military assistance programs; provides diplomatic support to DoD global operations; conducts strategic dialogues with Allies and partners; regulates defense exports and arms transfer; leads in the clearance of landmines and other ordnance; and coordinates the U.S. effort to combat piracy.


For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at