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American Hellenic Institute Expresses Its Deep Sorrow on the Passing of Charles Moskos
June 2, 2008—No. 36 (202) 785-8430

American Hellenic Institute Expresses Its Deep Sorrow on the Passing of Charles Moskos

The American Hellenic Institute is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Charles Moskos, AHIF Senior Fellow of Greek American Studies, on May 31, 2008 at the age of seventy-four. An email from his wife of 41 years, Ilca, began: “Charles C. Moskos, of Santa Monica, Calif., formerly of Evanston, Ill, draftee of U.S. Army, died peacefully in his sleep after a valiant struggle with cancer.”

James Fallows, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly in a blog on, writes:

“I was surprised and saddened to get an email message a few hours ago saying that Charles Moskos had just died, at 74. The email from his wife of 41 years, Ilca, began: "Charles C. Moskos, of Santa Monica, Calif, formerly of Evanston, Ill, draftee of U.S. Army, died peacefully in his sleep after a valiant struggle with cancer." That sentence is a kind of poetry, evoking whole aspects of his life in a few words.

‘Formerly of Evanston’ recalls his four decades as a popular and dedicated professor at Northwestern. See this article from the campus paper when a diagnosis of prostate cancer forced him to drop his classes two years ago.

‘Draftee of U.S. Army’ alludes to the great passion of Moskos's intellectual and public life: restoring the bond between the armed forces and the general public that was the best side effect of the conscript military into which he was drafted after graduating from Princeton in 1956. Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army the following year—that was a sign of how broadly the armed forces drew from society through the Fifties and early Sixties. Moskos was tireless in conducting studies and devising policies about improving the civic-military bond. His efforts included two articles in the Atlantic, in 1986 and 1990.

That he died ‘peacefully’ is a relief; that he struggled ‘valiantly’ is consistent with everything else about his life. He had a very generous spirit and was always ready to laugh at himself. The one subject, in my experience, that he considered No Laughing Matter was the excellence of Greek Americans, as compared with any other subset of humanity. As Ilca Hohn Moskos said in her message, ‘He was an academic, but not pretentious, funny, but not silly.’ A very good man.”

Phillip Carter, an attorney and writer in New York City, had an excellent tribute on 
“Charlie Moskos, the nation's leading sociologist studying America's military, died yesterday in Santa Monica, Calif., after a long struggle with cancer.

Charlie was an intellectual giant whose ideas about military manpower and public service influenced two generations of soldiers, scholars, politicians and policy wonks. He will long be remembered for his role in conceiving the "don't ask/don't tell" compromise concept during the pitched battle over gays in the military. But if you do a literature review, you'll find that his influence was far broader and deeper than that.

And Charlie was more than just a scholar—he was also a brilliant teacher, mentor and friend to the many thousands of students who sat in his lecture halls or worked under him during his long career. I came to know him as a journalist and treasured the discussions we had, especially his stories about trips abroad to visit and interview American troops.”

Charles Constantine Moskos was professor emeritus of sociology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He was born in Chicago of Greek immigrant parents coming from Northern Epirus. He received his B.A., with honors, at Princeton University in 1956. Following his military service as a draftee in the combat engineers, he attended the University of California at Los Angeles where he received his Ph.D. in 1963.

Professor Moskos was the author of Greek Americans: Struggle and Success, and New Directions in Greek American Studies (with Dan Georgakas). He served on Archbishop Iakovos' Commission on a Theological Agenda for the Third Millennium and chairs the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Fund in Greek American Studies. He was a recipient of the AHI’s Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award in 2003 and was a member of the AHEPA.

Professor Moskos was the author of many books including A Call to Civic ServiceRacial Integration the Army Way, and Armed Forces After the Cold War. In addition to over two hundred articles in scholarly journals, he published editorial pieces in the New York TimesWall Street JournalChicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. Dr. Moskos appeared on national television numerous times including Night LineCross-Fire60 Minutes, and Larry King Live. His writings have been translated into nineteen languages.

The Wall St. Journal called Dr. Moskos the “world's most influential military sociologist.” His research has taken him to combat units in Vietnam, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. Professor Moskos holds the Distinguished Service Award, the U.S. Army's highest decoration for a civilian.

In 1992, he was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to serve on the Commission on Women in the Military. In 1996, President Bill Clinton cited Professor Moskos on national television as the inspiration for his national youth service program. In 2000-02, he was a member of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century.

Charles Moskos was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 1999, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. At Northwestern, he was faculty advisor to both the Greek and Turkish student organizations.

Northwestern University’s statement about Professor Charles Moskos issued at 12:11 p.m. today reads in part as follows:

“Northwestern University’s Charles Moskos, the nation’s leading sociologist with expertise on the U.S. military, died May 31 at his home in Santa Monica, Calif., after a long struggle with cancer.

A native of Chicago, Mr. Moskos, 74, retired in 2003 as professor emeritus of sociology at Northwestern. Known internationally for his warmth and wit as well as his scholarship, he was popular with fellow academics, generals, policymakers and students alike.

He advised the U.S. military and government, foreign governments and numerous other institutions on the major issues facing the military. He is well known as the author of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that governs the conduct of gay service members. For more than 40 years, his research took him to numerous combat units of major military deployments, and he lectured all over the world.

Northwestern University President Henry S. Bienen said, “Charlie was a great teacher, scholar, public policy influential and friend. He was great for Northwestern and will be missed. The University will honor him at a memorial service in the near future.”

His public policy work is recognized at the highest levels of the military. ‘Charles was a remarkable man, a renowned scholar who repeatedly offered thoughtful advice and thought-provoking ideas on the challenges with which we have grappled over the years,’said Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding general, multi-national force—Iraq.

At Northwestern, Mr. Moskos, for many years, taught the largest and most popular introduction to sociology class. ‘Through his teaching of introductory sociology and military sociology, Charlie reached and inspired more students than any other faculty member in the past several decades,’ said Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer. ‘His teaching was legendary.’

He was as at ease with the troops as he was with the military leaders and federal officials who sought his advice. He played a leading role in promoting national youth service and wrote a book titled ‘A Call to Civic Service, The New Conscientious Objection.’ He shared his expertise on such issues frequently in testimony before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.”

On behalf of all our members and staff, we extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his wife Ilca, his children and family.

He will be greatly missed. May His Memory Be Eternal. AXIOS!!


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