American Hellenic Institute


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Greece's Chief of the General Staff Visits Hellenic House
September 30, 2008—No. 63 (202) 785-8430

Greece's Chief of the General Staff Visits Hellenic House

WASHINGTON, DC — On September 16, 2008, General Dimitrios Grapsas, Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, visited the American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) Hellenic House. The General was accompanied by Brigadier General Alexandros Tsigaras, Director of Defense Policy Division (DPD), and Colonel Dimitrios Thomaidis. Also, accompanying the General was Alexandros Mallias, Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. and Colonel Ilias Leontaris, Defense Attaché in Washington, D.C. While at Hellenic House, the General met with members of AHI leadership, including AHI Chairman James Marketos, AHI President Gene Rossides, AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis, and AHI staff.

The meeting entailed discussions of mutual interest regarding U.S. relations with Greece. Among the items discussed was Greece’s importance as the United States’ key strategic, political and economic ally in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. In this capacity, General Grapsas spoke of the Greek military’s deployment in multiple areas around the world. Following the meeting AHI hosted a luncheon at the Capital Hilton in honor of the General and delegation.

During his visit, General Grapsas spoke highly regarding AHI and of its importance, its mission, and continued efforts to promote U.S. – Greek relations. He also congratulated AHI for its goals and achievements.

Further, General Grapsas especially thanked the AHI for its role in bringing long-overdue attention to the Greek American Operational Groups, secret teams of U.S. Army infantrymen who performed extra-hazardous duty behind Nazi lines in World War II Greece. In 2007 the AHI produced a documentary film “The Greek American Operational Groups:Secret U.S. Forces in World War II Greece.”

“From the awareness brought on by our film, General Grapsas, in turn, was moved by their story and was instrumental in seeking out to identify any surviving members of this group so that they could be honored by the Hellenic National Defense Staff.We thanked General Grapsas for this gracious act,” said AHI executive director, Nick Larigakis. AHI also congratulated the Ambassador and the Defense Attaché of Greece for the impeccable award ceremony which was held at the Embassy of Greece on November 19, 2007, as well as for the continuing efforts to locate the rest of the surviving members or families of the veterans.

“We were honored to have General Grapsas and his delegation visit Hellenic House. We look forward to working with the General and his office in the future to pursue common objectives and strengthen U.S. – Greek relations,” said AHI President Gene Rossides.



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