WWII O.S.S. Volunteer Unit will be Awarded for Valor in Nazi-Occupied Greece Ceremony in Astoria
Astoria, NY.- In February 1943 at the height the Second World War, the Greek “Government in Exile,” sought help from the U.S. military in support of the Greek Resistance against the German Occupation. The Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S., forerunner of the CIA) formed top-secret Greek Operations Groups (OGs) from the 122nd Infantry Battalion (“Greek Battalion”) at Camp Carson, CO.
After additional rigorous training in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and rural Pennsylvania, the nearly 200, mostly Greek-born and Greek-American soldiers and officers were eager to begin their secret mission undeterred by advanced warning that most would not likely survive fighting behind enemy lines. Chosen for their fluency or near fluency in Greek, their fitness to endure rugged service in the Greek mountains and their motivation to oust the German occupiers from the land of their ancestors, eight Greek OGs were formed.
From April to September 1944, these teams were inserted into Nazi Occupied Greece to work with the Greek Resistance (Andartes) in fighting occupying forces. An important objective was to harass and slow down the German withdrawal, and kill and wound Germans and destroy their equipment, to reduce their effectiveness in the defense of Germany.
The story of the Greek-American OGs was highly classified for more than 40 years. The full story of these soldiers and their accomplishments was unknown even to the surviving participants. Most went on to other assignments in Europe and Asia. They returned home never knowing the enormous impact their mission had on events in Greece. Most never spoke of their experience with the O.S.S for many years, even to their families. Sixty-four years later, Greek Operations Group II, will be honored during a ceremony on Sunday, May 18, 2008, at the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York (22-51 29th Street, Astoria NY 11105).
Many years after the War, Capt. John Giannaris recommended his men for an award for their service in Greece. The Defense Department agreed to the Bronze Star Medal for each and a search began for survivors of OG II and descendents of the deceased. Only one enlisted man survives; During the ceremony, the Medal will be presented to Alekos Orkoulas of Blauvelt, NY, by Capt. Giannaris, now a resident of Chicago, and to descendents of deceased members of OG II who reside in or near New York City – Gus L. Palans, Spiros T. Tafamblas and Peter M. Moshopoulos, James K. Alexatos, George S. Tiniakos & Steve P. Marthiakes.
The Awards Ceremony will begin with remarks by Steve Statharos, Esq. member of the O.S.S. Society and Event Co-Chair followed by screening of a short, documentary film about the Greek Operational Groups recently produced by The American Hellenic Institute Foundation. Capt. Giannaris will then present the Bronze Star Medals. A reception will follow the Ceremony.
The search for descendants of other members of OG II continues by historian Robert E. Perdue, Jr., and Steven Statharos. Dr. Perdue has located other families in Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The GREEK AMERICAN OPERATIONAL GROUP, formed with volunteers from the Greek Battalion, was a small, elite commando group that consisted of Greek born and American born Hellenes who volunteered to specifically fight in Greece during WWII. The men of this group willingly agreed to conduct dangerous, behind enemy lines activities, knowing that 90% of the Group was expected to perish (their Italian counterpart suffered 100% fatalities in the first day of operations). Yet, the danger did not deter these men; for them, there was no greater honor than to serve America and fight on Greek soil to liberate the land of their forebears.
The men of the Operational Group were specially trained in guerrilla warfare, demolitions, weapons, communications, intelligence and pilot rescue. Infiltrating clandestinely into Greece by parachute or amphibious landing, they joined with the Greek Resistance fighters and British Commandos to disrupt and impede the occupational forces. These one-hundred-seventy brave young men demolished bridges, transportation and communication lines, ammunition depots, and vital supplies and materials critical to the German Wermacht, inflicting an inordinate amount of destruction on the onehundred-fifty-thousand Axis military, which included artillery, tank, air and naval support.
Because of the successes of the Operational Group, the German High Command was forced to commit more troops to Greece than planned. When the German Army was ordered to withdraw, the Operational Group delayed the withdrawal and denied Hitler the use of four divisions for deployment in Italy, Russia and Europe. Without a doubt, the Operational Group contributed heavily to the destruction of the German military.
The members of the Operational Group were heroes in every sense of the word; their actions went above and beyond the normal. Never before or since in the history of America, in any branch of the military, has a Greek American group ever fought as such. This group fought courageously and served America and Greece with honor and distinction. Because of the extensive training the members received and the activities in which they were involved, these men were the forerunners of the US. Army Special Forces (Green Berets).
Through a combination of circumstances, the history of the Operational Group has been shrouded in secrecy and its accomplishments not recognized. By the vary nature of the operation, the Group’s existence was classified Top Secret and remained so even after the war when the records of its members were sealed until 1988. The Group’s accomplishments are not only a vital part of the annals of WWII, but also of modern Greek history and the_ contribution of Greek Americans to the cause of freedom. It is important that the Group’s story be made known and preserved for future generations in both America and Greece. If this story is not told, an impressive part of our history will be lost forever.
Members of the Operational Group deserve the recognition they have earned and thus far have not received. The members valiantly continued a tradition of courage that has long been part of our Hellenic history. It is up to us to continue another Hellenic tradition, and that is to immortalize our heroes by erecting a lasting tribute in their honor.
Plans to commemorate the Group are underway. The HAVM Foundation is in the process of obtaining approval and financial support from the Greek Government and Ministry of Defense.
The major source of funding for a memorial will come from the families of the Group members, most of whom are deceased, and donations from interested individuals and organizations.
Those wishing to donate may use the donation portion of the Registration Donation form and specify G/USOG on the form.
It’s so delightful to see someone I know get the recognition he deserves. John Giannaris’s story is being made into a movie.
Mr. Giannaris was the commanding officer on a WWII secret mission. I’d written a series of “Letter” articles about him a couple years back and have stayed in touch with him since. I have a signed copy of his book “Yannis,” a title that’s Greek for “John.” Mr. Giannaris’s book and his story were adapted into a movie script treatment, and accepted by Chateau Entertainment.
The latest: Director John Callas and Producer Evan Butterworth had a conference call with Mr. Giannaris. They offered him the role of technical advisor. Mr. Giannaris asked if the movie will be filmed on location in or on another site. “I’ve turned down two movie deals,” he told them, as the movie folks before planned to film in Mexico and in Israel instead of Greece.
The Hollywood fellows this time assured they planned to film on location in Greece. Now they have a man working on the opening part of the script, and will get back to Mr. Giannaris.
Meanwhile, the American Embassy in Athens is awaiting John G.’s visit to Greece so they may officially honor him and his battalion. During that same trip to Greece, folks in the village Mr. Giannaris and his men protected, will have a celebration for him.
I have the update because I talked with Mr. Giannaris yesterday afternoon. I’d contacted him because a gent had contacted me, having read previous weblogs about Mr. Giannaris, inquiring about getting in touch with him. The gent is Dr. Jonathon Clemente, who is researching and writing a book about the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) Medical Services Branch. Dr. Clemente wanted information on a couple of doctors who cared for Mr. Giannaris.
Dr. Clemente prompted me to call John Giannaris again, something I’d wanted to do for weeks.
Now I did and now I got the two gentlemen in touch with one another. And I heard the good news from John, that his story is being made into a movie. I got to hear his voice. He’s in his mid-80s now. He’s sharp and perky, patient and ready for his story to be spread farther.
I am delighted that it is, in a movie and in another book. John Giannaris can talk about everything back in 1944 like it was yesterday. And in a sense, it was. It’s as close as yesterday in our history and where the world is today.
You would need to read Mr. Giannaris’s book to understand what I’m talking about; or, heck, see the movie. Until the movie comes out, you may order the book “Yannis,” by calling Mr. Giannaris at (847) 981-0839. The cost is $20 plus shipping and handling.
Also, for a bit more info, I’d written about Mr. Giannaris in my July 17, 2006 weblog. I’ll keep you posted as to the latest as I hear it.
fighting at Thermopylae
(World War II)
The Federation of Hellenic-American Organizations
proudly announces that
all 21 men in the unit were awarded the
BRONZE STAR MEDAL
with the V-Device for
VALOR and HEROISM in COMBAT
This is the first time in U. S. Military history that all the men in one unit have received this honor
Most frequently the number 300 comes to mind whenever Thermopylae is mentioned. In this case, however, only 22 men were involved; and they were faced with the task not to foreclose on the enemy's entry but on his exit from the country. It is an engaging story that every American should know about because these were Americans who fought for Freedom and Faith barely one thousand yards from the Gorgopotamos [Swiftriver] with its forbidding narrows, and also in the historic Pindus Mountains.
The leader of the special unit is Captain John (Yannis) Giannaris ("Invalided Out "1947) who lives to tell us the story despite the over two hundred pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body (pieces still remaining).
Capt. John G. Giannaris
Operational Group Commander
FDRS 122nd INF (Greek
Office of Strategic Services
Highly-trained and operating under top secrecy, a tiny band of the most deadly O.S.S. fighting men that the United States could train, led by John (Yannis) Giannaris, slipped into Axis-occupied Greece during World War II knowing that they were on a suicide mission against overwhelming enemy odds.
Severely wounded in action, on the verge of death, and battling for life, John (Yannis) Giannaris, a young Greek-American army Officer from Chicago, survived to tell the incredible story of the daring role that he and his men from the legendary Greek Battalion played in the liberation of Greece during some of the most fateful moments of World War II.
It's a "top secret" cloak and dagger story that now can be told.
Yannis Giannaris recounts his rugged, dangerous training and unfolds his story against the background of D-Day in Europe.
Operating under the code name of "Smash "Em!" Yannis and his men were handed the next-to-impossible mission of sabotaging and crippling a desperate German attempt to withdraw their forces from Greece and rush them up to defend the beleaguered Nazi forces in France and Germany.
Yannis and the 21 Greek-American enlisted men under his command were pitted against thousands of crack German troops in the rugged Pindus Mountain Range and the Valley of Lamia northwest of Athens.
This is the story of a fantastic wartime mission that was suppressed for years by Executive government order because of the highly sensitive nature of Yannis' secret intelligence operations.
It's a story of Adventure, Danger, Romance, Courage, Daring, Justice and the triumph of the human spirit that every American can be proud of.
instituted by Executive Order of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
penetrated occupied Greece in 1944
by means of parachute and amphibious operations.
Agoritsas, Arthur J.
Alexatos, James K.
Ameredes, Harry T.
Amigdalitsis, Nick J.
Andrews, Thomas K.
Antinopoulos, Charles P.
Apostolopoulos, James M.
Babalis, Gust J.
Backman, Gilbert I.
Basiardanes, George T.
Bertakis, Constantin S.
Blanas, Frank T.
Boosalis, George G.
Boutselis, Aristides J.
Brady, Bernard F.
Cacavias, John C.
Caragian, Stavros E.
Christ, David J.
Christis, Christ C.
Ciras, Joseph C.
Cominos, Nick H
Daigle, Jr., Richard J.
Darr, Ronald J
Doukas, Photios G.
Drake, James T.
Efstahtiou, George M.
Eichler, Robert E.
Frangis, Paul N.
Gates, Walter, E.
Georgalos, Tom P.
Gewlas, Alexander G.
Gianiotis, Tasos J.
Giannaris, John G.
Gineris, Steve J.
Glaros, John G.
Grevis, Andtew G.
Hortos, William S.
Houlihan, Robert F.
Kaleyias, Angelo H.
Kalliavas, George S.
Kamvouris, Demetrios G.
Karabatsos, Andrew G.
Karakitsos, George C.
Katsias, Alexander C.
Katsikis, Constantinos S.
Katsikos, John G.
Kavallieros, Minas C.
Kavourhas, James, S.
Keramas, George N.
Kirtatas, Bill G.
Kondos, Mihail G.
Kosisek, Rudolph R.
Kountouris, Mike C.
Koutelis, Jon M.
Kraras, Gust C.
Kutulas, George J.
Kypriotis, George C.
Laris, Peter M.
Laubs, James A.
Lefakis, Trifon A.
Lenares, Louis G.
Lewis, Pete H.
Loulas, Christ G.
Lowdermilk, Dean M.
Lygizos, Angelo N.
Mackey, Paul, J.
Makris, Lambros G.
Manusos, Michael P.
Markides, Theodore N.
Mastros, Steve J.
Mehilos, William G.
Mihopoulos, Apostolos G.
Mill, Harris R.
Miller, Victor L.
Minogianis, John P.
Mort, Donald E
Moshopoulos, Peter M.
Mousalimas, Andrew S.
Orkoulas, Alekos X.
Pahules, Gregory M.
Paidis, Pete G.
Palans, Gus L.
Panagakos, Peter M.
Papapanu, Nicholas D.
Papastrat, George J.
Papayannakis, Spiridon B.
Papoulias, Arhtur D.
Pappas, George J.
Pappas, Nicholas G.
Philippides, Stephanos J.
Phillips, Alexander P.
Phillips, Perecles P.
Photis, Peter C.
Pipinias, Eleftherios J.
Pirpos, John T.
Polyzos, Demetrios N.
Pope, Paul B.
Portolos, Georgios P.
Porysees, Alexnder C.
Poulakos, Theodore J.
Poulos, Sam C.
Psinas, Alvin G
Pulos, Harry J.
Ramoundos, Nick E.
Rennie, Norbert F.
Salaris, Konstantine A.
Sampatacacus, Anthony G.
Saris, Christopher T.
Schneeberger, Lyle M.
Segeti, Jr., Steven F.
Sembrakis, Hercules J.
Serelis, Anthony J.
Seremetis, William G.
Soullas, Thomas P.
Stathis, George J.
Strimenos, Theophanes G.
Taflambas, Spiros T.
Theodorou, Costas A.
Thomas, James A.
Tiniakos, George S.
Tsantes, Eleftherios T.
Tsolas, James A.
Tsouderos, John E.
Vakakas, Sotirios G.
Vanikiotis, Nicholas A.
Verghis, George W.
Zarrras, Paul J.
Zevitas, James J.
Zien, Joseph F.
Zonas, James M.
The Greek Battalion's Valor Cited As Statue Is Unveiled
by Christos Malaspinas
Reprint from The National Herald
ATHENS. The 187 Greek American volunteers, members of an elite unit of commandos who fought in Greece during World War II were honored last Thursday, May 26, 2005, in a simple but moving ceremony held at the Greek Ministry of Defense in Goudi, Athens.
A memorial honoring Company C 2671 Special Reconnaissance Battalion, known informally as the Greek Battalion, was unveiled by Greek Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos at the Military Alsos Park sideways to the Ministry's building, in front of an audience of military officials, relatives of deceased volunteers and the remaining three survivors of the battalion.
The Soldier Memorial Monument is a 1-meter bronze statue sculpted by noted California artist Mr. Andrew G. Saffas. It depicts a WWII soldier, alert and ready for combat. The statue is positioned on a 2-meter marble base, where a plaque is attached in the front commemorating the names of the courageous volunteers, and another in the back mentioning the names of the 50 Greek American individuals, groups and families, who contributed financially to the completion of the project.
The event's most important attendees, battalion veterans Nicholas Cominos, Andrew Mousalimas and Angelo Lygizos, were joined in Greece by Mr. Saffas and Mrs. Sofia Johnston, president of the AHEPA committee which raised the necessary funds for the statue, an estimated $60,000.
A National Herald story by Steve Frangos, published in last week's edition (page 1), mentioned that the unit, which entered Greece by parachute and amphibious landings in 1944, was founded by an executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was designated the 122nd to commemorate 122 years of Greek independence from Ottoman rule. The volunteers, a mix of Greek immigrants and Americans of Greek descent, came from Athens, Piraeus, the islands and rural parts of mainland Greece, as well as from American cities and towns.
The battalion was "one of the best-kept secrets of World War II," Mr. Frangos writes, as the records of all Ethnic Operational Groups were not made public by the CIA until 1988. Mr. Saffas, 82, spearheaded the project in 1998, and completed it in 2003 after vigorous research on the era's military gear, which has resulted in a work of detail and poignant realism.
On the morning of last week's ceremony, the sky looked ominous, and moments before the unveiling, a rainstorm threatened to postpone it. The rain came to a miraculous halt, however, to resume only after the ceremony's completion, as attendees withdrew inside the Ministry where a reception followed (the reception featured a presentation of a new book published by the U.S. Army History Directorate about the battalion). The rainstorm reminded those present of the harsh weather conditions its volunteers fought under. "I saw this monument in a dream six years ago," Mr. Saffas told the Herald after the event. "But I never saw this much rain in my dream."
During the ceremony, Mr. Spiliotopoulos pulled the Greek flag which covered the statue to an extended applause. He then placed a wreath at the base of the monument, and a moment's silence followed in honor of the battalion's members. Mr. Spiliotopoulos then presented the three veterans and relatives of deceased battalion members, including its victims, with special honorary degrees.
"It is my great pleasure to honor these three exceptional members of the Greek American Omogeneia, our brothers," the Defense Minister told the audience. "They are a living example of history. I congratulate them once more for having dedicated their lives, just like all Greeks who love this country, to the great ideals of democracy and freedom. The Greek people are grateful to you," he added.
"The Omogeneia is one of the main factors contributing to our national strength. Today we paid tribute to the greatness of the Hellenism of the Diaspora by honoring those Greek Americans who fought for freedom and democracy, thus setting an example of patriotism for succeeding generations," Mr. Spiliotopoulos told the Herald after the event.
"We are proud to be in our homeland today," one of the three veterans, Mr. Lygizos, told the Herald after the ceremony. "We thank the National Herald for being here to report this to our fellow Greek Americans."
Among the event's prominent attendees were Steve Adamopoulos, representing AHEPA, and Deputy Minister of Defense Vasilis Mihaloliakos. "As a Greek American, I am very proud for today's ceremony," Mr. Adamopoulos said.
"Greece's freedom and independence were achieved through the blood of generations of Greeks," Mr. Mihaloliakos added.
The names of the volunteers who participated in Company C 2671 Special Reconnaissance Battalion are published below, followed by the names of the donors who contributed to the erection of the monument:
[ Navigation, Option: ] ↑ Top of this Page
[ Long list of names in the battalion. — Skip. ]
Frank T. Blanas, Ronald J. Darr, Robert E. Eichler, Robert F. Houlihan, George W. Verghis, Gilbert I. Backman, George Chumas, John Giannaris, Paul J. Mackey, Michael P. Manusos, Donald E. Mort, George Papazoglou, Nicholas G. Pappas, Lon Peyton, Paul B. Pope, Theophanes G. Strimenos, Bernard F. Brady, Richard J. Daigle, Jr., Walter E. Gates, Apostolos G. Mihopoulos, Victor L. Miller, Peter M. Panagakos, Alvin G. Psinas, Christopher T. Saris, James J. Zevitas, Thomas K. Andrews, Jerry Apostolatos, James M. Apostolopoulos, Christ C. Christis, Harry Fergadiotis, Tom P. Georgalos, Mike C. Kountouris, George C. Kypriotis, Peter M. Laris, Steve J. Mastros, Peter M. Moshopoulos, Pete G. Paidis, Sam C. Poulos, Lyle M. Schneeberger, Anthony J. Serelis, James A. Thomas, John Bichekas, George G. Boosalis, David J. Christ, Nick H. Cominos, George M. Efstathiou, Steve J. Gineris, Dionisios Fotinatos, Demetrius Frangas, Paul N. Frangis, Alexander G. Gewlas, Andrew G. Grevis, Alexander Haritakis, George Hillias, Angelo H. Kaleyias, George S. Kalliavas. Demetrios G. Kamvouris, Andrew G. Karabatsos, George E. Katsaros, Alexander C. Katsias, Constantinos S. Katsikis, George N. Keramas, Gust Kitakis, Mihail G. Kondos, John M. Koutelis, Rudolph R. Kosisek, Peter Kurchock, George J. Kutulas, Trifon E. Lefakis, William Leonardos, Charles Liarakos, Christ G. Loulas, Angelo N. Lygizos, Lambros G. Makris, Theodore N. Markides, Steve P. Marthiakes, William G. Mehilos, Harris R. Mill, John P. Minogianis, Gus Nanos, Alekos X. Orkoulas, Gregory M. Pahules, Gus L. Palans, Nicholas D. Papapanu, James Papavassiliou, Spiridon B. Papayannakis, Peter C. Photis, Eleftherios J. Pipinias, John T. Pirpos, Bill Portolos, Georgios P. Portolos, Alexander C. Porysees, Theodore J. Poulakos, Arris Poulos, Martin Redovian, Norbert F. Rennie, Konstantine A. Salaris, Anthony G. Sampatacacus, Steven F. Segeti, Jr., Harry Shiomos, Christ Skiriotis, Peter Stamates, George J. Stathis, Minas C. Kavallieros, Bill G. Kirtatas, George J. Papastrat, Stephanos J. Philippides, Harry J. Pulos, William G. Seremetis, Steve Voulgarakis, Joseph C. Ciras, William S. Hortos, James S. Kavourhas, James A. Laubs, Dean M. Lowdermilk, Arthur D. Papoulias, Armando Sanches, Spiros T. Taflambas, Joseph F. Zien, James M. Zonas, John Bitsikas, Photios G. Doukas, Tasos J. Gianiotis, William Johnson, Gust C. Kraras, Louis G. Lenares, Pete H. Lewis, Anton Loukas, Andrew S. Mousalimas, Gust Mukanos, Alexander P. Phillips, Perecles P. Phillips, Spero Psarakis, Alexander Psomas, Nick E. Ramoundos, Hercules J. Sembrakis, Costas A. Theodorou, Paul J. Zarras, Arthur J. Agoritsas, James K. Alexatos, Harry T. Ameredes, Nick J. Amigdalitsis, Charles P. Antinopoulos, James Antonakis, Anargyros Antonopoulos, Gust J. Babalis, Constantin S. Bertakis, Aristides J. Boutselis, John C. Cacavias, Stavros E. Caragian, James Caroulis, James T. Drake, Cus Eliopoulos, George S. Tiniakos, Michalis Tsirmulas, Gus Vellios, Sotirios G. Vakakas, Nicholas A. Vanikiotis, Constantine Zahariades, John G. Glaros, George C. Karakitsos, Demetrios N. Polyzos, James A. Tsolas, Alex Vellis, Eleftherios T. Tsantes, John E. Tsouderos, Evangelo Agelopas, George J. Pappas, Thomas P. Soullas, John G. Katsikos, Paul Siapicas, Peter G. Anton, George T. Basiardanes.
[ Long list of names of the donors. — Skip. ]
AHEPA 171 Daughters of Penelope, Ascension Cathedral of Oakland, Katina & Athan. J. Andronicos, Katina & James H. Andros Family, Anargyros Antonopoulos Family, Frank T. & Kay Blanas Family, Jerry & Joanna Carbone, the Gus J. Carkonen Family, Nick. C. Chiotras, Steve Manuel Clikas, Louis Katina Colombotos, Nicholas H. Cominos Family, Ted & Kay Cuclis, Alta D. Davis, Denise Ann Denker, George & Christine Cleopoulos, Daniel T. & Cynthia First, Nikos Demetrios Gassoumis Family, Nick & Mary Giannopoulos, Pete George Glenos Family, John & Gene Glenos Glynn, Mrs Anna Panos Guy, Sedgie W. Guy Family, Eleni Jannings, Family of Tom G. Javara — U.S. Navy (KIA 1944), Daisy Jerome, Sophia Tsouloufas Johnston, George & Anna Kanstantopoulos, Gust C. Kraras Family, Daughters & Son of C. Kyriakos, George John Lekas, Gust Meniktas, Jeffrey Montgomery, Mary & Andrew S. Mousalimas, Tom & Krissoula Natsues & Family, Gus P. Panos, Panagiotis E. Paraschos Family, Sophia & George Paris, Nicholas, Anna, Gus & Marie Petris, Alex P. Philips Family, Peter & Koula Photis & Sons, Linda, Irene & Vivian Portolos, Georgios Portolos Family, Luke Postolos, Mary Saffas Ross, Nikie & Andrew G. Saffas, Alex & Faye Spanos, Soy & Nick Tamaras, George H. Thodos, Nell & James Tsolas, George A. Tsouloufas Family, George W Verghis, Nicholas S. Victor & Dimi & Family.
Zoe Tsine contributed to the above story.
122nd INFANTRY BATTALION
The "Greek Battalion"
January to September, 1943
Designated the 122nd in commemoration of 122 years of Greek Independence.
This photo, taken in Camp Carson, Colorado in early 1943, pictures the first and only time a foreign flag was allowed to fly next to the American flag leading a United States Armed Forces group on American soil. Passing in review for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and General George C. Marshall, the soldiers were Greek-American and Greek Immigrants, many of whom were not yet American citizens.
The Battalion Commander was Major Peter D. Clainos, the first Greek born American to graduate from the West Point Academy and a co-founder of the Sons of Pericles. A demanding task master, Major Clainos vowed that he would not allow his men to embarrass themselves or the Greek People and made certain they were well trained and in outstanding physical condition.
When the "Greek Battalion" was disbanded, most of its members were transferred to infantry units that fought in both the European and Pacific Theaters. One hundred-sixty members of the Battalion volunteered for a small elite commando group that fought with the Greek Resistance in Greece as members of the Greek/US Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services.