The Deputy Minister of National Defense Mr. Nikolaos Hardalias represented today, Friday, August 19, 2022, the Greek Government, at the events of honor and remembrance for the Fallen Air Force Airmen, Lieutenant Commander Nikolaos Sialmas, Vice Admiral Konstantinos Kontogiorgos, Chief of Staff Evangelos Stathopoulos, Smenia Vasilios Kurkoutas and Smenia Efstathios Tsigas, organized by the Municipality of Thermo, Etoloakarnania , on the hill of Agios Kosmas in Mega Dendros.
The Deputy Minister of National Defense attended the trisag held in memory of the five Fallen Airmen, held with relatives of the heroic Air Force officers, the Mayor of Thermos, Mr. Spyridon Constantara and the Chief of Staff GEETHA Vice Admiral (I) Konstantinos Kellaris (as a representative of the Chief of GEETHA) the unveiling of the busts of Airmen Archimenia Evangelos Stathopoulos, Smenia Vasilios Kurkoutas and Smenia Efstathios Tsigas and laid a wreath at the Heroes’ Monument.
Also, Mr. Hardalias visited the exhibition of photographic material and original historical documents on the subject of “Asia Minor – Historical Memories”, which is hosted in the Atrium of the City Hall of Thermo.
The Deputy Minister of National Defense was awarded by the Mayor of Thermo, following a unanimous decision of the Municipal Council, the Gold Medal of the city of Thermo, for his contribution during the last three years in matters of crisis management.
The MPs of Etoloakarnania, etc., were present at the events. Athanasios Moraitis (as a representative of the Hellenic Parliament) and Dimitrios Constantopoulosthe Regional Governor of Western Greece, Mr. Nektarios Farmakisthe Most Holy Bishop of Efkarpia, Mr. Ierotheosthe Mayors of the Holy City of Messolonghi, Mr. Konstantinos Lyros and Xiromerou Mr. Ioannis Triantafyllakisrepresentatives of the GES, GEN and GEA Chiefs, officers of the Armed Forces and Security Forces, as well as members of the Panhellenic Association of Families of Fallen Airmen.
The Deputy Minister of National Defense, in the context of the events, delivered the anniversary speech, stating the following:
“With feelings of deep emotion I come to today’s event memory, paying the minimum tribute from the State’s side, to the heroic officers of our Air Force, who self-sacrificingly recommended the fulfillment of duty and carried out their mission with courage and self-sacrifice, effortlessly offering their lives for Faith and Country.
The glorious course of our Air Force, since it was founded in 1911, has been charted by people with vision, passion, perseverance, foresight and of course selfless love for the Motherland, who put duty above all other individual calculations, risking their lives every day, in order to serve their values and ideals.
To all of them and especially to those who fell in the line of duty, we owe eternal respect and gratitude. Because all of them stayed true to their oaths until the end and demonstrated with the offering of their own lives what it means to serve the flag until the “last drop of your blood”.
Greek society, inheritor of the Nation’s heavy historical heritage, regards the sacrifice of all our fallen airmen in the line of duty as an act with particular moral symbolism, as a supreme contribution to the Motherland and as an indisputable element of exemplary adherence to the ideals of our race .
Therefore, their sacrifice is immersed in immortality, ageless glory, collective memory, highlighting in this way, the indomitable spirit of the proud Greek people, the eternal values of their culture, the ideals of their education and their non-negotiable decision to he always fights passionately for his beliefs and ideals.
With today’s event, we do not honor as a formal and only obligation those who put the Homeland above their lives, but we take the opportunity, with respect to historical memory, to highlight their fighting spirit and to strengthen our determination to follow the historical our destiny, the path of duty to defend the ideals of Hellenism.
From the sacrifice of our airmen, we not only learn lessons of virtue, courage, self-sacrifice and self-denial, but also models of faith, an untamed spirit and a high opinion, capable of leading to the awakening of the inexhaustible forces of Hellenism, for future progress, prosperity and development.
Here from the hill of Ag. Cosmas in Thermo Etoloakarnania, we reverently close the lap by paying the due tribute to our five fallen aviators, all of them children of the wider area of the Municipality of Thermo, of this small but historic place with the special timeless contribution to the historical development of the Motherland.
All five “fell” in the line of duty:
Lieutenant Commander Nikolaos Sialmas, landed with his aircraft near Ag. Efstratio, during a mission to intercept Turkish aircraft, on June 18, 1992.
Vice Admiral Konstantinos Kontogiorgos was killed on February 10, 1988, when his aircraft was lost in the Andros sea area, during a planned air combat exercise.
Archiminias Evangelos Stathopoulos, lost his life on May 10, 1948, carrying out a military mission in the area of Grevena, when the plane in which he was riding as a crew, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed during the attempted forced landing.
Sminias Vasilios Kourkoutas, was killed on May 25, 1943, during his training mission in Egypt, when his plane crashed and burned with him.
Sminias Efstathios Tsigas, was lost on June 9, 1942, while carrying out a training mission, when his plane crashed in an area of Southern Rhodesia.
Let us hope that the spirit of all the fallen heroes for our country will nest forever in our hearts, fill our souls with pride and steel our will to fight, guiding the thoughts and steps of all of us towards high ideals of Freedom, Democracy and Justice.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There is no doubt that we are living in a difficult time, where geopolitical fluidity, hybrid threats and security problems in our wider region do not allow for any complacency, on the contrary, they require increased preparedness and constant vigilance.
The ever-increasing challenges and threats, which call into question the limits of International Law, the validity of the Treaties and the geopolitical stability throughout Europe, force us to face the risks with a high sense of responsibility, placing as the forefront of our actions, the safeguarding of our national interests and deterrence should be the center of gravity of all our defense planning.
In this sense, the Government and the Leadership of the Ministry of National Defense, we make every possible effort every day to shield the country against any intruder, constantly increasing the combat effectiveness of the Hellenic Armed Forces, so that they are the guardian of its territorial integrity and national independence. Our homeland.
With our tireless efforts, we aim at the continuous upgrading of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, both in terms of manpower, means and infrastructure, while at the same time we are arming the Army with the most modern weapon systems of the latest generation of power projection, thereby significantly enhancing its operational capabilities, but also its deterrent stigma.
At the same time, by exercising active defense diplomacy, we have succeeded in creating a strong network of alliances at the bilateral and multilateral level. In this way, we take advantage of every opportunity given to us to increase the National Power and make the country a key pillar of security and stability in the wider region of the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that our main pursuit always remains the implementation of a policy of values, which is based on the principles of good neighborliness, international legality and the European acquis. In this way, we advance our unwavering commitment to International Law, the Charter of the United Nations, the resolutions of the Security Council and the Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the same time unequivocally condemning any illegal act of revisionism or bigotry, which harms our national interests.
Sergeant Nicolae Sialma,
Second Lieutenant Konstantine Kontoiorgos,
Archimenia Evangele Stathopoulos,
Smenia Vasilei Kurkoutas,
Smenia Efstathio Tsiga,
thank you for your morals, bravery and self-sacrifice. We owe you great gratitude for all you have offered for the Motherland. The flame of your patriotism will forever remain unquenched in our souls.
May you always be “Immortal”.
First Appeared at: defence247.gr