Three veterans of World War II, a Greek, a Greek-American and an American, will be honored in the framework of the third annual celebration of the Greek National Day of October 28 (Oxi Day) in Washington, USA, on October 24.
Leaders of the Greek-American community, officials of the USA and other countries, diplomats and WW II veterans, are expected to attend the event.
As announced by the Washington Oxi Day Foundation, the Greek General Konstantinos Korkas, the Greek-American WW II veteran Christopher Mehiel (posthumously) and the American Congressman John Dingell, will all be honored with the 2013 Oxi Day Greatest Generation Award.
Dingell joined the US Army in 1944 at the age of 18. He took place in the first wave of a planned invasion of Japan in November of 1945. Dingell was elected to Congress in 1955. He is one of only two WWII veterans still serving in Congress, and on June 7, 2013, he became the longest serving member in the history of the U.S. Congress, according to the Foundation’s website.
Mehiel, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 81, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force prior to the U.S. entry in WWII and was trained as a pilot. When the U.S. later entered the war, he was transferred to the Army Air Corps and was deployed to the Far East.
Following his discharge at the end of the war, Mehiel rejoined the Army and enjoyed a long and distinguished career in military intelligence, serving in posts all over the world. He retired in 1972 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His wife, Celeste Mehiel, and son, Dennis Mehiel, will accept this posthumous award on his behalf.
Lieutenant General Korkas spent his career serving in the Greek Army in multiple capacities earning numerous commendations for his valiant service. During World War II, he participated in the 1941 Battle of Crete in Greece. He later served from 1942-1945 in the Greek Army’s elite Special Forces unit known as the “Greek Sacred Company”. As part of this unit, Korkas participated in actions in North Africa, the Middle East and the Islands of the Aegean. He was wounded twice in action during the war, according to Oxi Day Foundation.
Korkas is a graduate of the Hellenic Military Academy and received further education at the US Industrial College of the Armed Forces and US Army Command and General Staff College. He served in numerous positions during his Greek military career including Army Inspector General, NATO Staff Officer and Defense Attaché of Greece in Hungary and Romania.
His career decorations include the British Medal of Honor (1944) and the French Medal of the National Order of Merit (1978). He is also an eight-time recipient of the War Cross, six-time recipient of the Golden Medal for Valor and has one promotion on bravery. Lieutenant General Korkas is now retired and lives in Athens, Greece with his wife Vivi and family, as reported in the aforementioned website.