Mike P. Cokinos, a Greek-American veteran who was part of a real-life WWII ‘band of brothers’ has passed away at the age of 98.
Cokinos, from Beaumont, Texas died in Houston on Aug. 9. A retired brigadier general, he was a Purple Heart winner who had directed fire for five hours during the 1944-1945 Battle of the Bulge in Europe.
His wartime service also saw him take part in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in Poland. His experience and courage in battle saw him also receive the Silver Star, a Legion of Merit, a Good Conduct Medal and three battle stars.
One of four brothers who were in the U.S. military, his postwar career saw him go into business in his native Texas – mostly in real estate, construction and insurance.
He became a pillar of the Greek community and remained an active member of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Port Arthur. Cokinos was also a dedicated family man, raising seven children with his wife, Katherine.
In 2014, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Texas A&M Lettermen’s Association. In its praise of his military career, it noted:
“He served in the United States Army in World War II as a second lieutenant in field artillery.
“While serving in Germany in 1945 as a forward observer, Lt. Cokinos successfully directed artillery fire for a period in excess of 50 hours despite hostile artillery, mortar and small arms fire.
“He located an aid station and brought up aid, men and litters to evacuate the wounded. When the Infantry Battalion Commander was wounded by mortar fire, Cokinos administered first aid and covered the fallen officer with his own body, using his own helmet to protect the commander’s face until the mortar barrage lessened.”