Greek Americans have fought in every American war since the Civil War. One important chapter in our history has only recently come to light, the heroic exploits of the Greek American Operational Group of the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA). The Group fought in Greece during World War II with the Greek Resistance. Its accomplishments are chronicled by one of its surviving members, Andrew S. Mousalimas at a great web site called Preservation of American Hellenic History @ http://www.pahh.com/oss/toc.html. The Group was descended from another unit, the 122nd Infantry Battalion of the US Army, nicknamed "The Greek Battalion." The 122nd was established by an executive order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943. Comprised of Greek immigrants it was given the designation 122nd to commemorate the 122 years of Greek independence from Ottoman oppression. The battalion was lead and trained by a native born Spartan, Major Peter Clainos, of Manchester, N.H. He was the first Greek-born American to graduate from West Point. He went on to become a regimental commander in the Pacific, where he received the Distinguished Service Cross, America's second highest honor, for service during the bloody fighting on the island of Pelilieu, He also served in combat as an infantry regimental commander in Korea where he was wounded twice, with the 7th Cavalry Regiment. The Greek Expeditionary Force was coincidentally attached to the 7th Cav during its distinguished service in Korea. More to come on that subject in future posts.
The Greek Battalion was eventually disbanded because it could not be used as an infantry unit in Greece, however, the entire battalion volunteered to undergo commando and parachute training to operate behind enemy lines with the OSS. Over two hundred men were selected and trained as an Operational Group. Under the direction of William Donovan, director of the OSS, operational groups were deployed throughout the European Theater to operate in support of Resistance units. In Greece, the Operational Group was under British command. Their effectiveness caused the German High Command to order their immediate execution after capture, despite the fact that they fought in American uniforms.
The records of the Operational Groups were shrouded in secrecy until 1988, when the CIA finally made them public. Their bravery, sacrifices, and daring exploits are too numerous to cover in this post. For a detailed history go to the link provided and read it all. It is an amazing piece of the Greek American legacy. We owe them that much.