President pays homage to Air Force hero, age 102, last WWII survivor
From the official records of the Association of Retired Air Force Officers. we know that Hadzilakos was born in Larissa in central Greece in 1920 and enrolled in the then-Hellenic Royal Air Force Academy at the start of the war in 1940 - quickly going on to join the fighting and seeing action on the North African, Mediterranean, Italian, Yugoslavian, and Aegean fronts.
He flew more than 200 missions in Hurricanes and Spitfires and was the recipient of 10 medals for his outstanding contribution to the war.
The Air Marshal went on to serve as an instructor at all 3 of the Greek Armed Forces’ academies and as operations director at various NATO posts from 1945 to 1967, while from 1964 to 1967 he was the defense attaché at the Greek Embassy in Washington.
He retired in April 1967 with the rank of Lieutenant General.
Among the more memorable missions of which he had spoken publicly was helping fly British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Alexandria in Egypt in November 1943 and 2 weeks later providing cover for the American bomber escorting United States President Franklin Roosevelt to Tehran.
In a social media post, President Sakellaropoulou spoke of, "his guileless love for his homeland and his devotion to its defense."
Her full message reads:
"We pay our respectful goodbyes to the heroic pilot and the last survivor of World War II, Air Marshal (ret.) Constantine Chatzilakos, who participated in over 200 war operations. His guileless love for his homeland and his devotion to its defense serve as examples for all of us."
We thank him for his service.