On Tuesday, 29 January 2019, the Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis attended a memorial service for fallen naval aviators, which took place at the Navy Helicopter Squadron in Marathon, Attica. The ceremony was also attended by the Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General (HAF) Christos Christodoulou, the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, the Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant General (HAF) Georgios Blioumis, and the Chief of the Hellenic Coast Guard, CG Vice Admiral Stamatios Raptis.
The Minister of National Defence gave the following address:
"It is a great honour to be here with you today for this memorial service.
It is a very emotional day for everyone here. The families of the fallen, the political and military leadership, the Commanders and officers who served in the Navy Helicopter Command.
We are all here to pay our respects to the fallen heroes of our Navy's helicopters.
It is also a national duty to honour all known and unknown heroes who fell in action for God and country.
Their sacrifice is our beacon, a sacred legacy. It guides our path in our effort to strengthen our national sovereignty. That's what they fought and fell for, Panagiotis Vlachakos, Christodoulos Karathanasis, Ektoras Gialopsos, Anastasios Toulitsis, Konstantinos Pananas, Eleftherios Evangelou, as well as everyone before them who gave their life for their country. We will never forget them.
This day is for them. Those great Greeks, seamen and aviators at the same time. It is also a day of memory, honour, and acknowledgement for the country's Armed Forces in general who, with their devotion to duty, guarantee the country's national independence and territorial integrity, so that all Greek citizens can feel safe.
With the combat effectiveness of our defence system, we remain extrovert and project the country's flag, wherever necessary. We raise our prestige internationally and prove that Greece is a pillar of stability and security in fluid times and in a region characterised by change.
This is a view based on our historical course, our geopolitical position, and our powerful Armed Forces.
The Armed Forces are ready.
The Armed Forces are everywhere, from Ormenio to Gavdos, from Othoni to Kastelorizo, on land, at sea, and in the air, 365 days a year, giving their all every day to fulfil the mission assigned to them by the Greek people.
Dear families of the heroes,
the loss of your beloved is an eternal message to all Greeks. A message of faith, devotion, and love for the country. Their sacrifice lights and guides our everyday work.
The Ministry of National Defence is by your side. The Armed Forces are your family.
The entire Greek people are by your side, as they have always been. This relationship is our power. The power received by the Armed Forces personnel that drives them to fulfil their multifaceted work.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With this small ceremony, we render due honours to those who wrote a page of Greek history with their own blood. Our obligation is not just to preserve their memory. Everyone's national and moral obligation is to fight in unity for peace, security, national independence, and a country with a bright future, in order to justify their sacrifice.
May their memory be eternal".