On Friday, 04 January 2019, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, accompanied by the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis HN, and the Chief of the Hellenic Fleet, Vice Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos HN, visited Frigate "KOUNTOURIOTIS" at the Salamis Naval Base and addressed the students who would participate in the voyage that followed. More specifically, 25 high school seniors were selected by draw to participate in a voyage on a Hellenic Navy frigate and fly on a Hellenic Navy helicopter.
Addressing the students, the Alternate Minister of National Defence noted that the Hellenic Armed Forces enjoy full and universal acceptance by the Greek society, since they always help if necessary.
He also stressed the following: "Today, you have the unique opportunity during this short voyage to see a warship with high operational readiness and capabilities; these features are due to its crew, which is characterised by high morale and excellent professional skills. Remember that the human factor is much more efficient than the best piece of equipment, computer, or weapon system; consequently, you must always strive and train during your entire career, no matter what you chose to do in life".
In a statement to public TV from the Frigate, the Alternate Minister of National Defence stated among others:
"This is an excellent initiative by the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff to have students, and perhaps future members of the Armed Forces, become acquainted with the Hellenic Navy. It is a tour, a briefing, an acquaintance with the Hellenic Navy's ships. It is a voyage and something different than what the Armed Forces usually do".
Then, answering to a journalist's question, he stated:
"The Hellenic Armed Forces are peaceful, both in terms of doctrine and character. But they are also strong and their deterrent force is our great advantage. They guarantee our country's security and territorial integrity. This is very important. The message to our friend and ally Turkey is to also work towards peaceful coexistence. We need this and our peoples need this in order to live peacefully".