Minister of National Defence Nikos Dendias Attends Oath-taking Ceremony of Olympic Champions Active Duty Reserve Officers

February 20, 2024

On Tuesday, 20 February 2024, the Minister of National Defence Nikos Dendias, attended the oath-taking ceremony of the Olympic Champions Active Duty Reserve Officers at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club. The ceremony was also attended by the Alternate Minister for Sport, Giannis Vroutsis, and the Deputy Minister of Defence Ioannis Kefalogiannis.

On behalf of the military leadership, the ceremony was attended by the Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Dimitrios Houpis, the Chief of Hellenic Army General Staff, Lieutenant General Georgios Kostidis, the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Dimitrios-Eleftherios Kataras HN, and Major General (HAF) Giapitzis Georgios, Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, representing the Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant General (HAF) Dimosthenis Grigoriadis.

The ceremony was also attended by Officers and NCOs from all three services of the Armed Forces, as well as other guests.

The following Olympic Champions took the oath and were commissioned as
Active Duty Reserve Officers:
• Second Lieutenant Eleftherios Petrounias
• Second Lieutenant Stefanos Douskos
• Ensign Miltiadis Tentoglou
• Second Lieutenant Stylianos-Argyropoulos Kanakakis

• Second Lieutenant Angelos Vlahopoulos
• Second Lieutenant Konstantinos Galanidis
• Second Lieutenant Konstantinos Genidounias
• Ensign Ioannis Fountoulis
• Ensign Georgios Dervisis
• Ensign Dimitrios Skoumbakis
• Ensign Alexandros Papanastasiou
• Ensign Konstantinos Giouvetsis
• Second Lieutenant (HAF) Emmanouil Zerdevas
• Second Lieutenant (HAF) Marios Kapotsis
• Second Lieutenant (HAF) Christodoulos Colomvos
• Second Lieutenant Panagiotis Mantis
• Ensign Pavlos Kagialis
• Second Lieutenant (HAF) Sofia Papadopoulou

During his address, Mr. Dendias stated:

“Dear Ministers, dear Giannis Vroutsis, dear Giannis Kefalogiannis, Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Chiefs of General Staff, ladies and gentlemen,My presence today in this symbolic building of the Armed Forces Officers’ Club for the oath-taking of the new Olympic Champion Officers is a great honour.

Today, we welcome in the Armed Forces men and women who have honoured with their effort the national coat of arms. Dear Olympic Champions, the Ministry of National Defence and the Hellenic Republic have tried with this simple ceremony to honour your oath-taking, because the country honours the values you stand for and its commitments to those who achieve Olympic Excellence.

Ladies and gentlemen, we honour today these new Officers as a source of inspiration for their achievements and talent. We are all certain that the distinctions they have achieved reflect dedication, professionalism,
continuous, constant, I would say, consistent effort. Besides, the Olympic ideal is connected to the values of Greek Education and we have to keep it alive and convey it to the next generations. Especially in our time, when everyone seeks role models, we seek a sparkle of inspiration, a source of inspiration that gives a sense of purpose to human presence beyond the narrow personal self-centrism. Beyond excellence, we seek a contribution to society.

The State enrobed the proven excellence of the Olympic Champions in the honourable uniform of the Greek Officer. It integrated it with all glory into the most representative collective body of Hellenism, its Armed Forces. I would like to make clear that this commissioning of the Olympic Champions into the Armed Forces does not constitute an answer to the sustainability problem. On the contrary, it is clearly an action of value, a choice to incorporate excellence into the nation as a whole. This has been achieved, ladies and gentlemen, by your efforts. Besides, in the name of this whole, under the symbols and colours of this whole, you have struggled and achieved your Olympic distinction.

So, as athletes of our country, I expect from you to embrace and respond to the really important role of the national and social role model, which is gloriously assigned to you through the uniform of the Greek Officer that you wear.

This happens at a time where your oath-taking coincides with fundamental transformations in the Hellenic Armed Forces; because we design and create completely modern Armed Forces. We give emphasis to research, development, innovation, we seek human talent, we make transformations that are man-centric, we seek to project the real capabilities of the Greeks, beyond the capabilities of the Hellenic defence industry. We seek to get rid of the passive role and gradually become an actor producing defence capabilities and force multipliers; in other words, to create model Armed Forces. Armed Forces of a democratic country that protects human rights, participates in the European idea, and is able to defend itself sufficiently against today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

Because it would be, ladies and gentlemen, a great national negligence to believe that Hellenism can survive without having the ability to defend by itself its presence, its sovereignty, its independence, its sovereign rights. The Greek society must know that a spade is a spade. The modernisation, that we have called “Agenda 2030”, is a prerequisite to survive as country and as a people in the modern world. So, I invite you to participate in this great effort, by creating the model which is necessary for the Greek society to follow this big, but necessary for its existence, transformation and change. I congratulate you and your families from the bottom of my heart and I wish you all the best in your career in the Hellenic Armed Forces”.

On his side, the Alternate Minister for Sport, Mr. Giannis Vroutsis, stated in his address upon conclusion of the oath-taking ceremony:

“It is an important day for Greek sports and the Armed Forces. Starting today, 18 bright stars of the global and Hellenic sports are becoming Officers and they will finally shine in the Armed Forces of our country.

I am certain that not only the country fulfils its duty, but these athletes who honoured the coat of arms will also honour the Greek Flag, as they have done for many years now, shedding blood and sweat in the Greek courts for the country and our flag.

I congratulate them, I wish them all the best in their new duties and the Country will always be by their side and be grateful for their great contribution”.