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AHI president, executive director attend ceremony to mark latest delivery of F-16 aircraft to Hellenic Air Force
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
April 24, 2009—No. 29 (202) 785-8430

AHI president, executive director attend ceremony to mark latest delivery of F-16 aircraft to Hellenic Air Force

FORT WORTH, Texas—American Hellenic Institute President Aleco Haralambides and Executive Director Nick Larigakis attended a ceremony at Lockheed Martin facilities on March 19 to commemorate the initial delivery of the latest generation of F-16 fighter aircraft to Greece under an agreement with the United States.

Lt. Gen. Ioannis Giagkos, chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, and Bruce Lemkin, U.S. undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, also took part in the ceremony to mark the F-16 Peace Xenia IV program for Greece.

“I am grateful to everyone who contributed to the design and construction of this ultra-modern weapon system,” Giagkos said in accepting the first of 30 advanced aircraft. “With these new aircraft, the defense and deterrent force of the Hellenic Air Force will be significantly enhanced.”

The Peace Xenia IV program includes 20 F-16Cs and 10 F-16Ds and raises to 170 the total number of fighters delivered to the Hellenic Air Force since 1988.

Lemkin said the aircraft will “secure Greece’s homeland for several decades” and remarked on the “long tradition of friendship and cooperation” that exists between Greece and the United States.

“From World War II and the Cold War through today, Greece has remained a stalwart NATO ally and friend,” Lemkin said. “After the attacks on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001, Greece provided strong political support, the use of Greek airspace, and offered Greek military assets to combat terrorism, including the deployment of a Greek frigate to the Arabian Sea for almost two years!

“… Greece has been resolute in its support of operations in the struggle against terrorism and extremism, through the vitally important use of Souda Bay Air Field as a landing base, unrestricted overflights and [by] providing a continuous rotation of personnel to Afghanistan since 2002,” he said.

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.