The President of the Republic. Katerina Sakellaropoulou , the Minister of Defense Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos , the Deputy Minister of Defense Mr. Alcibiades Stefanis , the Chief of General Staff Gen. Constantin Floros , the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal (I) George Blioumis , Chief of General Staff Lieutenant Harry Lalousis , the Chief of General Staff, Rear Admiral Stylianos Petrakis PN and the General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Antonis Oikonomou They attended today, Monday, July 6, 2020, the naming and joining ceremony of the Navy of the General Support Ship “IRAKLIS”, which took place at the facilities of the Salamis Naval Station. Also present were the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Konstantinos Tasoulas, representatives of the parties, representatives of the Church, the Regional and Local Government.
The ship is another kind donation of the President of the “Aikaterini Laskaridis” Foundation, shipowner Mr. Panagiotis Laskaridis .
The Minister of National Defense, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, in the greeting he addressed, stated the following:
“Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Hellenic Republic,
Fine and distinguished guests, this sea breeze can create some technical problems in the pronunciation of a paginated greeting, but I, seeing the situation in perspective, would perceive it as a blowing wind blowing for our Navy and during this time I think you will see it. you.
So today I feel a special honor and joy that I am given the opportunity to attend and welcome the inclusion of the General Support Ship “HERACLES” in the strength of our Navy.
Today’s accession is of particular importance to the Navy, as it comes to complement the recent acquisition of “ATLAS-1”, thus modernizing, but also essentially increasing the capabilities of the on-board support of operational operations of our fleet.
It is fortunate for the Navy, in difficult financial times, to be able to include in two short periods two main Units in its strength and even Units that are characterized as high value from a business point of view. Our times are not only characterized by fiscal narrowness, but also by geopolitical challenges in the area of our direct national interest. The Navy as a key factor in the strength of the country’s Armed Forces and being one of the strongest in the Mediterranean, guarantees sovereignty in both the Aegean and the wider region. And it makes the country a strong ally for friends, but also a threat to aspiring opponents, giving credibility and weight to the country’s role in the region’s international developments.
In this case, the Navy responded directly to the challenge of integrating these newly acquired units, and to their immediate operational use. Two weeks ago, “ATLAS-1” participated in operational training of our Navy. For this reason, I would like to congratulate both the leadership and the crews of the ships, the “ATLAS-1”, and the “HERACLES”, and to thank them.
To the governor and the crew of “HERACLES”, I would like to wish that Saint Nicholas is always on their side and to make us proud with the action and the presence of the ship, in the Aegean, in the Mediterranean, but also where their duty call.
Calm seas should always be calm in front of you, although I think ladies and gentlemen that the tremendous potential of this ship will prove to be better in not so calm seas, but that is another matter. The wish is always for calm and peaceful seas. Of course, I must say here that the possibility of the integration of these two units in the fleet is due exclusively to Mr. Panos Laskaridis, who in practice proves the love for the homeland and the Navy, repeatedly covering most of the needs that extend from financing. maintenance and upgrade works, up to the supply of boats, as is the case with the General Support Ship “HERACLES”. I know he doesn’t like to hear that,
Within the framework of official recognition bid Panos Laskaridis by the State, the award falls today by Order of His Excellency the President of the Republic, the extent o J of Rear Admiral on price, a man of the sea who love and bid for The Navy rightfully gives him the status of a high-ranking official.
As an ordinary Greek citizen, I thank him for his contribution and for his message of selfless support at home and in the Armed Forces, a shining example for all of us that the homeland and society need the contribution of all together and of everyone. Separately.
As Minister of National Defense, I am pleased to award the “Star of Value and Honor” Commemoration to Mr. Laskaridis because as co-founder and president of the “Ekaterini Laskaridis” Foundation, during the long period of economic hardship that the Greek state is going through inspired by generosity and altruism, he was instrumental in maintaining and increasing operational capabilities and meeting most of the Navy’s needs.
The most recent proof of this valuable contribution is right in front of you.
Thank you for your attention”.
In his speech, General GEETHA General Konstantinos Floros said the following:
“Your Excellency, President of the Hellenic Republic,
I feel very happy and satisfied to attend today’s naming and integration ceremony of the General Support Ship “HERACLES” in the strength of our Fleet. Our Navy is reinforced by another combat unit with multiple roles, high transport capacity and modern technological equipment, perfectly suited for the effective support of many operations in the neuralgic maritime area of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The ship that we have the honor to include today in the Fleet, bears the name of the ancient mythical hero Hercules, the greatest of the heroes of Greek mythology, which in the minds of our people and worldwide, is synonymous with insurmountable courage and unrivaled power. The choice of the name was obviously not accidental, since the donated ship has, among other things, the ability to carry a large load of heavy-duty materials, to tow, to moan and to lift objects accurately, while its “immobilization stabilization” system gives the opportunity to support under any weather conditions operational care companies of the Fleet. This breadth of the range of missions it can undertake demonstrates both the great value and importance of donation.
Dear Mr. Laskaridis,
you have proved in practice and many times that you stand by the Armed Forces. Your national benefits to our Navy and your interest in the defensive shielding of the Country, protest a man with mental greatness, generosity and full awareness of the sacred debt to the Homeland, a one-man man Eupatridis. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your offer and I promise you that our staff will serve the ship with dignity, with a sense of self-denial but also self-sacrifice if required, taking full advantage of its operational capabilities.
Addressing the Governor, the officers and the crew now, I look you in the eye and remind you that you are one of our distinguished and unique military personnel, this multiplier of power that with its determination and efficiency makes our Armed Forces militant and capable. to fully protect the primary and fundamental good of the National Security for the Country. Perform your duty to the fullest in all the lengths and breadths of the seas, where you will be called upon to operate, ready to sail at a speed unmatched when and where required, in accordance with the values and traditions of the Navy and our Armed Forces. !
I wish you good travels and may you always have Saint Nicholas as your protector in your bow “.
The Chief of General Staff, Rear Admiral Stylianos Petrakis PN, in his speech said the following:
“Your Excellency, President of the Hellenic Republic, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a special milestone in the Navy’s unremitting efforts to modernize and renew the Fleet’s units, as well as its support mechanism. The effort is undoubtedly difficult and often with insurmountable obstacles, especially during these times when the country is struggling to overcome an economic and health crisis.
Greece is a naval country and the Navy can only be at the core of national power factors for the defense of national interests, the protection of our maritime space, but also the promotion of our broader geopolitical aspirations. The success of the modernization efforts of the Fleet’s units is a necessary condition for the Navy to maintain the ability to successfully deal with the ever-increasing number of challenges that our geopolitical environment breeds. Just because we maintain a fighting spirit today and are able to effectively prevent any malicious and aggressive action does not mean that this ability can be maintained in perpetuity without renewing, upgrading and acquiring new modern units.
Excellent Madam President,
Thanks to patriotism and patriotism, thanks to the timeless characteristics of the offer that one encounters in the soul of a Greek, Hellenism has survived to this day. As a true patriot, Mr. Laskaridis, after the donation of the training boat “KYKNOS I”, the financing of the replacement programs of the two Frigates electric machines, but also the donation of the General Support Ship “ATLAS-1” last year, proceeds to another offer, the sponsorship of the General Support Ship “HERACLES”.
The excellent capabilities of the new ship give the Navy multiple options and advantages, to support the units of the Fleet and the projects they perform. It is therefore no coincidence that the choice of the name of the ship, which refers to classical antiquity, and like the mythical hero, the new ship is expected to cope with a difficult and very demanding task. With the two newly built multi-role ships sponsored by Mr. Laskaridis, we are now able to upgrade, but also enrich the projects that are currently undertaken by respective elderly and technologically obsolete support units. The Navy is now acquiring a platform that provides, among other things, the ability to undertake the most important submarine search and rescue mission.
For your contribution to the Navy and your Homeland I owe a big thank you and I would like to assure you that the new unit of the Fleet will be used in the best way. Your generosity demonstrates the necessary mobilization in the national effort to renew the Fleet. It is a supply lighthouse in the Navy and our Homeland. You are an example to all of us, that to the best of our ability we must stand tall in the face of the challenges of our time.
Excellent Madam President,
The officers of the navy, with high morale and dignity, work tirelessly, respecting the unbearable financial sacrifices of our people. They exaggerate in order to keep the PN capable of coping with the ongoing challenges directly related to the marine environment. In the extremely critical period that the Homeland is going through, it is required as never before, to keep the fighting high, but also to strengthen the Fleet.
Before concluding, I would like to refer to the selection of the ship’s contractor, Lt. Maria Kokaraki, who graduated first from the PN School of Permanent Non-Commissioned Officers in 2016. This symbolism aims to highlight and reward the noble rivalry and excellence. of the Navy.
Finally, I call on the Governor and the crew to take full advantage of the ship’s capabilities and do their duty, continuing the tradition of the Navy, in which the Greek people always look forward with confidence, both in peace and in difficult situations. . I wish Saint Nicholas to always be on your side.
Mr. Panagiotis Laskaridis , in his speech, stated the following:
“Madam President, Leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I had prepared a short speech for the occasion but after what the Minister said, with all the exceptional honor given to me by the President, I forgot my words, I confused the speech and so you will allow me to tell you only two words from the heart.
First of all, I would like to express my great gratitude for these two excellent honors today, which are followed by other awards, which have been presented to me in the past by the Armed Forces and the Homeland, usually with great and often excessive generosity.
Secondly, I would like to return this honor to where it started, that is, our Navy, because when citizens are honored by the Homeland, they must in turn return the honor to the Homeland and the State.
Thirdly, I would like to thank my family, my children, my brother, who have been by my side all these years and support me.
Fourth, I promise you that with my little strength, as much as I can, I will help the Navy in the future.
Today is a great day for me and my family, because the Navy allows me once again after a few months, to be here and attend another ceremony of joining our Fleet of a new ship, which together with the previous one – “ATLANTA” – “HERACLES” both in my opinion and in the opinion of our Navy, will give our Fleet more opportunities to do its job more efficiently and in a better way.
In our Fleet, of which we are all proud and all of us are proud, because it is a fleet, Madam President, that for 100 centuries has never left the battlefields, never surrendered its Flag and never left defeated, a Fleet that we know that his executives – like us when we were little wrote every day “I will not forget my notebook” – every day bring to mind the writing of Herodotus who says: “Again, Xerxes wrote” Flash the weapons “, he copied take it “. The other, the newer writing of Georgios Sachtouris, in his report to the Prelates of Hydra on the day after the Battle of the Elder “early in the morning, taking the sails, we set out at the fastest against Topalin”, meaning of course Topathos Pasmanos Pasha, then anti-ship .
Unfortunately, our Greek Fleet and governments have neglected this War Fleet for many years. He has been neglected to a dangerous degree and this neglect must be reversed quickly, promptly and drastically.
This neglect consists of two elements:
First, in his large underfunding, which makes it very difficult for him to perform even his normal service duties.
Secondly, to free him from a horrible bureaucracy, which leads chair centaurs, auditors, civil servants, to condemn warships on holiday and immobility, at a time when these ships should be active in operations and be in the Aegean and its seas. Eastern Mediterranean, to protect our Saints and Saints.
Homeland is in a difficult situation today. He has to face an aggressive, provocative and revisionist neighbor. We need to think about what we all need to do, what we need to do to make this challenge happen. Because our leaderships, our governments, we ourselves, all together, will not be judged by whether we have succeeded in overthrowing the crown prince or in overthrowing the economy. We will be judged by whether we have managed to defend our National Rights in an absolute way.
Despite the problems, we Greeks have a strong belief that our Navy and our Fleet will do their job well if needed. And I would like to remind those who are not sailors – and to end – a historical anecdote: The discussion between Eleftherios Venizelos and Pavlos Kountouriotis on the deck of the Battleship “Averoff” one afternoon in October 1912.
Venizelos says to Kountouriotis: “Mr. Admiral, the most pleasant thing I can imagine is that I will follow Stolo as a simple traveler. But the government’s cases do not allow me to do so. But you should know, Mr. Admiral, that Greece does not require you to simply die in its favor. It requires you to win. ” And Arvanitis Kountouriotis answers him: “Mr. President, I do not know much about variations and such. But I don’t know that ships without a psychedelic crew are heavy lead, sinking into the water! We will do our job well with the ships we have. ” And the brave Admiral came out and his ships won the two great victories of “Greece” and “Lemnos”, a fact that helped to win the first Balkan Wars and Greece to double its size.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that for us people who deal with the sea, everything starts and ends with Agios Nikolaos. To Him we hope, to Him we turn to whatever help we seek and so I want to wish the Governor, the Officers and the crew of “HERACLES” to have good travels, calm seas and the Saint to always be on your side.
Thank you very much”.