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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsFormer Chief of the Greek Armed Forces Michail Kostarakos Dies

Former Chief of the Greek Armed Forces Michail Kostarakos Dies

General Michail Kostarakos
General Michail Kostarakos served in senior positions at NATO and the EU. Public Domain

General Michail Kostarakos Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) in 2011–2015 died on Friday. He was 67.

Michail Kostarakos was born in Thessaloniki in February 1956. He was the son of Major General Dimitrios Kostarakos, who fought in the last battles of the Greek Civil War and in the Korean War.

He completed his school studies in the University of Thessaloniki’s Experimental School, before enrolling in the Hellenic Military Academy in 1974, from which he graduated in 1978 as a Second Lieutenant of Artillery.

Kostarakos served in various posts in both field and especially anti-aircraft artillery (the MIM-23 Hawk system), attended various schools and academies (including the US Army’s Hawk course at Fort Bliss), as well as occupying senior staff positions in NATO’s International Military Staff, the KFOR’s Joint Operation Center, and Greece’s NDC-GR.

As a field officer (Brigadier General in 2006), he commanded the 96th National Guard Higher Command at Chios, the 3rd Bureau and the Operations Command of the Hellenic Army General Staff, the 12th Mechanized Infantry Division, and finally the III Army Corps/NDC-GR, before being promoted to full General and assuming the post of Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff on 1 November 2011.

Kostarakos served as Chairman of European Union Military Committee

On 13 November 2014 he was elected as Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, with a three-year tenure starting from November 2015.

The EUMC is the highest military body set up within the Council. It directs all EU military activities and provides the Political and Security Committee (PSC) with advice and recommendations on military matters.

EUMC is composed of the Member States’ Chiefs of Defense (CHOD), who are regularly represented by their permanent Military Representatives (MilReps). EUMC has a permanent Chairman, selected by CHOD and appointed by the Council.

He was awarded several distinctions, including the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, the Grand Commander of the Order of Honour, the Armenian Medal for Military Co-operation, and the NATO Medal for the Balkans.

General Kostarakos was married and had two daughters. He spoke English and French, completed a graduate degree in the Law School of the University of Athens, and held a post-graduate degree in Diplomatic and Strategic Studies.

On 20 August 2015, the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense decided to retire  Kostarakos and replace him with Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, who later became Greece’s Defense Minister.

Kostarakos was immediately recalled to active duty pending his assumption of the post of Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, which took place on 6 November 2015.

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