Hellenic Chapter: Association of the United States Army
Guard Officers’ Club
September 9, 2018
Ambassador Pyatt: Καλησπέρα, απλά ευχαριστώ, thank you very much.
I should begin, I think, by thanking General Bikos and Mrs. Bikos for having us here in your house. I remember two years ago the first time I saw the view of the Lefko Pyrgo from the Corps Commander’s residence. I realized I was looking at one of the most spectacular views in all of Greece, and it never fails to amaze me. So thank you for sharing that with all of us.
We have only begun what I think will be remembered as a landmark week in the U.S.-Greece relationship, but already it’s very clear that our time as the Honor Country at the Thessaloniki International Fair will go down as a truly historic landmark in the growth of our bilateral ties.
We’ve already had a very clear message from Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to affirm in the clearest terms possible the importance and breadth of the U.S.-Greece alliance and the importance of that the Trump administration attaches to that relationship.
Tonight with this inaugural event in Greece with the Hellenic Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, or the AUSA, we are able also to celebrate the growing strength of the U.S.-Greece strategic and defense relationship and the role that AUSA plays in bolstering these critically important times.
Last October I was honored to join then Alternate Minister of Defense Vitsas at the AUSA Convention where we launched this undertaking, and I’m thrilled tonight to see the Greek Chapter of AUSA come to fruition.
Thank you also Athanasios for your remarks. It’s easy to see from your comments how the important ideals and principles that serve as the foundation for the Hellenic Chapter of AUSA will strengthen our bilateral ties.
Your support and advocacy for those who serve, providing the forum for education and effort, promoting connectivity between the military, academia and industry, and advancing military professionalism, and of course strengthening the U.S.-Greece strategic alliance.
In addition to AUSA’s support for our defense and security agenda, AUSA is a proponent of principles and ideals that are essential to our shared success in an increasingly competitive and complex global business environment.
Another key aspect of AUSA’s charter is support and advocacy for those who serve their country. The Hellenic Chapter’s focus on promoting the interests of the men, women and veterans of the Greek armed forces is based on a desire to raise awareness of the challenges and sacrifices made by those who serve and their families.
Service members in Greece as in the United States represent a wealth of human capital, capabilities and experiences and we want this to contribute to Greece’s future in and out of uniform.
While defense and security are natural areas of focus for AUSA, the organization’s work can be applied across a broad spectrum, touching almost every aspect of Greek life. From planning and operations to leadership and management. The logistics and administration to health and legal services. And from the international environment to supporting local needs and requirements.
The launch of the Hellenic Chapter of AUSA is an important step towards integrating this valuable human resource and [inaudible] while leveraging their strong ethos of honor, teamwork and integrity — key elements to solving complex local and national challenges.
Finally, the Hellenic Chapter’s mandate to promote and support the U.S.-Greece relationship is another area of shared endeavors between AUSA and the American Embassy.
Greece and the United States enjoy an historic partnership and friendship, forged from common struggles, the exchange of our peoples, and our shared ideals and guidance.
Today we are enjoying a renewed and vibrant alliance and the Thessaloniki International fair has laid a foundation for an even brighter future. Our current military cooperation is at an unprecedented level and given the highly complex and numerous challenges [inaudible], our strong relationship serves the interests of both countries.
I’d like to note that a particularly important [inaudible] of AUSA in promoting the Greece-U.S. relationship is the AUSA Annual Convention in Washington. This event, which I was honored to attend last year with Alternate Minister Vitsas is one of Washington’s largest annual convention meetings.
The Hellenic delegation to AUSA has played an important role already in strengthening communication and cooperation between our countries in the area of defense industry and armament. And this year I’m delighted that the Hellenic delegation will be led by Minister Kammenos. We look forward to welcoming him in Washington and continuing there the very productive and important engagements that are already underway to further strengthen our defense and security relationship.
So in closing, I want to wish Athanasios and the entire AUSA Hellenic Chapter Board every success, and I look forward to our close and continued cooperation in the months and years ahead.
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