National Hellenic Museum objects documenting Greek American service & sacrifice during the First World War

Uniform

NHM Collection 2015.11.1 

Red cross women’s uniform that belonged to Helen Laggis, a Red Cross volunteer in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the First World War.

Helmet

NHM Collection 1998.17.1

First World War-era United States Army helmet. The helmet was worn by Nicholas Mallos as he served as a cook in the 52nd Infantry Division in northern France.

Photograph

NHM Collection 2012.43.1

Peter Clironomos, a private in the U.S. Army during the First World War.

George Dilboy is perhaps the most famous Greek American veteran of the First World War. Born in Asia Minor in 1896, Dilboy immigrated with his family to Sommerville, Massachusetts in 1908. He traveled to Greece in 1912 to serve in the Greek army during the First (1912-13) and Second Balkan Wars (1913). 

He volunteered to serve in the United States army upon his return to America. He fought in the Mexican Border War (1916-17) and was honorably discharged. However, one year later, he re-enlisted, becoming a member of the 26th “Yankee” Division, to join the US effort in the First World War, and was sent with his unit to France in 1917.  He died in action during the Aisne-Marne counteroffensive on July 18, 1918, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first Greek American to earn the most prestigious American military decoration. 

George Dilboy’s Medal of Honor Commendation reads the following:

“After his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Pfc. Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machine gun from 100 yards. From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement, falling within 25 yards of the gun with his right leg nearly severed above the knee and with several bullet holes in his body. With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing 2 of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew.”

Photograph

NHM Collection 1994.26.3d

Dedication of the George Dilboy Memorial Statue on May 24, 1942 at the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago.

Elias Emanuel Delligiannis (Louis Callas) is another distinguished Greek American veteran of the First World War. Like Phillos and Dilboy, Delligiannis was an immigrant to the United States who volunteered for service. He was the first Greek American fighter pilot and one of only two men from his squadron to survive the war. Upon his return home, he became a US citizen and eventually became a lawyer for the US government. 

Photograph

NHM Collection 2013.21.28

Portrait of Elias Emanuel Delligiannis (Louis Callas).

National Hellenic Museum objects documenting Greek American service & sacrifice during the First World War