By Basil Mossaides
Nicholas P. Vamvakias was born in Maine of immigrant parents. Growing up in Maine, Vamvakias worked at his uncle’s restaurant at a young age to help out because he was left as an orphan at a very early age. All the while, he worked hard at school and went on to graduate from Portland High School and graduated from Boston University. Like so many of his peers, Vamvakias fulfilled his part of the American Dream.
While in college, Vamvakias served as an enlisted Private, in the U.S. Army Reserve and Maine National Guard and later attended and graduated from Officer Candidate School being commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor and Cavalry. His first assignment was in the 101st Airborne Paratrooper Division. Vamvakias earned his Paratrooper Badge while serving the Division, both in the U.S. and in combat in Vietnam. He served two combat tours in Vietnam where he received numerous awards, including our nation’s third-highest award for valor, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three awards of the Bronze Star, one for valor, the Purple Heart, the Soldiers Medal for Bravery in a Combat Theater, two awards of the Legion of Merit, six awards of the Air Medal for flight in a Combat zone, the Combat Infantry Badge for Combat, and the Senior Parachutists Badge.
Vamvakias graduated from the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, followed by the Army sending him to attain a MBA from Arizona State University. He was selected to Command the 1st/34th Armor Tank Battalion, of the 1st Infantry Division, followed by selection and graduation from the US Army War College. He next served in the Pentagon, followed by being selected as the US Army Fellow at the University of Virginia Graduate School of Business, graduating from the Executive Program. Following his two tours of duty in the Pentagon, one on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the other as a Division Chief on the Chief of US Army’s Staff, he was selected for Command of the 1st Armor Brigade at Ft. Knox, KY where he commanded over 7,000 soldiers in the Brigade.
Today, Colonel Vamvakias works for our nation providing his immeasurable talents to the protection of every American at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is married to his loving wife, Carol, who also served as an Army Nurse during the Vietnam War, reaching the rank of Captain, before she retired to raise their two children. Their daughter Mary Kate Moran, and her husband Don Moran have three children. Their son is Lt. Colonel Praxitelis Nick Vamvakias, on active duty with the Army’s 82nd Airborne (Paratrooper) Division, who with his wife Dr. Dana Vamvakias, have three children.
Vamvakias served AHEPA, at the Peter Derzis Chapter 438, first as Chapter Secretary for two years, followed by being elected President for three years. As president, Vamvakias launched the very successful new initiative called the “one for one membership program,” where each member throughout the year got one new member and each member carried a membership application with them at all times to enlist new members. Vamvakias also established an AHEPA Summer Camp, which was sponsored by the Chapter and in cooperation with the church, for the children of St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church. Since its inception seven years ago, this program has grown yearly, reaching over 70+ children.
Vamvakias was then elected to the District # 3 Lodge, first as the Warden, followed by being its District Governor. During his tenure, membership increased throughout the District. The following year Vamvakias was elected Supreme Governor of Region # 2, with responsibility for Districts 3 & 4, where he again increased membership traveling throughout both Districts.
These successes helped propel Colonel Vamvakias to his election as Supreme Treasurer of AHEPA, 2009-2011, where he has traveled extensively, promoting AHEPA, its programs and membership, throughout the United States, as well as to Greece, Cyprus, Jerusalem, and to Constantinople, where he participated in the creation of a new AHEPA Chapter. The Colonel is a real American hero and all of us in AHEPA are proud to call him our brother.