Film about Greek Immigrant War Hero Steve Pisanos to Premiere at NHM

Αssociated Press

Steve Pisanos in 2009. Photo by Skeet Shooter, via Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO – A short film featuring the life of Greek immigrant and World War II ace fighter pilot Steve Pisanos will premiere at the National Hellenic Museum on Thursday, October 3, at 6 PM. The premiere is open to the public.

Steve Pisanos signed up with a merchant ship to work his way to the United States where he promptly jumped ship and made his way to New York City in an effort to achieve his ambition of becoming a pilot. With no money, prospects, or even command of the English language, what happened next personifies the typical ‘Coming to America’ legend.

The film, titled The Mettle Behind the Merit, is an episode of the internationally acclaimed video series, Old Guys and Their Airplanes. Producer John Mollison explains the story’s appeal, “right now, there’s great controversy about the immigration issue within the United States. Steve Pisanos’ story is one that brings the best of everyone’s vision to a common ground – Steve’s life illustrates what it takes to live the American dream.”

Steve Pisanos went on to become a fighter ace, Royal Air Force Eagle Squadron member, French Resistance fighter, and the first American to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen on foreign soil.

The National Herald

Steve Pisanos, the first person to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen on foreign soil. (Photo: Alchetron)

The film is sponsored by Calamos Investments and The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Society. Pisanos was awarded four DFCs for heroism or extraordinary achievement in aerial combat during WWII and a fifth DFC for heroism in the Vietnam War.

John P. Calamos, Sr., Founder of Calamos Investments and a United States Air Force veteran, is proud to sponsor this film. Calamos explained, “the Story of Steve Pisanos is an outstanding example of the Greek American story. Hard work, wanting more for yourself and your family, and unwavering commitment to our country is what the National Hellenic Museum celebrates. Our third floor exhibit, The Greek Story in America, has fascinating examples illustrating the important contributions of Greek Americans to the military. We are proud to document and display the history of Greek American Veterans. Premiering the movie at the Museum, where Steve Pisanos himself donated items from his personal collection is a wonderful opportunity and I am proud to be a part of bringing Mr. Pisanos’ story to life for more people to know.”

“Our mission is to bring these great stories to greater audiences,” said Bruce Huffman, DFC Chairman of the Board. “You can’t watch this film and not be inspired to reach higher, no matter your circumstances.”

Members of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society, John Calamos, Steve Pisanos’ son, Jeffrey Pisanos, film Producer John Mollison and Editor Dalton Coffey will also be present at the premiere.

For tickets: