|John P. Calamos, Sr. will be honored for his service to our country in the Vietnam War and to the Greek-American community with the 2019 Michael Jaharis Service Award at a ceremony at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC on October 24, 2019. The Michael Jaharis Service Award recognizes the dedicated military service and many contributions, in the spirit of Michael Jaharis, to the Greek-American community, our country and to the world. This ceremony is part of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation Courage and Service Awards.
John P. Calamos, Sr. joined the United States Air Force through the Illinois Tech ROTC program, earning his commission in 1963. In 1965, he went on active duty and pilot training in Texas. He was assigned to fly B-52s while stationed at Beale AFB in California on Airborne Alert. By 1968, he was ordered to Vietnam to serve as a Forward Air Controller (FAC), assigned to the 20th TASS at Da Nang. Forward air control is the provision of guidance to Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft intended to ensure their attack hits intended targets and does not injure friendly troops. Calamos’ FAC squadron was the first to fly the Cessna O-2; an aircraft in which he recorded over 1,000 hours of flight time – 833 of those hours in combat.
Captain Calamos was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Nixon for “extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight under heavy hostile attack near Thuong Duc Special Forces Camp in Southeast Asia on 28 September 1968.”
His Air Force career encompassed 5 years of active duty and 12 years in the Reserves flying A-37 jet fighters. He retired a Major.
Calamos is Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Calamos Investments, a firm he founded in 1977. With origins as an institutional convertible bond manager, the firm has grown into a global asset management firm with institutional and individual clients worldwide. Headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area the firm also has offices in London, New York, San Francisco and Miami.
With 49 years of industry experience, he has written two books on convertible securities and is often quoted as an industry authority. He is a frequent speaker at conferences around the world and appears regularly on major media outlets.
He received a B.A. in Economics and M.B.A. in Finance from IIT, where he and his wife, Mae, established two Endowed Chairs in Philosophy and Business. Calamos also received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Hellenic College Holy Cross.
A son of Greek immigrants, Mr. Calamos is an active philanthropist supporting educational institutions and Hellenic organizations. He serves as Chairman of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. In addition, he is a supporting member of FAITH (where he first met Michael Jaharis), National Hellenic Society, Leadership 100 and The Hellenic Initiative. He serves as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. He has been honored for his lifetime philanthropic contributions by various organizations including the Pan Arcadian Federation of America and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.