Former chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), retired General Michalis Kostarakos, passed away at the age of 67.
After a prolonged battle with health issues, he passed away on Friday afternoon at the 424 Military Hospital in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.
Kostarakos held the position of GEETHA chief from 2011 to 2015, going on to serve as the chairman of the European Union Military Committee from 2015 to 2018.
Born in Thessaloniki in 1956, Kostarakos completed his education at the University of Thessaloniki’s Experimental School before joining the Hellenic Military Academy in 1974. He graduated in 1978 as a second lieutenant in the artillery unit.
Kostarakos served in various positions, including senior roles in NATO’s International Military Staff and Greece’s NDC-GR. He commanded units such as the 96th National Guard Higher Command, the 3rd Bureau and Operations Command of the Hellenic Army General Staff, the 12th Mechanized Infantry Division, and the III Army Corps/NDC-GR. In November 2011, he was promoted to full general and assumed the position of GEETHA chief.
Kostarakos’ achievements earned him several honors and awards, including the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, the Grand Commander of the Order of Honor, the Armenian Medal for Military Cooperation and the NATO Medal for the Balkans.
In August 2015, the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) decided on Kostarakos’ retirement, appointing Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, then chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, as his successor.
However, Kostarakos was immediately recalled to active duty in preparation for his role as chairman of the European Union Military Committee, which he assumed in November 2015.
Kostarakos is survived by his wife and two daughters. [kathimerini]