Marinos Mitralexis (1916 – September 19, 1948)From Messinia in the South-West of the Peloponnese, he was a distinguished Greek Fighter Pilot during WW2.
He enrolled in the Hellenic Air Force Academy, where he graduated in 1938. At the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War of 1940, he was posted to the 22nd Pursuit Squadron, based in Thessaloniki.
He is most known for his role in the dogfights during the 2nd World War. Greece only had 80 aircraft compared to the 400 of Italy.
After shooting down several Italian bombers, Mitralexis chased more who were headed back to their base in Albania.
Mitralexis, who was by now out of ammunition, aimed the nose of his aircraft into the tail of an enemy bomber, smashing the rudder and sending the bomber out of control.
After making an emergency landing near the crashed bomber, Mitralexis got out and arrested the four surviving crew members of the enemy aircraft.
For this extraordinary feat, Mitralexis was awarded Greece’s highest award for bravery, the Gold Cross of Valour. He was the only Air Force officer to be awarded it during the war.
He was killed in September of 1948 after carrying out a reconnaissance mission in the Aegean. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.