GEORGE TSANTES, JR., CAPT, USN
George Tsantes, Jr. '55
Date of birth: June 23, 1930
Date of death: November 15, 1983
From the 1955 Lucky Bag:
From Find A Grave:
US Navy Captain and victim of terrorist assasination. Captain George Tsantes was murdered on November 15, 1983 in Greece by a local group of terrorists. They began in 1975 avenging the Greek government's 1973 crackdown on a university protest that killed 30 students and injured about 800 because their military used tanks to crush the protest. The group was able to avoid capture for 27 years during which they murdered, injured, and robbed several people. They were known for being pro-communist and their hatred for anything they thought unfit for Greece including the US military's presence in their country. Their victims were Greek, American, Turkish, and British. They planned and carried out an assassination of CAPT Tsantes as he was driven to work. Both Tsantes and his Greek driver were killed. This terrorist group has also killed Greek citizens and he was murdered in the very country where his parents were born and raised before moving to the United States.
He graduated from the US Naval Academy and after sea duty assignment as Engineer Officer on destroyer U.S.S. McNair (DD-679), he received training in nuclear power, then served as engineering officer aboard nuclear-powered surface vessels, including duty as chief engineer on aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65). He had also served a previous tour in Athens. Other sea duty had included command of the destroyer USS William M. Wood (DD-715) and the destroyer tender U.S.S. Piedmont (AD-17). He had earned a master's degree in physics, and was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association. Shore assignments were in Washington, D.C. where he served on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, three years in the Navy Atomic Energy Office, and two years on the Staff of the Director, Research, Development, Test and Evaluations as the Head, Nuclear Branch."
George is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
From the 1984 January/February issue of Shipmate:
Capt. George Tsantes Jr. USN was assassinated in Athens, Greece, on 15 November 1983 when he was gunned down while being driven to his office where he was serving as chief of the naval section of the United States Military Advisory Group. His chauffeur was also killed in the attack. Services were held in New Jersey on 21 November, then on 22 November at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Interment took place in Ariington National Cemetery on 23 November after a memorial in the Fort Myer Chapel.
Appointed to the Naval Academy from State of New Jersey, Capt. Tsantes was of Greek descent and had been serving in Greece for about seven months. Prior to his appointment to the Academy, he had attended the Drexel Institute of Technology for three years, and he was graduated in 1955 as number twenty in his Class. After sea duty he undertook nuclear power studies and served as engineering officer aboard nuclear-powered surface vessels, including duty as chief engineer in ENTERPRISE, and he had also served a previous tour in Athens. Other sea duty had included command of the destroyer WILLIAM M. WOOD and the destroyer tender PIEDMONT. He had earned a master's degree in physics, and was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.
He is survived by his widow Thalia, 2008 Wood Hollow Cove, Virginia Beach VA 23454; two sons and a daughter.
Memorial Hall Error
George is not listed on the killed in action panel at the front of Memorial Hall, though another alumni (Albert Schaufelberger, III '77) does; he was assassinated only six months earlier. Two others (Thomas Mitchell '53 and Charles Jeffries, II '67) were killed by separatists in 1974 in the Philippines and are on the killed in action panel.