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Aug 7 2021

Meet Colonel Alexandros Gkremos

I am Colonel Alexandros Gkremos. I am from Greece and have been serving at STRIKFORNATO since July 2019. I am 49 years old, married to Areti Paschou and we have a 4 year-old boy named Maximos.

I joined the Army in 1991 as a cadet in the Military Academy and I have been in the Special Forces since 1999.

If I had to describe myself in three words, I would say: keen, cheerful and energetic.

My inspiration for joining the Army was my childhood times in my hometown, Ioannina, where I often played war with other children. From that time, I realized that my hidden dream was to join the Army.

In fact, what empowered my desire were the difficulties I faced as a young man working in my father's work (weekends and holidays). It was a garage and we repaired broken cars. It was a tough period, but that made me focus more on my real desire. Many times, I thought what would be my job if I could not join the Army. Perhaps I would try to go to my second choice, which was to study as an engineer.

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The military personnel work with discipline and require a strict schedule, which sometimes can influence and change his personality. On that point, it is necessary to find the right balance, to make something for yourself and your family. Therefore, when the circumstances allow, I follow my hobbies.

One of them is to learn traditional dances and I like to participate in traditional dancing groups. It comes from the passion to dance with Greek traditional music and the opportunity to meet new people.

In addition, I developed for two years another hobby, the ability to become an actor. I was part of an amateur theatrical team and the milestone was my participation in a full theatre (four times). My Division Commander was present for one of my performances (I was on his staff). Theatre allows you to express yourself with more freedom and it is something that can help give you the right boost to do your military duties as well. For the near future, I am looking to participate in a Portuguese theatrical team.

Here in Portugal and under COVID circumstances, the only thing that I can do is try to exercise, especially running, as I clear my mind and I can better organize my military and personal plans. I have run eight marathons, two 24-hour running races and one IRONMAN race.

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Of course, good exercise also needs good food. That drives me to another passion – food. I love my wife's cooking but I also like to prepare meals, as well as special desserts.

By trying to combine my military duties, my hobbies and my family life, I would like to be grateful for Areti (my spouse), because she is keeping the balance and she supports me in my military career, even if sometimes it is very difficult. Military life is difficult for most families. Many thanks to my wife and many thanks to my colleagues' wives/husbands.

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Definitely, the military job is something that gives you a lot of emotional moments, personal or with your team. The most memorable for me were those in which I had to exceed my personal limits (mentally and physically) and those in which, as a Unit Commander, I succeeded in bringing the families together and they helped me to accomplish my Unit's mission with fewer family issues.

It is very nice to be able to perform your duties in a way which will be appreciated. But, the most important thing in our profession is to be able to be fair and have the right judgment at all times. This is the most important for me and I hope during my career I will be able to do it.

Thank you very much for the opportunity you have given me to express myself in a few words. I would like to end with a thought I have in my mind about the world we live in and how we can improve our quality of life. One of the things I would like to do to help our children is to try to eliminate violence and make a harmonious world with peaceful coexistence. Such a thing is difficult but, as long as we live, we hope.

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Story by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

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