“…During his long years of service in the R.H.N., in the most difficult moments, war or in peace, on every occasion he executed his duty with the exemplary conscientiousness that characterizes him and with superior understanding of the seriousness of the moment…”
Gregory Mezeviris narrates:
“In May 1947 I was promoted to Vice-Admiral and at my new rank I retained the duties of Chief of the General Staff of the Navy (G.S.N.) untill September. In September 1947 the new Minister of the Navy A.Sakellariou, Chief of the G.S.N. during the War period in Greece, informed me that I was going to assume the duties of Inspector General of the Navy. This position was reinstated and according to pre-war tradition was taken over by the most senior officer of the Corps. With the new Law the position of Admiral Chief was abolished and Rear-Admiral P.Antonopoulos was destined for the position of Chief of the G.S.N., rather than his senior A. Leontopoulos who had briefly replaced me a year ago [see: The Navy during the Civil War].
This prospect did not please me. The position of the Chief of the G.S.N. is one of action, while the duties of Inspector General are loosely defined; it’s a position of honor destined to those that after a long career have reached the top of the hierarchy and is the last before their retirement. I consider however that is the right of the Minister of the Navy and the Government to choose the Chief of the G.S.N. that they trust, as it is the only way to secure a smooth cooperation for sake of the Navy. I therefore didn’t express any objection and as member of the Supreme Naval Committee I voted for the officer who had been chosen and who had many professional qualifications. At the meeting where these changes were decided, the Minister of the Navy and the Chiefs of the British and American Naval Missions praised the way I executed my duties as Chief of the General Staff of the Navy.
Giving substance to an honorific position
Since I was offered the position of the Inspector General, the only way to make this assignment more desirable was to give substance to my new duties. I was given a staff of senior officers from all branches and I benefited from the backing of the Minister who was giving special importance to my new mission.
I started my inspections at the facilities of the Naval Command of Western Greece and her ships operating in the Gulf of Corinth that had been very intensively operating against the guerilla for the past few months. Next, I inspected the facilities of the Naval Command of Corfu where I even visited observation posts perched on steep mountaintops. The observation post crews were very surprised to see an Admiral climbing up to their positions. I finally inspected in detail all the Services of the Navy and arranged so that each Service was to be inspected at least once a year.
These inspections were done in a much more extensive way than previously. I was inspecting the personnel, listening to their complaints, inspecting in detail any kind of installation and equipment maintenance and the bookkeeping. I also ordered the execution of general maneuvers. In addition, I was reviewing the general organization of the Services and making recommendations for the improvement of their operating procedures. After each inspection a long detailed report was prepared and submitted to the minister with copies to the interested parties, their supervisors and to all Central Services. In these reports the observed deficiencies were mentioned, it was determined if they were due to an inefficiency of the audited unit, or to the absence of measures that should have been taken by the Central Command Services. At the same time the reports stressed whatever deserved congratulations, which were more frequent than the shortcomings. For that reason, despite the fact that this kind of inspection is a big nuisance for the Services, many Heads of Services were asking me to speed up their own inspection. They were taking advantage of the opportunity to show the results of their actions, the progress made and express at the same time their complaints for requests that the Central Command had not satisfied, as they knew that the Minister was carefully studying my reports. The Minister had demanded by circular that those responsible for taking action, after careful study of my reports, submit their action plan with the measures to be taken in order to apply without delay my proposals. I don’t know whether the Ministers that took office during my second year of service as Inspector General had been carefully studying my reports, but the naval Services had made it a practice to take them seriously into account.
February 1949, inspection of the R. Naval Base by G. Vasiliades, Minister of the Navy, accompanied by Vice Admiral Mezeviris, Inspector General of the R.H.N., Rear Admiral Antonopoulos Chief of the General Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Flokas, Chief of the Naval Base and Mr Snakenberg, Chief of the American Mission.