“First of all, you have to really want it because the training, both at the academy and later on, is very demanding and gruelling,” Captain Kosmas Chalaris said when asked what it takes to be chosen as NATO’s Best Warrior.
“The first stage that is needed is to really truly want it and the next stage, obviously, is to work as much as possible, to give up things, including personal time with the family and whatever that entails,” he said.
A pilot of the 331 All Weather Squadron of the 114 Combat Wing of the Hellenic Air Force, Chalaris was proclaimed ‘Best Warrior’ during NATO’s 18-3 Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP). Speaking about the experience of going up against the top pilots of NATO air forces, Chalaris presented the successes of the Greek Air Force personnel as the result of professionalism but also a love of the job.
“We do not go with the goal of coming first, we go simply to be ourselves, to do what we do every day and the rest comes by itself,” he noted.
He explained that for a fighter jet pilot in the Hellenic Air Force, the same parameters apply at all times, irrespective of the circumstances: training and operational action and function. Apart from professionalism, which meant doing specific things and taking specific actions, it could be that HAF pilots had that extra passion for their work and a desire to do a good job, he added.