A short film featuring the life of WWII ace fighter pilot Steve Pisanos will premiere at the National
Hellenic Museum, 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.
Steve Pisanos used a merchant ship to work his way to the United States where he promptly fled his ship and made
his way to New York City in an effort to achieve his ambition of becoming a pilot. With no money, prospects or even
command of the English language, what happened next personifies the typical “Coming to America” legend.
The film, titled The Mettle Behind the Merit is an episode of the internationally acclaimed video series, Old Guys and
Their Airplanes. Producer John Mollison explains the story’s appeal, “Right now, there’s great controversy about the
immigration issue within the United States. Steve Pisanos’ story is one that brings the best of everyone’s vision to a
common ground—Steve’s life illustrates what it takes to live the American dream.”
Steve Pisanos went on to become a fighter ace, Royal Air Force Eagle Squadron member, French Resistance fighter
and the first American to be made citizen on foreign soil.
The film is sponsored by Calamos Investments and The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Society. Steve was
awarded four DFCs for heroism or extraordinary achievement in aerial combat during WWII and a fifth DFC for
heroism in the Vietnam War.
John P. Calamos, Sr., Founder of Calamos Investments, Chairman of the NHM and a United States Air Force veteran, is proud to sponsor this film.
Calamos explained, “The Story of Steve Pisanos is an outstanding example of the Greek American story.
Hard work, wanting more for yourself and your family and unwavering commitment to our country is what the National
Hellenic Museum celebrates. Our third floor exhibit, The Greek Story in America, has fascinating examples illustrating
the important contributions of Greek Americans to the military. We are proud to document and display the history of
Greek American Veterans. Premiering the movie at the Museum, where Steve Pisanos himself donated items from
his personal collection, is a wonderful opportunity and I am proud to be a part of bringing Mr. Pisanos’ story to life for
more people to know.”
“Our mission is to bring these great stories to greater audiences,’ stated Bruce Huffman, Chairman of the Board for
the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. “You can’t watch this film and not be inspired to reach higher, no matter your
The Mettle Behind the Merit Premiere Event begins at 6 p.m. at the National Hellenic Museum, 333 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago, IL 60661. Tickets are $15, $10 for NHM Members and $5 for students. Register and order tickets here.