|Helias "Louis" Doundoulakis|
Doundoulakis in 2012
|Born||Helias James Doundoulakis
12 July 1923
Canton, Ohio, USA
29 February 2016 (aged 92)|
|Occupation||Civil engineer, author, and soldier|
|Notable works||I was Trained to be a Spy, Books I and II, My Unique Lifetime Association with Patrick Leigh Fermor, Trained to be an OSS Spy|
|Spouse||Rita "Arete" Gianoplus|
Helias Doundoulakis (July 12, 1923 - February 29, 2016) was a Greek American scientific innovator who patented the suspension system for the largest radio telescope in the world, and served in the United States Army as a spy for America's first intelligence agency, the OSS, or the Office of Strategic Services.
Helias "Louis" Doundoulakis was born in Canton, Ohio to Greek-immigrant parents. At the age of two, he and his family emigrated to Crete, Greece, where he grew up in Archanes, the site of the Minoan excavation at Knossos. While in his last year of high school, German paratroopers, the Fallschirmjäger, invaded Crete on May 20, 1941, after most of Greece had already fallen under the Axis powers.
The Battle of Crete lasted for ten days, after which Helias and his brother George joined the Cretan resistance. An underground organization was formed by George Doundoulakis, who recruited ex-military and Cretan civilians from the Heraklion and Lasithi regions of Crete, at the request of British Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Christopher Montague Woodhouse.
Working closely with "Monty" Woodhouse, Thomas James Dunbabin, and later Patrick Leigh Fermor, the underground organization supplied key information to the SOE. Timely information obtained by this organization and delivered to Dunbabin led to the sinking of a large German convoy destined to re-supply the Afrika Korps of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1942.
After the war, George Doundoulakis was awarded the King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom from Great Britain for his service, and Captain Dunbabin was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. After a two-year involvement with the Cretan resistance, both Helias and George escaped to the south shore of Crete through the Psiloritis Mountains after their betrayal to the German Gestapo by a local Cretan, and were evacuated to Mersa Matruh, Egypt, on a British motor torpedo boat. This was accomplished at the request of SOE agent Patrick Leigh Fermor, who would later be known for his role in the kidnap of General Kreipe from Crete.
Helias Doundoulakis was moved to an SOE villa in Heliopolis, Cairo. The Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, quickly learned of his two-year involvement with the Cretan resistance, and sent Captain James Kellis to the SOE's Heliopolis villa, to recruit both Helias and George Doundoulakis. The brothers enlisted in the United States Army on September 16, 1943, and joined the newly formed American spy service, the Office of Strategic Services or OSS. His Commanding Officer was the famous industrial designer and architect, Major John Vassos. Helias Doundoulakis was trained in the arts of espionage at the Cairo 'Spy School' and was sent to the SOE's STS training facility 102 in Haifa, Palestine for commando and parachute training. Upon completion of his training in March 1944, Vassos ordered Doundoulakis on a mission to Thessaloniki, Greece, where he sent encrypted radio messages to OSS Headquarters in Cairo from a factory once owned by Greek Jews, from April to December 1944. One message led to the destruction of a German troop train leaving Salonica's railroad station by a squadron of Allied B-25 bombers. Constantly hunted by the Gestapo, Doundoulakis was never suspected of being an American spy -- eluding the Germans, and even the Greeks.
Upon completion of his duties in the U.S. Army, Helias Doundoulakis settled in Brooklyn, New York, receiving a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the City College of New York, and a master's degree in structural engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.
Doundoulakis worked for over 35 years as a civil engineer at Grumman Aerospace Corporation and on many notable projects, including the MetLife Building in New York City, the Apollo Space Missions, the Lunar Excursion Module, the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, and the Space Shuttle. His crowning achievement is his patent for a radio telescope, used in the design for the largest of its kind at the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico.[better source needed] Helias worked on this project with guidance from his brother George and long-time friends and business partners William J. Casey, and Constantine Michalos, who were also assignees on the patent. During World War II, Casey had been appointed OSS chief for Secret Intelligence (SI) Europe by OSS Director General William J. Donovan. After the war, Casey held high-level executive positions under the Nixon administration, including Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chief. George Doundoulakis testified on Casey's behalf at the SEC Senate confirmation hearings. Casey was also appointed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as chief under President Reagan.
Doundoulakis died on February 29, 2016. He was buried next to his brother George in Greenfield Cemetery, Uniondale, NY, with military honors.
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