Flag Flies for Dan Costa Maroulas

Flag Flies for Dan Costa Maroulas photo

In its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to veteran Dan Costa Maroulas, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1948, by flying an American flag in his honor through the month of October.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Maroulas for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen. 

Mr. Maroulas, a member of the Hampton Bays American Legion Hand Aldrich Post 924, was honored at a ceremony held Oct. 20 at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the event, middle school students Kristina Georges and Samantha Coulton performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” Abril Vasquez Montes, Class of 2023, introduced the veteran by reading his biography before students Erin Brosnan and Dante Zangrillo read their Patriot’s Pen essay contest entries. Also, public officials, including Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming spoke in Mr. Maroulas’ honor. The ceremony concluded with the raising of the American flag. 

Mr. Maroulas was born on Aug. 4, 1928. Too young to enlist when America entered World War II, but wanting to do his part, he asked his father to sign for him when he turned 17 in 1945. His father, a strongly patriotic man, who had fought for his native Greece during the Balkan War of 1912, agreed.

Mr. Maroulas went through medical screening and signed the enlistment papers at Whitehall Street and then went home to tell his mother he had enlisted and was leaving. Sad, but proud, she put together a few basic things he would need. He reported to the Navy the next morning.

Basic training was in Bainbridge, Maryland during June, July and August; it was hot and humid. By the end of training, he found himself in the hospital with an ear infection, so he did not get an immediate assignment. On release from the hospital, he was assigned to the USS Dayton, a light cruiser, at the Boston Navy Yard. After attending electronics courses at the Fargo Building in Boston, he was assigned to Radar Duty in the Dayton’s Combat Information Center.

From Boston, the Dayton went to Guantanamo, Cuba for a shake-down cruise and practice with the ship’s five-inch anti-aircraft and six-inch bombardment guns and all radar equipment. The ship spent two days shelling the island of Culebra. The Dayton was the flagship for the sixth fleet commanded by Vice Admiral Bernhard Bieri. After Cuba, the Dayton sailed to the Mediterranean where Mr. Maroulas first saw the Rock of Gibraltar. Over the next two years, he and his shipmates would cruise off north Africa, southern Europe and parts of the north Atlantic.
As a radar operator, Mr. Maroulas operated sea and air search radar and also directed 40mm anti-aircraft guns from his battle station below deck. At times, he operated a PPI Radar Repeater on the flying bridge in all kinds of weather including days so cold icicles formed on his face from the ocean spray. One day, the Dayton got a call from the 88th Army Blue Devil Division, stationed in the Italian alps. Yugoslav communist Josip Broz Tito’s forces were creating a problem at the Morgan line and the Dayton was asked to assist.

The ship was assigned to destroy mines and clear the harbor to ensure the safety of Trieste. While in the Adriatic, one of the destroyers – the Fox - hit a mine. The Dayton sent doctors, called in tugs from Gibraltar and sent their onboard Marine detachment ashore to secure Trieste.

From Trieste, the ship sailed to Souda Bay covering a dozen ports on the way. Things were bad then; most of north Africa and the northern Mediterranean was bombed out. But, on one memorable day, the admiral was asked to go to Fournes, Crete to attend a dinner in his honor. As the admiral spoke no Greek, Mr. Maroulas was sent along as an interpreter.

In February 1948, the Dayton returned to Norfolk Naval Air Base, Virginia. There, Mr. Maroulas was assigned to the USS Macon for a month until his discharge. He received his honorable discharge on March 22, 1948. It was good to be home; all servicemen received the Victory Medal. 

After discharge, Mr. Maroulas worked professionally for George G. Sharp Inc., Manhattan, New York – Naval Architects with which he headed the Hull Arrangement Section and eventually became a shareholder. As a naval architect, he helped design navy ships – including Mississippi class cruisers and did rehab work for naval vessels in San Diego, Philadelphia and for Coast Guard cutters on Lake Michigan. In addition to naval ships, he also designed container ships, cargo ships, and ferries, including the Staten Island Ferry.  

As a hobby, Mr. Maroulas is actively involved with radio controlled aircraft which he builds and flies and on occasion has designed.

Mr. Maroulas is passionately devoted to his country, his Greek heritage and his family. He has been happily married for 65 years and he and his wife are known affectionately to their grandchildren as Papou (Papoo) and Yiayia (YaYa), the Greek words for grandfather and grandmother.