An unlikely target

When November 17 operatives used a remote-controlled bomb to kill US Air Force Sergeant Ronald Stewart as he was returning to his Ano Glyfada home on March 13, 1991, it claimed in a proclamation that it was striking a blow against the «murderers» and «mercenaries» who had just won the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. Stewart, a 36-year-old African-American who worked as a supply clerk at the now-defunct US base at Hellenikon, was an unlikely target. He was the lowest-ranking (and last) of the four Americans to be killed by November 17. The group’s first victim was CIA station chief Richard Welch, on December 23, 1975. Capt. George Tsantes, a Greek-American who headed the Joint US Military Advisory Group in Greece (JUSMAGG) and his driver Nikos Veloutsos were murdered on November 15, 1983, and US Naval Attache William Nordeen was killed on June 28, 1988. Ronald Stewart’s death was one of the 23 claimed by the group before it began to unravel after a bomb blew up in the hands of one of its chief operatives, Savvas Xeros, on June 29 last year. Now 19 suspected members of the group are on trial at Korydallos Prison and, finally, the families of the victims are getting an opportunity to speak about their loved ones who were lost, and the lives that were so cruelly interrupted. Nicole Bowser was the first family member of an American victim to testify. Welch’s murder will not be discussed at the trial, because of the 20-year statute of limitations. Two of Tsantes’s children have attended parts of the trial but have not testified. It appears that no members of Nordeen’s family will attend.