Object ID
Object Name
Date Created
circa 1935
Object Entities
Dilboy, George (is related to)
Rozakis, Richard (is related to)
Access Points
Object Description
Black and white panoramic view of the city of Alatsata, Asia Minor, Turkey. The town's architecture is laid out on the center horizon of the image, below tall hills. Small buildings representing windmills are visible at the top of several of these hills at center and right. In the foreground is a wide valley. Several landmarks are labelled on the panorama with circled numbers. Below the image, in the left corner, there is a map legend in Greek. There is an English legend in the bottom right corner that reads: "1. Cathedrical Church, Annunciation of Virgin Mary 2. Holy Trinity Church 3. Church of Saint Constantine 4. Public Schools 6. The Government House and the City Hall 7. The Mosque, formerly the Church of Saint George transformed to a Turkish Mosque in 1801. 8. The Mountain Kara-Dag Notice-- The Buildings on the hills are Windmills." (8 lines) At top center above the panorama is an oval-shaped portrait of George Dilboy in a button-down shirt with the collar turned up and a wide brim hat. His head, shoulders, and chest are visible in front of a plain backdrop. He has a ribbon medal pinned to his left shoulder. To the right of the portrait is a caption in 3 lines in English: "GEORGE A. DILBOY, one of the 10 greatest heroes of the World War. General Pershing" To the left is a second caption in 3 lines in Greek. Above the panorama, further right of the English caption is a block of text explaining number 5 on the map. It reads: "House where GEORGE A. DILBOY was born in April 1895 of Greek parents. Arrived in America in 1909 enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1911 and saw active service in U.S. in the Mexican War. Being honorably discharged re-enlisted in the United States Army, Company H, 103 Infantry, 26 Division, in 1917. Saw service in France. Killed in action, July 18 1918, at Belleau Woods. Awarded the Congressional medal of honor for heroism above and beyond call of Duty. On July 1922 the U.S. Government excavated his grave and shipped his remains from France to his birthplace ALATSATA for burial. And on August 1923 after the Smyrna Disaster, the U.S. Government reshipped his remains and buried them in the Arlington National Cemetery, U.S.A." This text is mirrored in Greek on the left side, further left than Greek portrait caption. (9 lines in English and 10 lines in Greek.) In the top left corner is a medallion image with a Greek and English label to its right: "The Emblem of the benevolent Association Alatsateon "THE BEACON OF ERYTHREA", founded at 1918 and reorganized at 1935." (3 lines in Greek with 3 lines in English below.) In the top right corner is a rectangular image of a white building with electrical tower and power lines in front, label to the left reads "Radiographic Station Built in 1911 -- Height 285 Feet" (3 lines in Greek with 2 lines in English below). Centered below the panorama are 4 lines of Greek text with 4 lines of English translation below that read: "General View of City of "ALATSATA", State of Smyrna, Asia Minor, Birthplace of the World-War hero GEORGE A. DILBOY. This picture was taken in 1914 before the expatriation, with population of 18 thousands. To-day only wreckages remain, results of the World-War." To the right of this text are 5 lines of smaller text that read: "Inspiration of the Association of Alatsateon "THE BEACON OF ERY_THREA" in Somerville, Mass. 77 Linwood Street 1935". This text is repeated in 5 lines in Greek to the left of the larger text.
Photocopy of panoramic view of World War I hero George Dilboy's birth city, Alatsata, Asia Minor, Turkey. Donated by Dilboy's cousin, Richard Rozakis.

Alatsata is a coastal town with stone houses and narrow streets. It became well-known for its windmills, vineyards, and unique architecture. The centre of Alatsata only has old Greek houses which are over 100 years old. The town was declared as a historical site in 2005.

George Dilboy (February 5, 1896–July 18, 1918) fought in four wars on three continents before he was 22 years old. He was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, Company H, 103d Infantry, 26th Division and became the first Greek-American to receive the Medal of Honor during World War I, for leading an attack on a machinegun position and continuing to fire at the enemy despite being seriously wounded, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the remainder of the gun crew. General John Pershing listed George Dilboy as one of the 10 greatest heroes of who died on the battlefield in France. He is now buried in Section 18 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Dilboy was born in the Greek settlement of Alatsata, in Ottoman Turkey. His family fled Turkish oppression in 1908, immigrating to the United States in 1910 to settle in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 1912, when Dilboy was 15, he lied about his age so that he could return to mainland Greece to fight in the Greek Army in Thessaly during the First Balkan War of 1912. He remained there to fight in Macedonia in the Second Balkan War of 1913.

Returning to Somerville, he went to school and worked for a few years before volunteering to fight in the U.S. Army in the Mexican Border War in 1916-1917. Dilboy's skills as a sharpshooter landed him a job with General John J. Pershing on the manhunt for the infamous Mexican bandit Poncho Villa. Dilboy is rumored to have come the closest to nabbing Poncho Villa, clipping him with a bullet. Dilboy received an honorable discharge, but within months re-joined the Army to fight in France during World War I. He was killed in 1918 at age 22. He died a hero at Belleau Wood near the Marne River in France, singlehandedly attacking a wooded area infested with German machine gunners. He successfully disabled one gun before making a 100 yard charge toward two others.

Dilboy's Medal of Honor citation reads: "After his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Pfc. Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machine gun from 100 yards. From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement, falling within 25 yards of the gun with his right leg nearly severed above the knee and with several bullet holes in his body. With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing 2 of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew."

His death inspired his fellow soldiers to drive the German Army out of Belleau Wood and all the way back toward the German lines, as part of the Second Battle of the Marne that turned the course of the war for the Allies.

In January 1919, after Dilboy's death, the Commanding General of the Northeastern Department presented his Medal of Honor to his father, who said, "Under other circumstances I would have shed tears because of my son's death. But when I learned of the manner in which he died, I was proud that he had given his life with honor the cause of his adopted country, the United States..."

At the request of his father, Antonios, Dilboy was buried at his birthplace Alatsata, which was at that time a predominantly Greek city. After a funeral procession through the streets of his birthplace — said to have been witnessed by 17,000 mourners — his flag-draped casket was placed in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Presentation in Alatsata to lie in state before the high altar. But rampaging Turkish soldiers soon seized the town and during the three-year Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, in which Turkish troops recaptured Smyrna from the Greeks. The church was ransacked and Dilboy's grave desecrated. The American flag was stolen from atop Dilboy's coffin. The coffin was overturned, after which — according to an account by Bishop John Kallos — the bones of the Greek-American war hero were scattered by the marauding attackers.

President Warren G. Harding was outraged and sent the warship USS Litchfield to Turkey in September 1922 to recover the bodily remains. Harding demanded and received a formal apology from the Turkish government. Dilboy's remains were collected and a Turkish guard of honor delivered his casket (draped once again in an American flag) to an American landing party in Smyrna. His remains were taken aboard the USS Litchfield and returned to the United States. On November 12, 1923, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, where his gravestone proclaims his Medal of Honor status.

Dilboy had the distinction of being honored by three U.S. Presidents, Woodrow Wilson, who signed the authorization awarding the Medal of Honor, Warren G. Harding, who brought him back to Arlington National Cemetery and Calvin Coolidge, former Governor of Massachusetts, who presided at his final burial.

The Greek population of Alatsata was forced to leave in 1914 and the village was emptied. Most of these Greeks returned in 1919 during the Greek administration of Smyrna (1919-1922), when the Hellenic Army occupied the region of Izmir. But the majority fled hastily with the retreating Greek Army following Greece's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, while others fled from the shores of Smyrna. The unilateral emigration of the Greek population, already at an advanced stage, was transformed into a population exchange backed by international legal guarantees.

Under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 and according to the implementation of the compulsory exchange of populations, Muslims who lived in Crete, Thrace, Macedonia and Dodecanese settled in Alatsata city in the houses abandoned by the Greeks. Most of these houses still remain in Alatsata as tourist attractions.

This panoramic map with information about George Dilboy's biography appears to have been designed by the Benevolent Association Alatsateon in Somerville, Massachusetts. A monument was erected to Dilboy in Somerville on August 26, 1930. There is also a sports stadium named for him in Somerville.
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Map, circa 1935, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/10636. Accessed 04/20/24.