HALACHIS, Lieutenant Colonel John, USAF, Retired Passed away on February 24, surrounded by family. A resident of Round Hill, VA, he was born on October 23, 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Boston University and received a master's degree in government from Harvard University. Colonel Halachis served in the US Navy during World War II and was later commissioned in the US Air Force, serving in diverse capacities including flight leader for the F101-B; special intelligence to the Military Liaison Mission in Berlin and Greece; instructor for Radar Intercept for the F4 Phantom; Military Liaison Officer, Attache and POW/MIA Affairs in Vietnam; and as Assistant Air Attache, Athens. Colonel Halachis was awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal for service in Vietnam and received the Republic of Vietnam's Medal of Honor. He received the Gold Cross Order of the Phoenix from King Constantine B of Greece. Upon retirement, he was appointed as Massachusetts' Commissioner of Veteran's Affairs (1983-90), during which time he designed and implemented creative rehabilitation programs for Vietnam veterans that became a national model. He later was appointed Assistant Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, and is the author of two books. Colonel Halachis is survived by his wife, Catherine (Sikalis) Halachis; his children Deborah Layne; Lisa Jayne Abramson; and Alexander John Halachis of Blackstone, MA. He has three grandchildren, LT Alexander John Emmert, USN; and Catherine and Caroline Abramson. Funeral services will be held at Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, Winchester, VA, at 10 am on March 1st, followed by interment with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church. Please view obituaries and tribute wall at

Published in The Boston Globe on Feb. 27, 2013