Topic: John Shalikashvili

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John Malchase David Shalikashvili (Georgian: ჯონ მალხაზ დავით შალიკაშვილი, IPA: ; June 27, 1936 – July 23, 2011) was a United States Army General who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997. He was born in Warsaw, Poland, to Georgian refugee parents.

Shalikashvili was the first foreign-born soldier to reach the rank of a four-star General in the U.S. Army. He served in every level of unit command from platoon to division. Shalikashvili died of a stroke in 2011.

John Shalikashvili was a scion of the medieval Georgian noble house of Shalikashvili. His father, Prince Dimitri Shalikashvili (1896–1978), born in Gurjaani served in the army of Imperial Russia; Dimitri was a grandson of Russian general Dmitry Staroselsky. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Dimitri became a lieutenant-colonel in the army of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. When the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Georgia in 1921, Dimitri was on diplomatic service in Turkey. Dimitri then joined other Georgian exiles in Poland, where he met and married John's mother, Maria; she was Polish and of part German ancestry, and the daughter of Count Rudiger-Bielajew, a former Tsarist general. They had three children: Othar, John and Gale. Dimitri served in the Polish Army (along with other Georgian exiles) as a contract officer. In 1939, he fought against the German invasion of Poland. After the Polish defeat, Dimitri was demobilized. In 1941, he enlisted in the Georgian Legion, a force of ethnic Georgians recruited by Germany to fight against the Soviet Union. The unit was later incorporated into the SS-Waffengruppe Georgien and transferred to Normandy. Dimitri surrendered to British forces and was a prisoner of war until after the war. A collection of Dimitri Shalikashvili's writings are on deposit at the Hoover Institution. Meanwhile, Maria, John and his two brothers lived through the destruction of Warsaw. As the Red Army approached Warsaw in 1944, the family fled to Pappenheim, Germany, where they were reunited with Dimitri. They stayed with relatives there for eight years.

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