The Belgium Interest, Baghdad | WATTS Up?

May 1978 TDY (temporary duty), Baghdad: The U.S. government was starting up an “interest” at the Belgium embassy. I was part of a team of OC (Office of Communication) technicians tasked with installing an HF (High-Frequency) radio system called WATTS (West Africa Telecommunication and Teletype Systems) there that had the capability to handle classified telegrams. …

Baghdad | The Casablanca Nightclub

April 1978 TDY (temporary duty), Baghdad: The U.S. government was starting up an “interest” at the Belgium embassy. I was part of a team of OC (Office of Communication) technicians tasked with installing a High-Frequency radio system there that had the capability to handle classified telegrams. After drilling into very hard walls using very dull…

Baghdad | By the Rivers of Babylon

April 1978 The ’57 Chevy driven by a black-mustached Iraqi rumbled (the shocks were all gone) down the highway from the airport into Baghdad. I bet the tires (probably retreads) had little tread wear left. Boney M album cover courtesy en-wikipedia.org We passed a billboard that advertised the Iraqi leader Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. The old man…

The Middle East | Trick or Treat?

Author Note: With the Halloween holiday coming up tomorrow the author recalls how travel in the Middle East was sometimes a matter of “Trick or Treat” when passing through immigration or upon entering a foreign country.  What follows are a few brief vignettes of the author’s experiences (or misadventures) as a young Foreign Service recruit…