The American Embassy Athens | A Home Cooked Meal Includes Spoiled Milk

April 1978 RCO Bob Roberson had offered for me to layover the weekend in Athens before returning to my home base at Amconsul Karachi. I accepted with the only caveat being that I attend a half-day security upgrade at Am Embassy Athens. >photo Hellenikon Air force Base, Athens, Greece circa 1976 by forgottenairfields.com I was…

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…

Baghdad, Iraq | Arrival Resistance

April 1978 My cohort at the American Consulate Karachi, Al, had warned me. Regional Communications Officer Bob Roberson was adept at “expanding” our scheduled trips once we got out in the field. Bob’s well-crafted messages not only exonerated him but put the onus on us techs. Robertson’s message referenced the Office of Communication’s “Request for…

Middle East Travel | The Road to Damascus Ends at the Emerald City

March 1978 (Aboard a Jet Airliner 33,000 feet above Syria)  In biblical scripture the “Road to Damascus” referred to the sudden turning point in the life of the apostle Paul (when God shined the light on him) while literally on the road to Damascus from Jerusalem. Prior to that moment, he had been called Saul,…

Caught on Film | The CIA Girl Who Waitressed at a Virginia Disco

[Part Three] February 1978 Looking back the CIA girl incident unfolds as a series of scenes, like a one-reel wonder. To bring the reader into the fold I will treat this message as such… <feature photo by lightbulbs.com Scene One—Rewind: The American Consulate General Karachi fourth floor hallway. I first meet the CIA girl… When…

The Pharaoh’s Curse Reaches Out | American Consulate General Karachi

February 1978 [Part One] After an arduous two weeks in Cairo trudging over one sand hill after another (not literally) I packed up and returned to Karachi. The majority of my time at the “sand pile” had been waiting on a radio repeater that was intended to extend the radio network coverage from Am Embassy…

The Cyrus Vance Cairo Detail | Radio Interference of the Third Kind

January 1977 At the Cairo International Airport ARRIVALS hall I looked out for the embassy driver dressed in dark trousers, blue cotton long-sleeve shirt with perspiration patches in the armpits, and a well-worn black tie (the drivers all seemed to wear the same uniform). <feature photo by ghettyimages.com When the American Embassy Regional Security Officer Childress…

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance Arrives | The Middle East Peace Initiative Begins

December 1977 The Author: Perhaps Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat didn’t get the memo when former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had stated: “You can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can’t make peace without Syria.” Unbeknownst to the world Sadat had decided to bypass the influence of the Russians, Americans,…

From the Middle East to Karachi | The Deep Blue Goodbye

Late November 1977 After completing my first Middle East trip I headed back to my home base of Karachi, Pakistan on the Thai International flight. It had only been about two weeks, but it seemed like two months. As the flight ascended to its thirty-some thousand feet cruising altitude, it forsook the stark blue of…

Political Wars and the Middle East Peace Initiative

Late November 1977 Late in the afternoon Am Embassy Amman Communications & Records Officer Paul Messenger handed me a heads-up confidential message from my boss in Karachi, RCO Roberson. Basically, it stated that my partner-in-crime in Karachi, Al, and myself would be supporting the Secretary of State Cyrus Vance detail during the Middle East peace…

American Embassy Amman | Déjà Vu and Other Anomalies

Mid-November 1977 I stopped at the bottom of the footsteps leading up to the entrance into the American Embassy Amman chancery. I couldn’t get over the familiarity. It was déjà vu—like I had been here before. This was odd given that I had visited less than ten embassies to date. <feature photo by pinterest.com Once…