Saturday, April 18, 2009

Headline: Wife Cleaning Papers out of File Cabinet Remembers When Soldier Husband Was Almost Detained by Hostile Middle Easterners

We have had a metal four-drawer filing cabinet for close to 10 years. It is currently stationed in the garage, right beside the door leading into the house.

I'm changing my filing system, and without going into that right now, let's just suffice to say that I'm going through every piece of paper in those four drawers. And they were full.

Some of it has been dreadful, and some of it has been kind of fun. I was reminded of the story from June of 1991 when Hubby left for Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, and he had a tiny little detour along the way. He did not go with a unit and flew commercial with no passport and only orders.

I am going to reprint his 'Memorandum For Record' that he had to submit once he arrived six days after leaving the United States. I am going to take some liberties since the original memorandum was typed in all caps. Blogger won't let me do tabs either, even in edit html, so please forgive the timetable spacing.

Subject: 1LT Cross Travel to Saudi Arabia

The following is the itinerary that I followed in getting into Saudi Arabia:

DEP Rolla, MO 0830 13 JUN ‘91
ARR STL, MO 1030
DEP STL, MO 1345
ARR NY(JFK) 1725
DEP NY(JFK) 2100(Delays)
ARR London 0800 14 JUN ‘91
DEP London 1525(Delays)
ARR Dhahran 0130 15 JUN ‘91
Remarks: When I arrived at Dhahran the Saudi officials would not admit me into the country because I didn't have a passport. When I left Ft. Leonard Wood I was told I would be admitted on my orders and my ID card. The Saudi officials would not permit me to place any calls to American military officials. I gave them the numbers that I had, they told me they called the airbase and they told them to send me back to London and contact the embassy. The Saudi officials told me I had to pay for my ticket back to London. I made an effort not to pay but they started yelling and telling me I had to make a decision then. I finally gave them my mastercard to cover the trip, after they asked for my wallet and I refused. I couldn't get a receipt because they rushed me to the plane and brought my card back to me on the plane.

DEP Dhahran 0230
ARR London 0730
Remarks: When I arrived in London I informed the immigration authorities at the airport of my situation and they contacted the U.S. Embassy for me. The embassy was closed for the weekend so they reserved a room in the Mostyn Hotel for me Saturday and Sunday nights. I caught a bus from the airport (Heathrow) to the hotel (downtown). I had to pay for the bus ticket, hotel, and all meals. On Monday I went to the embassy and LTC Murphy, the Assistant Attache, arranged for me to go to Mildenhall to catch a MAC flight.

DEP London 1300 17 JUN ‘91
ARR RAF Mildenhall 1830
Remarks: When I arrived at RAF Mildenhall I went to billeting and they informed me there were no rooms. They called a bed and breakfast for me. The cost for the room was $24, and they gave me no receipt.

DEP RAF Mildenhall 0830 18 JUN ‘91
ARR Rhien Main AFB 1100
Remarks: When I arrived at Rhein Main I went to the Army liaison and he booked on the flight to Dhahran the next morning. I went to billeting and got a room for $10.

DEP Rhien Main AFB 0745 19 JUN ‘91
ARR Dhahran 1900

Six days and it should have been two!

I still remember when Hubby called me from London and I had been expecting to hear from him already from Saudi Arabia. (Remember that this was well before email and cheap cell phone plans, and he didn't get any morale calls, so we had to pay something like $10 a minute if we talked on the phone from Saudi.) Obviously he had no chance to call before he left Saudi, but he said when he finally called that he was basically told that he would, "go to London or go to New York, and you will go now." One of the flight attendants felt sorry for him when he got right back on the plane he had just flown all the way over on from London, so she moved him up to first class after they took off.

Going through some of our old papers has been interesting if nothing else. I've been able to either throw away or shred a lot, refile and consolidate others, and I still have a few more funny things I found to share another day!

And Hubby also wonders why I don't want to take a mission trip out of the country.


Mari said...

That was quite a flight! I hope they reimbursed him for all the costs he ended up with!

Betsy said...

Oh brother! That is some story!

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