[NOTE: This trip journal was prepared in 2005 using original notes from the 1963 trip. In many cases where the original color slides had deteriorated too much to be used, more recent pictures have been substituted. The commentary is taken from the 1963 notes and sometimes differs from what we would say today, based on broader experience.]
Getting There Is Half the Fun
Monday, 1 April 1963.
I was in the last month of my 44 month tour as a JAGC captain with the Southern European Task Force (SETAF) in Verona, Italy. We had already taken one space-available flight from Pisa to Nottingham, England, on the RCAF flight that supplied our United Nations Expeditionary Force (UNEF) peace-keeping troops in El Arish, Egypt. Now we hoped to get on the flight going the other way, from Pisa to Athens, but time was running out.
The plane was sitting on the tarmac. It was a four-engine North Star, a version of the DC-4. The pilot was there, too. I was surprised to discover that he was an American, Captain Dick Porter, a USAF pilot in an exchange program with the RCAF. He said he couldn’t guarantee anything, but that he would do everything he could to get us on the return flight from Athens. We decided to chance it and take the flight. We had supper with Blandina and stayed at her house that night. (Talbot was away.)
Tuesday, 2 April. We got up at the ungodly hour of 2:15 and were at the Pisa airport at 3:00. The plane took off at 4:00 a.m. It was a four-hour flight but, with the time change, it was 9:00 a.m. when we landed in Glyfada, south of Athens. We managed to get a USAF sedan into the city,
apparently because when I phoned for a car they thought i was a Navy
Captain. We passed the restored stadium and the U.S. Embassy on the way to the hotel.