We left Biff to his project and went to the palace of Prime Minister Cordeiro.
There were lengthy introductions of the girls and his cabinet officers along with their office administrators.
The conversation covered several topics that I needed information on. One was how satisfied he was with the security arrangement with JBG so far and another was, were there any changes he wanted to discuss.
Then the discussion went to the Pact with the new countries added and the new contracts that we had brought for them to sign.
There was a joint meeting with all nine countries to finalize the training arrangements and formulate a schedule ten days from today where I needed to be.
It was back to the hotel – the same one where the rest of the men were staying. It was a low four star hotel. We did go out to a swanky restaurant for dinner.
We left Lisbon for Madrid Spain at 0700 on Tuesday to meet with the politicians for a photo op. Then it was on to their national police academy to discuss ideas on their training needs. After that, there was a meeting with the entire group that was coming to Fort Smith for training.
There were lengthy discussions about where JBG command and operations functions were to be located. We finished out the afternoon at the US embassy giving the JBG team a review and audit.
We then spent an hour filling them in on the changes coming. The important thing was there would be some cooperation between the two groups although it was somewhat limited by the contracts.
We finished out the day with another State dinner before going to the Madrid Hilton.
At 0500 we were in the gym and then on to a light breakfast. At 0730 the wheels left the runway for Vienna, Austria. Austria was one of the last countries to join the Pact so I had not met any of the principals involved with the PACT. I had talked with several members of the President’s Cabinet including the important Immigration Minister and the Minister of Justice, to whom the secret police reported.
A closed door meeting was to take place with the President, cabinet and ministers. With politics as usual there would be the important arrival media orgy and after meeting news conference. Then there was the state dinner and more politics.
We were finished by 1300 and had a few hours before we needed to be back for the dinner. With a guide from the ministry of tourism, we went to see the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp that had been designated a National Memorial.
As part of history classes and then as part of Marine training, (why we fight for freedom) I had said if I ever got anywhere near one of these memorials I would visit.
The four hours we spent there were nowhere near enough. I could have spent days there with my interest in history. It was a tough experience; we had tears in our eyes more than once.
To think that man could inflict this kind of torture and brutality on his fellow man was beyond belief. And then the reality sinks in that it goes on today with hardly a whimper from the world powers.
Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the western Pacific mass murders, rape, genocide – all over religious beliefs, economics, greed and power – only gets bigger with killing and torturing more and more. If we just stand by and turn away it will be here in just a few years.
That was the lesson that I wanted to see and understand and there was no better place than this.
After dinner and politics I went to the US embassy in Vienna to use MTAC to call the White House and Section Twelve for updates and to meet with the US ambassador.
Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday, just in a different location – Ljubljana, Slovenia – with more media meetings, public relations and more news conferences. Then we went to the US Embassy for a meeting with US Ambassador and to use MTAC again. Agreements were made for a small operations center and training.
Friday was again a repeat with another new location; Tirana, Albania. This time there were meetings, media and high level meetings with the Albanian security, the President and Prime Minister and a cooperation agreement. They wanted it called a cooperation agreement for political reasons.
Saturday morning we landed in Sofia, Bulgaria to start another day. A repeat of the previous five but with a little change. We were asked to participate in another state dinner with a full orchestra private concert afterwards; of course there would be dancing.
Sid and Gordon were with us and had brought their tuxedos just in case; there was that Boy Scout motto again ‘always prepared.’
After a few questions Jenny, Marcy, Lorrie and Ching Lee each picked out an evening escort from the security group. They were sent to find a tux for tonight. Don’t rent, buy them they were told. All the girls had brought fancy dresses and jewelry. Now if only the men could dance.
ZNN covered the news conference live again with the red carpet for the state dinner with all the dignitaries. After the dinner and dancing – that the men made it through without serious blunders – there were interviews as everyone was departing, again carried live.
I was glad that we had the foreign language requirement for my security men. It had come in very handy for them and impressed a lot of the other dignitaries.
The girls were on an emotional high as we went back to the hotel for the evening; they had a wonderful time and the fact we were all together made them all proud and envious. I had a feeling there would be some drawing of straws on the next visits and Vicky and I could expect some company.
Sunday morning we landed in Rome, Italy. Our meetings were in the afternoon so the morning was spent sightseeing; the Leaning Tower, the Coliseum, the cathedrals and anything else we could see in four hours. We did have a JBG embassy team as a tour guide.
After lunch the meetings went fast; Rome was in all the earlier meetings to set up the Pact and early negations with JBG. They were ready and prepared. A press conference carried live. We were not prepared for another state dinner with another orchestra and dancing but we had been invited. It was a good thing I had told the men to buy the tux.
This was a tit for tat I thought; the countries trying to put on the best for us in the public eye. Public relations and politics as usual.
The girls again were on cloud nine even without the high priced bubbly. A million dollars would not buy the smiles and happiness they were exhibiting. The fashion people were fawning all over us asking questions about jewelry and clothes and if it as true that we were armed.
Monday morning we landed in Paris. There were lots of things going on here. We were staying two days then we were splitting up with Lorrie, Ching Lee and Jenny going back home.
We were to meet Jack Rush, our pilot trainer recertification person along with Axle James and Ellison Burr, another one of our ex-military pilots late this afternoon. The trio arrived not long after we landed. Ellison had flown Warthogs and had accumulated lots of hours in them.
We were to have a long discussion with them. They were to go to the annual Paris Air Show tomorrow with us and then they were to accompany Marcy, Vicky and me to Polokwane.
But first there were the Pact issues to work out. We met with the President, the Prime Minister, President of the Senate and the President of their National Assembly. Those meetings lasted until noon.
After a light catered lunch we met with the Director of National Police and the commander of Gendarmerie; the military division that also acted the police in small towns, suburban and rural areas. It took three more hours to work out the details with that group.
We met Jack, Axle and Ellison at the motel for a dinner with all the fixings. After the meal I explained why they were here and what they were to do tomorrow.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.