One of the most interesting assignments in my unconventional Air Force career was as the Commander of Project Peace Hawk in Saudi Arabia. Peace Hawk was designed to modernize the Royal Saudi Air Force not only with the excellent F-5 fighter but with all the related operational and logistic tools that would make the RSAF more self-sufficient. The resulting contracts with American companies ran in the billions and were a job producing bonanza for the U S.
A side effect of Peace Hawk was that it attracted numerous VIP visitors to the Kingdom.
One of our many visitors, who’s name you will recognize, was Major General George Patton III, accompanied by his wife, Joanne. General Patton was, of course, the son and namesake of the famous World War II general and as we Southerners say was his “spittin’ image”. When visitors were accompanied by their wives it was the custom to have a dinner in their honor. Our wives took the lead in deciding the theme and menu for these occasions.
The ladies knew that the Pattons had been entertained many times in their travels and most of those dinners would have been of the conventional sort, seated banquets with predictable menus. They wanted something a bit more special and decided to “go native.” Large Bedouin tents were erected and a “floor” of Persian carpets installed.
The menu was strictly Middle Eastern from appetizers of hummus and baba ganouj to platters of baked fish and grilled lamb to deserts of pastries and rose pudding. And, yes, we all ate with our right hands.
Most of these dinners to entertain VIPs are on the formal side and last about two hours. This one was very relaxed and informal and went on till quite late. The Pattons were thrilled and said so as they reclined on the pillows and carpets. The conversation was as relaxed as the participants.
The evening, thanks to the ladies, was a great success.
Note: Please read the Ware connection to General George Patton, by Judy Ware.