Staten Island Web logo



Back in the 70"s the U.S sold(?) A-7's to the Helanic Air Force. The Navy was given the job of training the Greek Pilots & maintenance people. Due to scheduling problems the Navy requested training assistance from some of the Vought tech reps that were under contract. As such I was give a 3 month "vacation" to NAS Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Fl. The 1st. day I asked my Navy counterpart to start with the normal welcome aboard, chain of command, rules, safety. etc. The 1st class informed me that he had just arrived & did not have that information. I received a briefing guide from the Master Chief & started the indoc. @ the end of 45 minutes there was complete silence from the 2 dozen Greek airman. I took a break, asked the 1st class what was up, & he replied it seemed ok. Then one of the Greek warrant Officers approached me & asked if I would speak slowly & write everything on the blackboard as they did not speak or write English.

I went back to the Master Chief & he explained to me they had left out a minor detail, due to the situation in Cyprus the front line troops were not sent & the State Department had wavered the English comprehension requirement. So back I went. The next part of the brief was general aviation. The info package said they had already received this & it would have been part of their normal training. So I informed the class I would by pass this. One of their Captains rose & stated to teach same as it would be a good review. As I continued I still was not receiving any feedback. Finally I asked what type of aircraft they had been trained on. I was told none. They had all been pulled from a radar site to fill the training slots. They had never been around an aircraft before they were flown to the U.S.

So I went to the Commander & said 3 months, not even in 3 yrs. He said u are not here to question/set policy. Lecture, show them proper English, pray no one gets injured or killed, it is their job to learn, it is your job to teach. So each day we began with an English lesson for them, followed by a Greek lesson for me.

The last week we had a graduation party. The 1st class said he would make the arrangements. Unbeknown to me he hung out in a "red neck" biker bar. When we arrived I figured the end had come. For some unknown reason the jukebox had 1 non country & western record: the theme from Zorba the Greek. Next thing I knew Greeks, red necks, bikers, the 1st class & I were in a circle dancing (well into the night); "Umpa, umpa, umpa............"



Staten Island WebŪ Forums Index.