Warts and all Index
Warts And All
A rough draft of the spiritual autobiography of Joseph B Wilson
Copyright 2003 by Joseph B Wilson
When I left the courtroom the reporters mobbed me, but I declined to comment any further. I went back to the transit quarters, changed into civilian clothing, and went to the NCO club where I guzzled enough beer to make me tipsy and keep me peeing all night.
The next morning I was informed that I wouldn't need to testify anymore and I could return to RAF Upper Heyford. The motor pool drove me back. In those two days the OSI had kept their promise -- my transfer orders were ready, signed by the highest ranking officer in Europe, my household goods had been packed and picked up, my clearance from the base had been accomplished for me, my travel pay and one-way commercial airline tickets from Heathrow International Airport, London to Atheni Airport, Athens were placed in my hand.
The OSI agents gave me a final debriefing, showed me that my testimony had made the front pages of every newspaper in England, most of them in Europe (including the Soviet Pravda, which ran a cropped version of the picture the Daily Worker had published and claimed to have spotted me as a spy at the demonstration), and some in the United States.
Special Agents Green and Jones wished me luck, told me to report to the OSI office in Athens for further protection if I felt I needed it, and told me that if the plane went down over communist territory I should observe everything I could and report it to U.S. intelligence. I think they thought that was a joke, because I certainly didn't want to be in a communist country especially at this point in my life.
As I was leaving Jones tried one more time. He laughed and said, "Wilson, we know you were the person who told those guys what evidence we had against them in that marijuana case. What can you tell us about it?"
"When does the statute of limitations run out on it?" I asked.
"Ask me then, and I'll tell you the same thing I said before." I laughed in return.
Two days later Daisy, my five children, and I got off an airplane at the International Airport in Athens, Greece. I was happy to be in a nice safe anti-Communist police state.
As soon as I reported in to the base I learned that the 7206th Combat Support Group had no idea that I was coming there, and they didn't like surprises.
I went to the base OSI office and told them who I was. They disclaimed any knowledge of my operations for the Investigations office back in England, and told me all they knew was what they saw in the newspapers, that I had attended an illegal demonstration.
Another promise kept by our government (dripping sarcasm).
1971 and 1972 are such a jumble in my mind that I really can't put this in a reasonable order. Regardless, no matter how I felt, it was still necessary to function and I attempted to do so as best I could. I thought this would be a new beginning for me -- that I had a chance to do something with my Air Force career. I was excited about that possibility.
Daisy, the kids, and I lived in a four star motel/hotel for the first two months of my assignment. The government paid for those accommodations, and we enjoyed it. It was within walking distance of the beach and we would go there nearly every afternoon after I returned from work.
I wanted to go back to work as a journalist in the Information Office. That was not to be. The authorities at RAF Upper Heyford had completely, and illegally, removed the records of my journalism specialty from my personnel file. My first assignment, much to my disappointment, was as a clerk in base publications -- probably the most boring job on base. Although I was a Staff Sergeant I was given menial work by the Technical Sergeant (only one stripe more) in charge of that section. I don't remember his name. I do remember some details about him. He had been assigned to Athenai Airport 14 years prior to my arrival and never left. He was planning to retire at that base. Like many others on base he had established inside connections to the system and had managed to get humanitarian extensions of his tour of duty because he was married to a Greek national. (GIs married to Americans or other nationalities were not allowed to extend their tour there or elsewhere except under unusual circumstances. I don't know why an exception was made for those married to Greeks.) Although I tried to do the best job possible for him, he was never happy with me.
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