This past week marked the passing of Saudi Arabia’s all-time favorite American, Captain Joseph Wade Grant. The first pilot to fly to the Kingdom, Grant ended up staying as the personal pilot to the infamous King Abdul Aziz for two years, and was key in helping Saudi Arabia start the national Saudi Airlines.
The amount of attention Grant’s passing received was nothing short of impressive. Making front page headlines on all of the major newspapers, with memorable quotes from the King and Crown Prince themselves, there was no room for doubt that Captain Grant was a man of honor.
In the article, two points of interest stood out to me above the rest. The first was that the Royal family suggested that Grant’s service helped foster the deep relations that the Kingdom would establish with America over the years. The second was that Grant was born in Stockton, CA. Wait, what? Yes, the same Stockton, California!
(For my unacquainted readers, I was born and raised in Stockton, California and owe any street cred that I carry with me whatsoever due solely to that fact.)
I’m not sure how many opportunities I’m going to get to impress people in this country with the “small world” coincidences that continue to fall in my favor, (first Santa Barbara, now Stockton) but leave no doubt in your minds that I will be the second most favorite Stocktonian in the Kingdom by the time I say my goodbyes! (Now I just have to get used to telling people I’m from Stockton and holding my head high at the same time.)
Upon further research, and without a hint of his disappearance in any Stockton newspapers, I learned that Grant was in fact merely born in Stockton; and grew up elsewhere, but the shoes to fill are still massive.
Fortunately, he too made his mark on the Kingdom in only two years time… giving me just over a year now to bask in the glory and high esteem that is, coming from “the City of Stockton, California.”
In other news, Jack FM in Jeddah is still playing old Korean War Propaganda narrations on the US Military Forces radio station. A small price to pay for all of the quality Classic Rock hits that you want.