Page 13 - Foreign Service Journal - December 2012

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
DECEMBER 2012
13
While my family and I were on home
leave in California that summer, State
ofered me other choices, noting, for
instance, that “Tehran is available.” How-
ever, I had little knowledge of the Middle
East, had not served in the area, and pre-
ferred to remain in the Pacifc. Tanks, I
said, but no thanks: I decided to take my
chances on waiting for New Zealand.
My gamble paid of: I was assigned
as consul and frst secretary, arriving in
Wellington in late September 1979. But
as much as I enjoyed the assignment, it
wasn’t completely idyllic: Tat Novem-
ber, shortly after Embassy Tehran was
overrun, an Air New Zealand DC-10 with
257 persons aboard (including 25 Ameri-
cans) crashed into the Antarctic Ocean.
We were the nearest consular district, so
it was our responsibility to respond.
Four years after leaving Wellington, I
was posted to Toronto. Tere I served in
the Citizens Services Unit with Rich-
ard Queen, a young ofcer whom the
Iranians had released earlier than the rest
of the hostages due to a medical condi-
tion. (Richard was not mentioned in the
Journal
article or in the flm.)
Richard and I worked together in
Toronto for several months. I found him
a most likable colleague, but we never
spoke of Tehran. His multiple sclero-
sis progressed until he returned to the
department, where he served for some
time before eventually passing away.
My 35-year Foreign Service career
was flled with many adventures all over
the world, but I am truly grateful that an
assignment to Tehran in the fall of 1979
was not among them.
Donald R. Tremblay
FSO, retired
Santa Monica, Calif.
n
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