In June through July of 2010 I was deployed to Bagram AB. In northern Pakistan the monsoon season was shaping up to be far worse than usual. Eventually one fifth of the country would be under water. Toward the end of July my crew was tasked for flood relief missions. We would eventually fly about seven missions into Pakistan and around the country. We flew into the capital, Islamabad, several times. Karachi to the south, it’s on the Arabian Sea. Kohat to the west, not too far from Bagram. We were as far east as Lahore, located about 10 kilometers from the border of India.
Every where we went the Pakistani people were very grateful for our help. But in Lahore we got a special treat. After taxiing into parking at Lahore we were meet by several high ranking Pakistani Air Force officials. They were not the treat. The Pakistani’s have an airshow here every year to commemorate the anniversary of their air force. There are currently no flying squadrons located at Lahore but there are a large number of air force leaders on the base. The base is used for most of the air force’s ceremonies and is where they welcome dignitaries arriving into the country.
All most immediately after the props quit turning a small Pakistani man, in uniform, was waiting for the crew entrance door to open. He was almost standing at attention except for the stainless steel tray he was holding like a waiter at a fancy restaurant. On the tray was a china tea service for six. Complete with real milk and sugar. Enough for each of us on the crew. It was a simple gesture but one I’ll never forget.