Being a tourist in distant countries has been an eye-opener. I was stationed in Rota, Spain with the U.S. Navy. It was a six-month deployment with my Jacksonville, Florida-based patrol squadron, during which time we flew patrols to keep track of what the Russian navy was doing in and near the Mediterranean Sea.
Winter of 1969. I remember because I had been married only since October, and was in the middle of a nine-month deployment to Rota, Spain. The naval station had a flying club and I had a license, so I had been flying the club’s Aeronca Champ – a two-place single-engine airplane made of steel tubing and canvas –for several months, having a great time exploring the Spanish countryside.