Captain Bob Morgan
Michael Saba, author of the 2009 book, “King Abdulaziz… His Plane and His Pilot”, is now working on a subsequent book and film on the same topic including new information regarding civil aviation in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Saba is looking for stories, pictures and films of this era particular 1945 to the early 50s to include in the book and film.
Dr. Saba’s previous book included interesting ARAMCO expatriate stories and pictures which were acknowledged in his book. He recently has located the second key pilot assigned to King Abdulaziz, Captain Bob Morgan. Capt. Morgan was preceded by Joe Grant (Joe was assigned by the U.S. Army Air Corps to be the King’s private pilot). Capt. Morgan flew not only with Joe for King Abdulaziz, but also flew with early ARAMCO and TWA aviation in the DC-3.
Captain Bob Morgan
For more than 80 years people from all around the world have moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to begin new lives as Aramco expatriates. Throughout the decades, these expats and their families have built their own unique community while forging lasting friendships with the Saudi people and witnessing firsthand the momentous changes that have swept the desert Kingdom and the company itself. Expats of Arabia is the first book to tell their story.
Chronicling the history of the Aramco expat community over more than 80 years, Expats of Arabia will be a powerful illustration of life in the Kingdom. Following the history of these expatriates decade by decade, this book will chart the growth and development of the community they created. By examining this rich history we can better understand why these bonds of friendship and community have remained strong throughout the years and how they have come to stretch across the sands of Arabia and around the world. Ultimately, Expats of Arabia will be a celebration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the unforgettable experience it has offered to generations of expatriates and their families who still fondly remember the Kingdom as ‘home’.
Expats of Arabia will be published in 2015.
To learn more, or if you would like to be interviewed for the book, please visit the website: www.expatsofarabia.com or email email@example.com
About the author: Natasha Burge was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and is a 3rd generation Aramcon. Her family has lived in the Kingdom since her grandparents moved there in 1959. She works as a writer, and she and her husband live in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Like many Aramco expats, Natasha considers Saudi Arabia home. She hopes this book will bring back many happy memories for people who used to live in the Kingdom, and that it will serve to illuminate the community’s vibrant history for those who did not.
See other articles:
Aramco Brats Cody Martin and Natasha Burge Wed
Natash Burge graduates from the University of Texas
The monthly progress meeting of Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association (SAEEA) was held on March 04, 2014.
The attendees were as follows:
- Kamal Ahmed Farooqi (KAF)
- Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan (IAK)
- Ghulam Qutubuddin Khan (GQK)
- Mohammad Abdul Matin (MAM)
- Shafiq Ahmed Khan (SAK)
- Muhammad Salim Hamid (MSH)
The highlights of the meeting were as follows:
- KAF highlighted activities took place during the month of February, 2014.
- KAF thanked SAK for arranging the meeting place and delicious lunch at his residence. It was agreed that the next SAEEA meeting/lunch will be held at KAF residence.
- KAF signed a letter addressed to Saudi Aramco Government Affairs apprising them about Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association for possible future assistance.
- IAK informed all attendees that the SAEEA website is updated with all the 9th reunion photograph presentation and other activities of SAEEA.
- GQK briefed the attendees about Pakistan Government requirement concerning registration of SAEEA. He is in process of collecting the required documents to be submitted to the respective Government Department. GQK is closely working with SAEEA very senior Member, Mr. Ateeq Ur Rahman for seeking his assistance for registration.
- MSH briefed about SAEEA funds.
- MAM surveyed local market in order to purchase souvenir to be presented to SAEEA paid members. Two items were discussed and KAF requested two other office bearers to accompany MAM and finalize the material with SAEEA logo and place the order.
- KAF prayed for all sick people. For details, he requested all SAEEA members to visit our website www.saeea.com.pk on a regular basis.
- KAF requested SAK and MAM to survey places for SAEEA next reunion. It was mutually agreed to arrange a picnic/reunion in a local Farm. IAK will update all Members thru e-mail.
- All SAEEA Members visited the residence of Mr. M. Younus Shaikh, who is recently released from the Hospital after a long sickness. He is almost recovered and is in a position to visit his children, outside Pakistan.
If you have any questions then please call Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan on +92-321-701-4929 or write to him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The wedding ceremony of Tanveer Q. Khan and Sehrish Kanwal took place on February 14, 2014 at Gulistan-e-Jauhar in Karachi. The Valima reception was held on Sunday February 16, 2014 at “Al-Falah Lawn” in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi.
Tanveer is son of Qaiser Majeed Khan, Ex-Employee, Saudi Aramco Badge No. 74942, who worked with the Abu Ali Producing Division and Safaniyah Onshore Producing Department from 1979 through 2007.
Tanveer Khan, the groom, is doing his Masters in Professional Accounting from Holmes University, Melbourne, Australia.
The bride Sehrish Kanwal is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sagheer Ahmed; she is a professional Pathologist is working for Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi. Sehrish will join Tanveer in Melbourne in three weeks time.
Valima Reception was attended by the following Ex-Saudi Aramco employees:
- Qaiser Majeed Khan – The Host
- Mohammed Isrial – Member SAEEA
- Rahat Hussain – Member SAEEA
- Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan – Vice President SAEEA
- Shahnawaz Khan – Superintendent of Police Layari Area (Younger brother of Ahmed Nawaz Khan-Member SAEEA Saudi Aramco Badge No 74944)
Members of SAEEA wish all the best to Tanveer Qaiser Khan and Sehrish Kanwal and a very prosperous, happy married life.
Reported By: Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan Karachi
Tanveer Q. Khan and Sehrish Kanwal
L to R: Mohammad Israil, Qaiser Majeed Khan, Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Rahat Hussain
By Grace Malone for AramcoExpats.com
Tim Barger’s stories about 1950s Aramco evoke a bygone era that defined a certain Aramcon spirit of doing more with less and having a fine time doing it – from a kid’s point of view. His collection Arabian Son: 21 Stories was released last month and I interviewed him about the book by telephone and email.
How long did you live in Saudi Arabia?
I was born in Dhahran in 1947 and lived there until 1968, although I went to high school and college in America. I returned in 1973 to work at the embryonic King Feisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. Four years later I started a major video electronics business in Jeddah and left in 1980.
When did you start writing these stories? Did you plan to make them a collection?
About three years ago I had some killer insomnia. So I’d be tossing and turning for hours and eventually my mind would attach to some early memory – half of them involving Smith or Milt. Still unable to sleep, I’d start filling in the details of the particular escapade. Maybe even make myself laugh. Finally, I’d get up at three in the morning and write the story out. Then I could go to sleep. Through the good graces of Brat Chat and AramcoExpats.com I was able to publish these memories to a receptive audience but never thought about them other than as some small stories.
One day I realized that I had written a lot of stories and some people who enjoyed one story didn’t know that there were others, so I decided to compile them into a paperback as well as an e-book. I especially like the paperback because somehow words on paper take on a life of their own.
Arabian Son joins a long line of books of adventure in Arabia, including Out in the Blue, the lovely volume of correspondence between your mother and dad. What other works have been your favorites?
There are a lot of good books about Arabia – past and present, unfortunately most of them are out of print. Bayley Winder’s Saudi Arabia in the 19th Century and A.T. Wilson’s magnificent The Persian Gulf immediately come to mind. There are very few books about the ordinary lives of the Americans in Aramco. Larry Barnes’ Looking Over My Shoulder is definitely the best book to capture adult life in the 50s and 60s and certainly the funniest. Dhahran Fables: Fiesta Room Tales is the same era from the view of the kids and teenagers.
You don’t say much about your little sisters in your book. What kind of big brother were you? Would they have the same answer?
As a 4-year-old kid I had the tremendous luck to be followed by three little sisters spaced two years apart. My mother had her hands full with the girls, and I could discretely slip away into the oleanders to plan the next episode. Of course being a big brother I tried to introduce them to hedge caterpillars and lizards, how to get chewing tar out of the tar machine and other important techniques but they didn’t seem to share the same enthusiasm that I had for matchstick rockets and earwigs.
If your youth in Arabia were a film, what song or songs would be the soundtrack?
When you’re thirteen in Khobar and you miss the company bus back to Dhahran, you have to take a cab. You step into the back seat and the entire interior is papered with postcards of Indian movie stars, the dashboard is covered with imitation brocade, the rear view mirror is festooned with prayer beads and wild Bozuki music is blasting through a blown speaker. There’s nothing better.
Are you still friends with any of the partners in mischief featured in AS? If so, who (real names not required) and why?
Last year in Tucson I saw Jimmy R., the famous Scott Miller, Ben Michaels and Stephanie among many others. It was great – all of us knew the great Mohammed Hampton and loathed Mr. Bricklin. It was a real pleasure to reconnect and tell the same dumb sheet cake jokes we told fifty years before.
Did you ride a bike off a roof into the hedges?
I wish that I had. What a great thing to brag about. I didn’t see it but that was the event that made Dennis S. a legend. He had an amazing brush cut that was about 5 inches high and always rode his bike like the devil was chasing him.
Did you actually know a kid who handled a deadly poisonous sea snake until it bit him?
I was there that day. Ben and I were hanging around the yacht club at Half Moon Bay when his brother Roger came out of the water and said “I’ve been bitten on the fingertip by a sea snake.”
What? And then he told us that he had caught the serpent and was fooling around when it turned on him. Ben and I started to freak out. Should we ice the finger? Should we pre-emptively amputate? How much time did we have to get him to the hospital before it was too late?
Then we looked at Roger standing there holding his finger but otherwise fine and realized that if the snake had injected him with venom he would still be in the water convulsing in his death throes. Ben went to the cooler and said, “Here Roger, have a Pepsi.”
Seriously, how could a teenagers raised in Arabia not know it was crazy to hitch hike miles out into the desert without water, shades or hats to go to a party?
We did that all the time. The trip from Sufaniya to Dhahran was only a few hours, but that day we happened to hit a very flat spot in the traffic. We never wore hats and had never heard of sun screen – we were primitives.
Which years were best, grade school or high school? Why?
They were all equally good except for that miserable period in the aftermath of the walkie-talkie heist. Other than that I was usually able to find something fun to do at any age with the able assistance of my colleagues like Milt or Smith. There are a few stories I can’t tell because the statute of limitations hasn’t expired yet.
When and how did you find out your childhood was poles apart from Americans stateside growing up in the 50s and 60s?
I remember that I was about eight, visiting my cousins in North Dakota, when I was truly surprised to find out that they didn’t know where Khobar was, what a hamoor looked like, how to kill sea snakes stranded along the beach by the high tide or any of the hundred things that I took as completely obvious.
What has been the reception since you released Arabian Son?
As I wrote these stories people would write to tell me how much they liked them and on Brat Chat they would post their own stories. Mike Grimler wrote a story about an exploding clay pot that he and his buddies devised that had me in tears. Mike Polhemus gently goaded me into expanding Walking to Ras Tanura. More than a few girls complained that the boys had all the fun – which was probably true. Since the book was released I finally realized the readers liked my tales well enough but what they really liked was the way these episodes triggered their own memories of long ago when we didn’t have a care in the world.
What feedback have you about 21 Stories from your Saudi Arab friends?
A good Saudi friend about my age told me that when he was a kid everyone speculated at the mysterious going-ons behind the fence. After reading it he realized that what was going on in Dhahran was the same thing he was doing, growing up in Khobar – trying to duck parental scrutiny so he could mess around with his friends in the streets or down at the beach. Apparently “Boys will be boys” is a constant regardless of which language is being spoken.
I never lived in Dhahran, but reading through your book I noticed terms like GOSP or places such as Abqaiq used without any further explanation. Do you plan to release an edition explaining these things to the reader?
One of the joys of writing for a specific audience is that you don’t have to explain that GOSP stands for Gas Oil Separating Plant. You can just write Half Moon Bay without having to explain that it’s an estuary just south of Dhahran. You can write along without interrupting the flow to explain what an ice chit is. It’s a sort of patois that we all share and I only wrote these stories for those of us fluent in this secret language.
I noticed that in your introduction you refer to the children born or raised in Aramco as Aramco-Americans rather than the usual Aramco Brats. Was that on purpose?
Oh yes. Places like the pool, the Dining Hall and the movie theater were the key locations of our lives but our parents had their memories of these places too. We were all in this together and almost everyone who lived in Arabia more than a few years became an Aramco-American in a deep way that changed them forever.
Anyone who awoke to the prayer call of the muezzin and went to lunch at the company whistle for a few years was never going to be a normal American again. Compared to a man who spent his whole life in Wichita for instance. I don’t think they have the Ramadan cannon in Wichita.
In a bow to listicles – what are the top five truths, life lessons, whatever you call them, that you gleaned being an Arabian son?
- Never run at the swimming pool – as if.
- Four empty bottles will get you a cold Pepsi.
- Front row, center is the best seat in the Dhahran theater.
- When driving in Arabia, right of way goes to the largest vehicle.
- And of course never walk down the street when you can use an alley.
Grace Malone has been interested in the Kingdom since she worked there in the mid-70s. She is an author, critic and freelance writer based in Key Largo, Florida.