It was a long train journey from Athens up to the land border between Greece and Turkey. It seemed to never end. All of us on board had recently become corporals or sergeants and now we were on our way to serve the compulsory 9 months at a front line unit. The total length of service was 18 months back then, 18 months which went by slowly, very slowly.
When we arrived at the station we were picked up by a truck and dropped off at our battalion, which would be home for the next 9 months. It was already late so they put us up in first company for the night. The next morning we had to report to HQ where we were assigned to individual companies. I was the only one to be placed in the Support Company, the company that handles heavy weapons, recon and such. At the time I didn’t know whether that would be good or bad for me. The group broke up and we all walked down to the different buildings separately.
Welcome to Evros – Air Force Style
While I was walking down I started hearing a familiar noise far in the distance, behind me. It only took me a second to realise that it was the sound of a jet aircraft engine (being an airplane nut and all). It also took about one second for that distant sound to turn into the loudest noise I ever heard. I instinctively ducked as a huge shadow passed over my head, so fast I could barely make it out. What just happened? I had no time to think and it happened again! This time 2 more shadows rushed by followed by another 2 a second apart! My eye caught a glimpse of the so familiar silhouette of an F-4 Phantom blasting by in what must have been nearly the speed of sound.
It must have been about ten seconds since all this had happened and I was still awestruck and probably looking like the newby I really was. Then another round followed of more fighters dashing by left and right, so low it felt like they were flying between the trees! What a sight.
When the show was finally over another sergeant walking by smiled at me and said “you’ll get used to it, happens all the time”.