The Foreign Service Journal, May 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2024 61 Haiti: Common Ground TOMMYE GRANT One of the nicest things about being in the Foreign Service is the opportunity to work in foreign countries and interact with their citizens, where you will find mutual desires for global peace and prosperity. My first assignment, to Port-au-Prince, reflected this when no matter who I met—office mates to neighbors—all wanted a community of peace and prosperity. This belief in freedom and democracy made me want to work harder to help them achieve these basic human rights that unite, not divide, us. What I did made friends for America, and these friends strengthen us. Peru: To a Land Without Fear JEAN PRESTON I was handling immigrant visas in Peru in the mid-1980s. One day as a Peruvian couple with two little girls entered my booth, an angry client pounded on a nearby counter, yelling, “I’m an American citizen! I’ve paid my taxes! I demand service!” One of the girls, her eyes wide with fear, asked her father, “Daddy, will the police throw that man in jail?” Her father replied, “No, my daughter, that is why we are going to the United States, a country where people can demand their rights without fear.” My heart swelled with pride in my country and in my role. Lebanon: Aftermath of an Assassination GEORGE B. LAMBRAKIS In June 1976, as acting ambassador (chargé d’affaires) during the Lebanese Civil War, I led our embassy in preventing a hasty U.S. Marine landing in Beirut after the assassination of our newly arrived ambassador, Francis Meloy, and two others. With Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pushing for the mass evacuation of Americans, the U.S. Navy was quietly mobilizing Marines to land and protect them. Tipped off by the British, who had learned of these plans and opposed them, I immediately sent a “flash” message (supported by our embassy’s military attaché) to the department pushing for a peaceful evacuation instead. Thanks to timely action by the Near East/South Asian bureau in Washington, as President Gerald Ford was considering the Navy’s plans, my telegram resulted in the Navy’s peaceful evacuation of nonessential embassy personnel and all willing American citizens under the armed protection of the Palestinian, Druze, and Sunni Arab militias who then controlled western Beirut. Afghanistan: Email from a Child Bride STEPHANIE STRAFACE In 2017, when I was serving as the American Citizen Services chief in Kabul, my intuition about a cryptic email resulted in a mission to rescue a young woman—born and raised in the United States, but sent to marry in Afghanistan at the age of 14—and her 5-year-old daughter, both held against their will for years in rural Afghanistan. We were very proud of the work we did to rescue this young American and her daughter. Years later, I would attend her true wedding and watch her family continue to grow, now safe in the United States. Worldwide: First-Generation Diplomat DIANE FISCHER CASTIGLIONE I am a first-generation American—the child of refugees from Nazi Germany and the first in my immediate family to go to college. Upon joining the Foreign Service, I marveled that I was a United States diplomat. I didn’t come from privilege, nor did I have connections who could help me enter diplomatic service. To me, this speaks volumes about what the United States represents and what it meant for me to represent the United States. Working at the Department of State, on behalf of the American people, was a remarkable opportunity. I am proud and honored that I could do so. Thailand/Vietnam: Welcoming Refugees SUE H. PATTERSON Shortly after the South Vietnamese government fell in 1976, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese fled the country in small boats. Many drowned, but many thousands also survived, arriving in nearby countries after harrowing journeys. Most of the surviving refugees languished for months, years, or even permanently. The U.S. government created the Orderly Departure Program,