Captain Joseph Grant, a U.S. World
War II pilot, will be in the Washington, DC area this week for the national book
launch of "King Abdulaziz...His Plane and His Pilot," by Michael Saba. Captain Grant
will provide a rare first-hand account of the history and the beginning of the
diplomatic Saudi-U.S. relationship as the first pilot to King Abdulaziz bin
Abdulrahman Al-Saud, the founder of the third Saudi state, in 1945.
Captain Grant, who is 101 years old, flew a Douglas-DC-3 aircraft to Saudi Arabia to
be delivered as a gift to King Abdulaziz from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
following the leader's historic meeting aboard the USS Quincy on February 14, 1945.
Subsequently, he served two years in the Kingdom as the first airline pilot to King
Abdulaziz. Captain Grant was also instrumental in the establishment of Saudi
Arabia's first national airline and the training of its pilots.
On November 12, Captain Grant and author Dr. Saba will be at the Glenn L. Martin
Maryland Aviation Museum in Baltimore, MD from 12:00 p.m. into the afternoon, and at
the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on November 14, from 1:00
p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir expressed appreciation to
Captain Grant saying, "Captain Grant's efforts to help develop aviation in Saudi
Arabia and to unite our two countries under a mutual interest still resonate today
and we will forever be grateful."
On January 28, 2009, Captain Grant was presented with the King Abdulaziz Medal,
which is awarded in recognition of significant contributions made by an individual
to the Kingdom. In addition, on March 22, 2007, Captain Grant was presented with the
Friends of Saudi Arabia's Hart Award. This award is named for Ambassador Parker T.
Hart who opened the first U.S. Consulate in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia over 60 years ago
and served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1961-1965.
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