FORT BLISS, Texas (Jun. 8)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was welcomed by the U.S. Army today at the Army Air Defense Center here where Israeli personnel are training to activate Israel’s guided-missile battalion.
A parade and luncheon honoring Premier Eshkol took place. He met with the Israeli military trainees here who will soon number 100. The Israeli trainees here will return to Israel as instructors in the use of the Hawk missile which can be used against aircraft as well as against enemy missiles. The Israeli group here has actually fired U.S. Hawks and lead the trainees at Fort Bliss with grade averages of over 98 at the missile school.
The Israeli trainees commended the U.S. Army for outstanding cooperation with them. A detachment of Israelis participated in the U.S. Army parade. The luncheon honoring Premier Eshkol was tendered by Major General Tom Stayton, commanding general of the U. S. Army Air Defense Center. Gen. Stayton expressed pleasure at receiving the Prime Minister and commended the Israeli trainees.
Mr. Eshkol was honored by the firing of a 21-cannon salute. He was greeted by the children of Israeli military personnel who presented blue and white flowers to Mrs. Eshkol. He viewed Hawk anti-aircraft missiles of the type soon to be made operational by Israel.
Commands during the military honor ceremony were issued in Hebrew, the first time this is believed to have occurred in a formal ceremony at a U.S. military installation. The band played Hatikvah during the firing of the salute by artillery.
Prior to visiting Fort Bliss, Premier Eshkol, following the suggestion of President Johnson, inspected the water desalination plant at Freeport, Texas. He also visited facilities of the Dow Chemical Company. He arrived at Freeport from Houston, where he was greeted by Mayer Louie Welch. The Mayor presented Mr. Eshkol with the traditional ten gallon Texas hat and the key to the city of Houston. Following this, Prime Minister Eshkol reviewed a special honor guard which had been assembled in his honor. Also on hand to welcome the Israeli Premier and his party was a delegation from the local Jewish community.
In the afternoon today, the Eshkol party left Fort Bliss for Los Angeles. Premier Eshkol is flying aboard a special Presidential jet which President Lyndon B. Johnson has put at his disposal during the tour.