The U.S. Embassy in Armenia posted the recollection of Ross Wilson who was sent to Yerevan as U.S. Embassy Moscow’s coordinator after the devastating Spitak earthquake.
Ambassador Ross Wilson is the current Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. Immediately following the Spitak earthquake, he was sent to Yerevan as U.S. Embassy Moscow’s coordinator with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Here is what he remembers about that time: “Within a day or two of the earthquake in early December 1988, the Reagan Administration determined to provide assistance – the first ever direct U.S. humanitarian assistance anywhere in the USSR since World War II. I was sent to Yerevan as Embassy Moscow’s coordinator of this assistance and worked extensively with the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the U.S. Military, private donor organizations, and the Armenian Apostolic Church, our principal partner on the ground. In the run-up to our Christmas holiday, we got word that President-Elect Bush wanted to send his son and grandson, Jeb and George, to Armenia to demonstrate his personal interest in, and support for, work to help the people of Armenia. My recollection is that they arrived early on December 25th from the U.S. and spent Christmas Day touring Leninakan, (Gyumri), Spitak, and other affected areas. It spoke volumes that at our most important family time, Mr. Bush cared so much that he sent a son and a grandson to bear witness and show support on his and the U.S. Government’s behalf. It was a touching gesture.”