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July 21, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

They breed ’em tough at IBM, none more so than the company’s 72-year-old chairman emeritus Thomas J Watson, who was one of the pilots who flew a total of 8,000 warplanes across the frozen wastes of Alaska to Moscow under the US government’s imaginative lend-lease support programme for its allies during World War II: Watson, a former ambassador to Moscow following his term at the helm of the Blue Whale, has been pestering those pesky Russkies for years to allow him to make a commemorative flight, and finally, a few weeks back, they said yes; so it is that Tom J is just back from an epic flight that started in White Plains (where else), via Rejkavik, and Helsinki to Moscow, and thence back through unpronounceable townships such as Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Yakutsk and Anadyr, where he was mobbed by armies of WWII vets at each stop, before returning home via Anchorage to Great Falls, Montana, from where the planes originally set off back in 1943; the only disappointing part is that he didn’t do the trip in a Flying Fortress or a Mustang or any other lovingly rebuilt aircraft, only a dreary old Lear 55 jet.

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