Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Dear Friends,

Well, early tomorrow morning I will board an Olympic Airways jet out of Heraklion to Athens, and from Athens to New York, and then fly on to Nashville, Tennessee. But, before I leave, I wanted to share a few final thoughts with you.

When I was initially planning my trip to Crete, I had wanted to stay for six months, but because of unrealistic visa requirements, I was unable to obtain a visa for six months, so I had to be content with a three month visit. This trip was to have been my “last hoorah” so to speak. I wanted to return to Crete and to Iraklion Air Station for one final time - for a lengthy stay so that I could get my fill of Crete and of the Air Base...enough to last me for the remainder of my life. But in the course of my stay, I found out something about myself. I can no more get my fill of Crete, than I could go outside and breathe in enough air to last me for the rest of my life! It would be like trying to drink as much water or eat as much food as possible at one sitting with the intent of never wanting food or drink again! It would be like watching one sunrise or one sunset and saying that any more than that would only be redundant. Or, perhaps it would be like hearing the cry of a newborn baby or the giggles of a small child and saying that all additional cries and giggles would only be the same! Or maybe it would be like never wanting to see the smile of a beautiful woman again! No – I didn’t get my fill of Crete! And when I leave tomorrow morning, I will do so with a great deal of reluctance and remorse!

So, what does this all mean? When General Douglas MacArthur was being evacuated from the Philippine Islands, he remarked, “I shall return”. And, later on, he did make a triumphal return to the Philippines. Now, I don’t claim to be a “General MacArthur”, but don’t be too surprised if sometime in the future, you should discover additional entries are being made to this blog in preparation for a return trip to Crete by Bob (Midget) Armistead.

I hope that you have enjoyed my photographs and my written entries on this blog as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you. And, in the course of my writings, if I have made you smile or laugh, or have provoked your thought-making process, then I will consider this blog to have been a success. From the beginning, I wanted this blog to be both entertaining and informative, and, if I have accomplished one or the other, or both, then I have achieved my objectives.

Take care, stay well, and let me hear from you.

Your Friend and Fellow “Silent Warrior”,
Bob (I Shall Return) Armistead


mac said...

BOB,I for one can say you have achieved your goals and in a big way.That island is like a huge magnet.Always pulling one back.
For those who have not made it back Iam sure you have given them reasons to do so.Thank you very much Bob for your efforts and time.If we get back to Crete next year for the reunion I will stop by your friends hotel and say Hi for you.Great job....Mac

Tom said...

Hi Mr Bob
I want to congratulate you with your great blog. I really enjoyed your writings about your adventures in Crete. Don't let it be your last time to visit the island!
I will return the last week of September and intend to send some pictures of my visit.
Wish you a save trip home

Tom Vermeulen from BELGIUM

Anonymous said...

I was on Crete from 72-74 and met the most beautiful woman from Antwerp. Her name was Susie Meese. I think that is how it was spelled. I visited her once, she lived with her parents in a building that overlooked a park. The park had a castle in it. I even considered trying to learn Flemish though she spoke Flemish, French, German and English. Incredible woman.
Don Smith
Atlanta, GA

Verna said...


If your trip was half as good as it appears on the blog, then you had a wonderful time! It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I showed my mom when she came for a visit - she would have read it from start to finish given the opportunity.

I hate to say Welcome Back, since it's so hard to leave - but I'm glad you had a great time nevertheless.

Spiff said...

Bob ... thanks for reviving some old, great memories! You have indeed rekindled my desire to return to Crete.

Rick Carner
Atlanta, GA
73-74 IAS

Anonymous said...

Bob, I want to thank you for taking the time and trouble to share your trip with us. Those of us who were stationed at Iraklion were able to share your thoughts at returning. I hope you do return, and continue to blog. You ought to consider a new career as a writer! Thanks for the pictures, the stories and your heartfelt feelings. Take Care of yourself. Kurt and Karen Rein, 89-91 IAS