Thursday, July 23, 2009


Dear Friends,

It was just forty years ago on July 16, 1969, that we heard the familiar countdown, “10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1... liftoff, we have liftoff”. And with that, Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off from Cape Canaveral perched atop the nose of a Saturn V rocket. And on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon! I was on Crete at the time. There were no “live feeds”, and the only information we received was from Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). While we did receive audio news updates that were several hours old, we didn’t receive any video footage of the historic flight of Apollo 11 until about two weeks later. I stood in awe of the courage of those three men and of American technology which was able to put them on the moon and then bring them safely back to the Earth!

Now, I am enjoying my own countdown of sorts...10 days and counting until I blast off from Nashville International Airport headed for the Nikos Kazantazakis International Airport on Iraklion, Crete. When I do touchdown on Crete, I don’t think anyone will announce over the airplane intercom, “The Midget has landed”. But, I will probably be just as excited as when Neil Armstrong and Buss Aldrin touched down on the surface of the moon aboard the Lunar Module, “The Eagle”, forty years ago, and announced to the world, “The Eagle has landed”.

I have received a number of E-Mails from several asking if I was getting excited as my time of departure draws near. Well, let me put it this way: Do you remember when you were about 6 or 7 or 8 years of age, and how you just couldn’t get to sleep on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa’s arrival and the gifts that he would leave behind for you? Well...that is how I am beginning to feel! The excitement and the anticipation are beginning to build! So...”Buzz”, Neil, and don’t have anything on me!!! I doubt if I could be anymore excited than if I were preparing to head for the moon!!!

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

Your Friend and Fellow “Silent Warrior”,

Bob (Midget) Armistead