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Iraklion AS, Crete, Greece

I have quite a bit of memories from this island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. If my dates are correct (probably not), we lived there sometime around 1967 to 1969.  We lived off-base near a woodshop and a bakery. I would walk every evening to the bakery and get a fresh loaf of Greek bread for dinner. I remember a dancing bear that would come by. His Greek handler would have him dance while he played the tambourine. When finished, my dad would “tip” him with a couple packs of American cigarettes (Marlboros!). There was a Greek family that loved to come over and watch Gunsmoke on our American TV. I especially remember that my dad, who loved sports growing up, started the first youth baseball league on Crete. Instead of the Commander (Col. Louie Miller, Jr.) throwing out the first pitch to a catcher, he threw it into the middle of all us boys gathered together. I came up with the ball and it sits on desk to this day. You can see it here:

Baseball photos


197 comments for “Iraklion AS, Crete, Greece”

  1. I was stationed on Crete 1980-1982, LGS Supply. Remember the great times there. Still would love to go back even though base is closed just to see.

    Posted by Greg Brock | October 19, 2016, 11:29 am
  2. They had 2 reunions this year and are signing up for 2017

    Posted by Harold SIVERD | October 19, 2016, 5:17 pm
  3. I was stationed there 59-60. So sad to see what has happened to it.

    Posted by Clell Lewis | January 17, 2017, 9:12 am
  4. I was stationed there almost from when the Air Force Station opened – 1955. Base was very small. Worked as an intercept Radio Operator out of small quonset hut.
    Lived in Dakota Huts. (6938th Radio Squadron Mobile)
    Good Duty – Liked Greece. If anyone reading this served at that time, would appreciate hearing from you….

    Posted by Frank P. Sano | February 19, 2017, 6:28 pm
  5. Hello Frank

    It seems like a lifetime ago, was
    stationed on Crete with the 6931
    Security Group, was an intercept
    operator as well. Was there from
    about Feb of 65 thru April of 66.
    I took an overseas discharge from there and took a freighter from Iraklion to a port in Italy in the heal of the boot, then hitchhiked through Europe and then got a hop home later that year.

    Sounds like we had better conditions by early 65, nothing fancy but decent. I came there from a tour in the Philippines and went what they called 2T to Crete and got my 5th strip as part of the deal.

    Pretty decent duty, I became a supervisor and worked 3 on 3 off and spent lots of time on the beach and in town and did lots of hiking in the back country on Crete into some of the villages that were really authentic.

    I now live in Redding, California originally from Niagara Falls N.Y.
    have been here almost 45 years and owned and operated a mortgage company for over 30 years before I retired in 2012.

    Tell me a little about yourself and more about what it was like on Crete in the earlier days. The pictures and U Tube video shows it to be much much different than you and I remember.

    Drop a note when you can.

    Roger Camann

    Posted by Roger Camann | February 19, 2017, 7:09 pm
  6. My father Burton W Gilmore Jr (Big Red) was 6931 and we were based on Crete twice 1962-64 and 65-67 when we were evacuated when the junta started. He made SSGT on Crete and later passed away in 75 two days after medical discharged from active duty as a Captain. He was one of the four original mavericks from USAFSS in OCS.

    Good memories

    Posted by Burton W Gilmore | March 22, 2017, 12:42 pm
  7. Hello Roger:
    I just saw your comment posted 2/19 – today is 3/22.
    Thank you for writing. As mentioned, the “base” was only about one year old when I was posted there from
    Tripoli, Libya. There were a few officers, which I never really even remember seeing, a few NCO’s, and the rest of us enlisted men. Everyone shared a small dining hall, and we lived in Dakota Huts. I have some pictures I can post later if I figure it out. We had one main hut to do our intercept duties – half for the morse section, half for
    the voice intercepts. It was good duty, and I enjoyed going down to Iraklion when we could, and borrowing a jeep from the small motor pool and driving around the island, including a visit to Knossos. Was A/2C at the time, but made S/Sgt prior to my discharge at March AFB, where I was changed to Crypto-Operations. The conditions in 1955 were quite primitive compared to what you were doing in 1966. I was sent to Tripoli via a Navy Cargo ship, then flown to Iraklion in 1955 via a MATS DC-3. I live in San Clemente, California and am a retired Police Captain. If you care to send me your e/mail, I will send you some pictures of my time on the Island, including when I was a DJ for the Armed Forces Network – we had a small station that served all of Crete called CKLI. Cheers –

    Posted by Frank P. Sano | March 22, 2017, 1:28 pm
  8. Burton:
    Thanks for your comments as well. If you care to send me your e/mail, I will send you a few pics of the Base as it was in 1955…..

    Posted by Frank P. Sano | March 22, 2017, 1:31 pm
  9. Frank
    Thanks for the update, I moved to Redding from Orange County in 1973, was with the OCSO for a period.
    Would enjoy whatever pictures you might have in and around Iraklion.

    Roger Camann

    Posted by Roger Camann | March 22, 2017, 2:48 pm
  10. Roger:
    Thanks – I worked for the Westminster PD from 1962 to
    1986, and often worked with OCS Deputies around
    Midway City at that time……Frank

    Posted by Frank P. Sano | March 22, 2017, 4:42 pm
  11. WPD kind of turned into VPD if I remember correctly, isn’t little Saigon in Westminster? I moved to OC
    in 1962 to Orange, lived just N of the
    circle, seemed idilic, came from Western N.Y. state where the winters, economy and opportunities were very limited. I was 18, had no job, no car
    little money even rode my bicycle to
    Newport Beach once for a job interview
    in a suit and tie. (Didn’t get the job)
    Shortly thereafter enlisted in the AF to avoid the draft and wound up the Philippines and then Iraklion, which worked out pretty well. Hope all is well with you and yours. Thank you for answering my post.

    Roger Camann

    Posted by Roger Camann | March 22, 2017, 7:12 pm
  12. Roger: Little Saigon was indeed there. Still is, very big now. I joined WPD when you first came to Orange.
    I came to California in 1956 when I came back from Crete and was assigned to March Air Force Base. Orange, by the way, is very nice and they have a lot of restored
    homes from the twenties to the fifties. I look at some of the pictures of the base as it is now abandoned. It
    certainly grew a whole lot since I was there in 1955 in our little quonset hut. I joined the Air Force in Albany (NY) in September 1953 and did my Basic at Sampson.

    Posted by Frank P. Sano | March 23, 2017, 10:21 am
  13. Good Morning Frank
    Interesting, I moved to Orange Co from
    New York as well, I grew up around Niagara Falls in a very small farming village.
    Couldn’t believe what a paradise “Orange” was in 1962 compared to the New York weather and economics.
    Do you by any chance remember the “old” Orange Co Jail on Broadway, can’t seem to find any history or anybody who remembers it, I experienced my first jail riot there in 1968. I believe the Watts riots were in 1965. I was hired as part of a 400 group hire to man the new jail downtown, Jim Musick was Sheriff back then.
    Always good hearing from you, enjoy our chats.


    Posted by Roger Camann | March 23, 2017, 10:47 am
  14. Frank
    Just re read your previous comments
    again where you suggested we do email.
    Good idea, my email address is.



    Posted by Roger Camann | March 23, 2017, 10:56 am
  15. Roger:
    Indeed I remember the “Old” Orange County Jailhouse.
    Multi-story, kind of dank and dusty. Lab was on one of the top floors – crowded. This is where we brought our prisoners from Westminster before Westminster had it’s own new police station and jail. I was on the force from
    1962 to 1986, so we do have some common roots in
    Law Enforcement s well as USAFSS……Will try to find some old photos of Crete in 1955 and send them to you…

    Posted by Frank P. Sano | March 23, 2017, 12:12 pm
  16. It was an interesting time back then working at the OC jail, Viet Nam was happening and lots and lots of Marines from Camp Pendleton (sp) were all war hero”s in their minds and all wanted to get drunk and always wanted to fight. On weekends CHP had a regular assembly line bringing them in and we had to fight them, we usually won.

    Posted by Roger Camann | March 23, 2017, 12:54 pm
  17. guts check out Gary McPhersons site on shutterfly. Albums photos,history recipes,lost and found,etc. Guaranteed you’ll get flashbacks or at least a tear or two Harold siverd 71-74 papoumac.shutterfly.com

    Posted by Harold SIVERD | March 24, 2017, 6:15 pm
  18. Hey,
    I was stationed on Crete 6930 RGM 1961- Aug 1962 as an intercept analysis. Spent most of my off duty in Iraklion and around the island. Was a great experience for an eighteen year old first time overseas. Spent 2 more years 1980-1982. Everything changed. Local community relations changed drastically but the locals on base were just as nice as ever. Some from my tour twenty years earlier were still there. Great experience both tunes, Made one more trip in 2000 on R&R from Bosnia. First time since the base closed and was sad to see the condition of the base. Great Memories but also sad conclusion on my last trip. Love the Greeks and especially the locals working on base.

    Posted by Bob Urey | April 25, 2017, 5:47 pm
  19. Hey Bob
    Thanks for the update on things, you were there a few years earlier than I was, I was there from about Jan 65 thru April of 66. I got an early out
    of about 2 months, took an overseas
    discharge and hitchhiked across Europe
    for some months and then got a “hop” back to the state from England.

    There is a fellow I have been in contact with named Frank Sano, was there in the late 50’s,pretty rustic
    at that time and he was a code guy as well.

    I was with the 6931 Scty Gp, traveled throughout Crete, hiked a lot and enjoyed Greece at lot. I have watched UTube videos and see what Crete is like now, almost can’t tell it is the same area.

    You have seen an enormous change if you were there in the early 60’s and then again in the 80’s, does that make you a “lifer”.

    Tell a little more as to where you are from and about yourself.

    I live in Redding, California for the past 44 years, moved here from Orange County Calif and was a mortgage broker for 33 years until I retired in 2012.

    Great to hear from you, drop a note if you can, life is surely different
    from the days of the 60’s.

    Roger Caman

    Posted by Roger Camann | April 25, 2017, 7:04 pm
  20. I remember you! We were stationed on Crete with my parents from May of ’61 to Sept. ’62. I was a high school student at the time. I remember you from the base gym (and other places) where you were in attendance at the dependent boys’ basketball games, coached by a military policeman named Johnny Wooden(sp). My father was NCOIC of Base Civil Engineers.

    Posted by Patty Martin Beech | April 26, 2017, 2:09 am
  21. Check out this site. Several folks from your time frame on it papoumac.shutterfly.com

    Posted by Harold SIVERD | April 26, 2017, 9:33 am
  22. So sorry I haven’t responded sooner, but must say I am enjoying reading all of the comments from those who served at IAS especially those who served with the 6930th RGM from 1959 to 1961. I was a radio intercept operator and throughly enjoyed my duty on Crete, Greece. I was also very fortunate to have played on the base fast pitch softball team which won the regional championships in Turkey. We went on to play in the European finals in Madrid, Spain at Torrejon AFB.
    Many fond memories on the base and also in Iraklion.

    Posted by Roger Adams | April 26, 2017, 11:48 am
  23. Patty, Roger, Roger, et al,
    I had been checking on IAS occaisionally for years but never (until the other day) commented. This is amazing,that I learned of several of you there at the same time. How bout these: Barbara Tillis; Diane Sparks and SSgt Sparks; Agapi Mandilaky; Roger Coburn; Willie Moffett; Floyd Connerly; Angel R Acosta. I recall Lion Square, Glass House Resturant…Sunday promenade Iraklion square…all great times and even better memories.

    Posted by Bob Urey | April 29, 2017, 11:19 am
  24. Bob, I had an email address for Barbara at one time a few years ago. But apparently when I changed computers, I lost some addresses – If I find it, is there an email address I can send it to for you? I have not seen Diane Sparks since the day before she got married in 1964 – the day after I got married to a military member. Her parents were stationed at Goodfellow AFB at that time. My husband and I spent 27 years in the AF and our youngest son spent 25. Neither ever got the opportunity to go to Crete. I would have loved to have gone back. Do you remember the Tysinger family? Heather Tysinger and I are in contact…she found me about 10 years ago and she and her hubby (prior military) have visited us a few times when they are down our way. It is so nice to hear from another person I remember from Crete!
    There is a site on Facebook for us – IRAKLION AIR STATION, CRETE. Why don’t you take a minute and look it up and join the site. There are a LOT of our time Crete residents on that site.

    Posted by Patty Martin Beech | April 30, 2017, 2:13 pm
  25. I was stationed at RAF Alconbury UK, and was notified of an assignment to Iraklion Air Station driving a right hand drive Mini Cooper from the U.K to Athens plus a ferry to Crete. My assignment became three years, married to Former Maria Margaritaki with a typical Greek wedding in my wife’s village, Martha (central Crete) past Akalahori. My wife still has family there and we hope to visit again soon and much longer time since my wife and I are both retired.

    Posted by Matt Pelletier | May 18, 2017, 8:13 pm
  26. I was born in 1966 and was put on a plane with my mom to meet my dad for the first time stationed in Crete. We lived there until 1969 I think. He remarried later in life and passed away two years ago. I know he played baseball over there in this time frame. The link above won’t let me see any pictures. I would love to look through pictures and see if he is in any of them. Or if you know, or anybody reading this knows anything about him. His name is Dan Hazelet. Thank you.

    Posted by James Hazelet | May 19, 2017, 7:19 pm
  27. Hi James, there is a very helpful Facebook group: Iraklion Air Station, Crete
    Ask to join–there are many photos on the group page plus a separate website one of the admins has built. They accept dependents (I am one).

    Posted by Cathy Speegle | May 19, 2017, 7:29 pm
  28. James,go to this site. someone might know your Dad. you will be able to view but not comment unless a member.tell Gary Mac I sent you the info and he will give you membership. Happy hunting.Harold Siverd 71-74 papoumac.shutterfly.com

    Posted by Harold SIVERD | May 20, 2017, 5:32 am
  29. I have some old photo’s of crete and was wondering if anyone is interested in them. I will send them to you and do not want them back. Please let me know. Thanks, Joe Filak

    Posted by Joseph Filak | June 20, 2017, 2:14 pm
  30. I would be happy to accept your photos and scan them and post them on the Iraklion Air State, Crete Facebook page for all to enjoy. That group may have an admin here, however, so I’ll certainly defer to someone else.

    Posted by Cathy Speegle | June 20, 2017, 3:14 pm
  31. Served on Crete as a 292 with Charlie Flight from 1958 to 1960. Guess not too many of us around these days as it seems everyone is from mid 60’s thru the 80’s on the web sites. I don’t do facebook so maybe i’m missing out but then again I sleep good at night. lol

    Posted by Charles Murphy | July 18, 2017, 4:37 pm
  32. Charles, I was on Charlie Flight 1959 to 1961. I roomed with Sid Snyder and was friends with Jerome Walters, Charles O’Keefe, and a 292 with the last name of Stewart and for the life of me cannot remember his first name. I was a member of the fast pitch softball team that won the region finals in Ankara and went on to play in the European finals at Torrejon AFB., Madrid, Spain. We lost to an Army team, but enjoyed the experience. After leaving IAS I was assigned to Lincoln AFB., Lincoln, NE., as a 709 with the 307th Bomb Wing, 371st Bomb Squadron. It is nice hearing from someone close to the same time frame as I at IAS, especially on Charlie Trick. Sincerely, Roger

    Posted by Roger Adams | July 18, 2017, 4:48 pm
  33. Roger, hello! I have a faint recollection of your name but I am not sure if we have met. I believe one of my last room mates was a Joe Green. I was good friends with Joe Sitterly and Bill Wanus. When I left I was re-assigned to L.G. Hanscom AFB in Mass. which was about 7 miles from home. Finished out my enlistment in early 62 and joined the Fed. Govt. as a Communications Officer, spent the next 17 years at various overseas posts, came back to Wash., D.C. and retired in ’89 from Uncle Sam. It was a good ride! Glad to see that there are still some of us from the late 50’s still around. by the way, the first watch commander I remember was a lt. McMillan from Casper Wyoming and I can’t remember the second one but can picture him. He had thinning red hair and smoked big cigars. He was a Captain. Do you remember a watch party on a Greek boat over to dragon island? Half the guys were hanging the rails on that short trip. I Have some pictures around of that and will post them if I find them.lol Which reminds me of a couple more names: Laird, Kowalski, Smith, Cocoran, Kessler, Tew, Pettingil. Lot of good times remembered!

    Posted by Charles Murphy | July 19, 2017, 10:13 am
  34. Patty,

    We were stationed the same time you were there. I hung around with Barb Tillis,Patty Arons, Mary Sherman, Myra, I remember Heather also. We were planning to go back to Crete this year but after viewing some of the videos of the base…I am not sure I want to see how much it has changed. I have such wonderful and beautiful memories of my time there. It would be nice to reconnect with anyone that was there during this time. If you have information you could share it would be great.

    Posted by Penny Talty Moore | July 19, 2017, 11:07 pm
  35. Penny – I remember you. I was one of the 7 high school students who stayed on the island instead of going to boarding school…the seven were – Bill and Mary Sherman, Heather and Brian Tysinger, me and my brother Gary Martin(we call him Bud) and Spike Leet – the base commander’s son. I dated Bill Sherman on and off while we were there – when he wasn’t dating Mara Baskette. I too have fabulous memories of our time on Crete. The only others I am in personal contact with from there are Heather Tysinger Allen and Nick Moran, who was a DJ on AFRTS. There is an Iraklion Air Station Facebook page you could join where people who have been stationed there post pics and stories and travel notes from their trips back to Crete. Thanks for responding to my post. 😀

    Posted by Patty Martin Beech | July 20, 2017, 3:26 pm
  36. Patty,

    I think I have been on the web site and have seen posted pictures of the base. It makes me sad to see the condition that it is in. I was glad to see that there was efforts to clean it up. I was in 7th and 8th grade at the time. I also dated Bill after Mara and when he broke up with Patti Aarons. I remember Spike. I hung around with his sister. It is nice to reconnect after all these years. It is still a strong memory even though at the time we thought 2 years was a long time I wish it was a longer time now. We had the roam of the island and it was such an adventure to explore. I loved the culture and even though I was very young at the time appreciated the beauty of it. Hopefully I might make it back this fall. It is nice to have someone that was there about the same time and remembers the people and places how they were. Please stay in touch!

    Posted by Penny Talty Moore | July 24, 2017, 2:01 pm
  37. I’m on Facebook…find me and send me a friend request. 😀

    Posted by Patty Martin Beech | July 24, 2017, 4:07 pm
  38. Patty

    Are you on Facebook as Patty Martin Beech or just Patty Beech? There are a couple Patty Beechs and I can’t tell from the descriptions if they are you. I’m on Facebook also as Penny Talty Moore. I graduated from Kecougtan High School and Kansas State University and currently live in Fremont OH.

    Posted by Penny Talty Moore | July 24, 2017, 10:33 pm

    Posted by Patty Martin Beech | July 25, 2017, 7:27 pm
  40. 6930th August 1960 to February 1962. Y202 analyst Baker flight. Room mates Dale Miller, Jack Hays, John Paul (Smiley) Miles and Hugh Blackerby.In touch now with Mel Cobb, Ed Mashman and Ellis Crabtree. If you know us, hit me. Thanks!

    Posted by Kent Barr | July 26, 2017, 4:57 pm
  41. My Time on Crete; Feb 1961 – Aug 1962. Was on Day Ops, but worked straight mids as 202. Many fond memories of the Greek Nationals as well as Active Duty Military. Was Back again 1980 – 1982 in Contracting by the gate – More fond memories. By then had 3 teenage daughters.

    Posted by Bob Urey | August 10, 2017, 6:26 pm
  42. I had many happy times with Barbara during my stay (1961-1962) Barbara was the sponsor of several exchange students, Rick Swartz, and others. Lost track of Barbara after I returned to the States. Do You Have any recent contacts?

    Posted by Bob Urey | August 10, 2017, 6:36 pm
  43. Harold Siverd, did you live in Malia with Nikki?
    And rode a motorcycle? Nikki was from Fort Bragg, CA?
    I was at the 6931st from Aug 1972 to Oct 1973, bought a Honda 500/4 while there, hit a taxi cab head on in Hersonnisos then missed my flight back to the states to get out, so there was a “last supper” the next night then flew back to the states and got out, then did another 40 years as a civil servant for the Air Force and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Danny.

    Posted by Danny Durkee | August 10, 2017, 10:54 pm
  44. Hey Danny, I was stationed at Crete during the same time as you. I was a security police that worked both the front gate and the gate at the compound. I also had a orange/white 350 Yamaha bike and a white vw bus with snoopy on the drivers door. Any memories?

    Posted by Robb Carpenter | August 11, 2017, 7:26 am
  45. Another 1959-1961 292, I left 6930th IAS in March 1961, and was reassigned to Headquarters, USAFSS 6900TH in San Antonio, where I met Angel Acosta, did not know him well. I was a buddy of David L. Marie, on Baker trick, and with Frank Freese, who was also on the Fast Pitch Team with Roger E. Adams. I was on Charlie trick lived two rooms down from Roger Adams, Sid Snyder (Ohio), and Richard Robillard. My room mates were Jim Joyner and Danny Ferris, I saw Jim Joyner a few years back, and I am still in contact with Roger Adams. I visited with Frank Freese a few years back while in NYC, we had lunch in Brooklyn. I found out that Hiliard Wayne Jordan was living near me in Florida; however, he passed away, before I could contact him, he and I were in basic tng and on Crete together, he was with the Motor Pool. Ken Pohl and Ron Hicks were also buddies. I also knew Fr. Rousis (spl), the
    Greek Catholic priest who ministered to the Catholics prior to a military chaplain being assigned in 1960. Roger Adams, if you read this God bless you. Memories I hold close. Crete 6930th was a wonderful experience. A funny incident occurred a few months back, my neighbor Elise and I were talking, and she told me her father was Greek and emigrated from Greece, her mother is Jewish, I asked where her father had lived, and she told me he was from Crete. Thanks for reading.

    Posted by Charles P. Keefe | August 11, 2017, 8:48 pm
  46. Charles, WOW! I admire your recall and memories of our days at IAS. All those you remember and even some you continue to keep up with. Thank you so much for your well wishes as I am doing pretty good. I wish I could remember the staff sergeant’s name who was the pitcher on our fast pitch softball team. With him and some timely hitting we won the European Regional championships in Adana Turkey and faired quite well in the European finals, but lost in the semi-finals at Torrejon AFB., Madrid, Spain. I cherish the year and one half on Crete and enjoyed all those I worked with on Charlie Flight. I liked you sharing about your neighbor Elise and that her father was from Crete. My dentist, Ken Frangadakis is greek and his wife was born in Knossos. A small world indeed. Best wishes to you and all of our fellow IAS colleagues.

    Posted by Roger Adams | August 12, 2017, 10:56 am
  47. My dad, Melvin Johns, and our family arrived in Crete in 1959 and left in 1962. We had previously been stationed in Riverside CA. and went on to Ft. Meade after Crete. My dad was an analyst for the NSA. I lost him in 1992 to diabetes.

    My mom Patricia taught the first catechism classes on base in Crete so Catholic children could receive their first communion and confession.

    Please let me know if you Remember us. Anita Johns

    Posted by ANITA JOHNS | September 1, 2017, 11:50 am

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