I am fortunate enough to have been contacted by John's son, Tom, and Tom has shared some very good pictures and given me insight on what a great man his dad, John Armstrong, really was. He also cleared up a few questions I had about how John came to be POW/MIA and he corrected some information that my sources had been mistaken about. I thought I'd pass that information on to you so that you can see, just as I did, what a great person we lost when we lost John to the Vietnam War.
I bet you're wondering if John got that Garland school named after him, as Major General Payne requested. The answer is YES ! In April 1998, the Garland Board of Trustees voted to name the next elementary school built in Garland after John and John W. Armstrong Elementary School opened on August 19, 2002. The school became the 43rd elementary campus in the Garland Independent School District. The school contains approximately 81,700 square feet of space and was built for 866 students, kindergarten-5th grade. The school is one of the first built with the ability to electronically control all exterior doors for the building. Magnetic card “keys” allow staff to utilize any of the exterior entryways. Armstrong is designed to accommodate full-day kindergarten classes, with six kindergarten classrooms available. Each of these rooms are self-contained with their own restroom facilities. The cafetorium is designed to accommodate 312 students for dining and up to 707 people during assemblies and special programs. A computer laboratory located centrally in the building has 60 computers. Two large multi-purpose rooms serve as art and science laboratories.
If you'd like to see a few photos that Tom shared with me of his dad (John Armstrong) just click below on the links. I hope you have enjoyed reading about John as much as I have enjoyed learning more about the wonderful man he was. I'm so glad his son contacted me with the additional information !
NOTE: According to Tom, Ken Hughey was also shot down in Vietnam, (on his second tour), and was a captive for years. He was finally freed, returned to the United States, and is still alive and well in the USA.
I also got e-mail from a man named Tony H. (last name withheld out of respect for Tony) who served with John in Vietnam. I believe that Tony is the person who told Tom Armstrong about my tribute to his father and my continued efforts to see that his remains are returned to the US. I appreciate anyone who takes time to contact me with information and their comments about my adopted POW/MIA's, especially when they make statements like this ! Here's what he had to say:
Tony said: I served under John in the 480th as an F4C Crew Chief. I strapped John in on many occasions and I remember well the night that he and Lance were shot down. It affected all of us in the 480th deeply. It was not unusual to see Col. Armstrong at 3 AM on the flight line - just checking the troops and giving his support. Lance was close to us because of his age and we looked up to him, too, as being the youngest "front seater" around. We loved those guys and all the others that risked their lives every day "Up North." I still have a copy of a letter of commendation that was forwarded to me via Col. Armstrong that originated from Col. Maloy (366th CO). This was so long ago but so vivid and so tragic. I honor their memory and think of them often. That experience changed my life forever, few people are fortunate enough to be associated with men such as these.
The song you hear playing is called Drive. This original MIDI was created and sequenced by Keith Spillman at The Little Kitchen.