Final Mission of LTC John W. ArmstrongPosted on 8/28/15 - by email@example.comLTC John W. Armstrong, commander of the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Da Nang, South Vietnam, and Weapons System Officer CAPT Lance P. Sijan were tasked with a bombing mission in the Ho Chi Minh Trail area of Laos. The target was Ban Loboy Ford, and a second F-4C was along as wingman. Shortly before 9 PM, Armstrong rolled in on the target and released his ordnance. Almost immediately, the aircraft was engulfed in a ball of fire and entered a banking climb to about 10,000 feet before rolling to a near vertical plunge into the jungle below. Neither the Forward Air Controller nor Armstrong's wingman saw parachutes, but initiated search and rescue (SAR) at once. The SAR forces established contact with Sijan, who was badly hurt during his ejection and landing, but were unable to pick him up. SAR efforts continued the next day, but were called off when no further radio contact could be established with Sijan. No contact was made at any time with LTC John Armstrong. Both men were placed in MIA status. Although wounded and without food, water, or even his survival kit, Sijan managed to evade the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese forces for 46 days before being captured on Christmas Day 1967. By that time, he was emaciated and in extremely poor shape. Never the less, he managed to cold-cock his guard and escape, but was recaptured within hours. He was transported to a holding compound in Vinh, North Vietnam, where he was put into the care of other American POWs. After another trip to Hanoi, Sijan's body failed him and he died of wounds and exhaustion on 22 January 1968. His mental determination and physical stamina so impressed his fellow POWs that, upon their return, Sijan was nominated for and received the Medal of Honor. CAPT Sijan's remains were repatriated in 1974. [Taken from macvsog.cc]MORE
Dallas heroes always to be rememberedPosted on 1/30/15 - by firstname.lastname@example.orgDallas soldiers stood tall. You are with my brothers in Heaven.MORE
Love, Connie McWright
Col John W. Armstrong - USMA GraduatePosted on 7/18/14 - by kr MORE
Remembering An American HeroPosted on 10/26/13 - by Curt Carter email@example.comDear Colonel John William Armstrong, sirMORE
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
Never ForgottenPosted on 12/11/10 MORE
John Armstrong,A man I never met nor a man I'll ever forget.....Posted on 12/19/03 - by Cynthia Cleary firstname.lastname@example.orgI was only 11 years old when I took my babysitting money to buy two POW braclet's.I really didn't know what they were for back then. I understand now. MY THOUGHT'S AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU JOHN AND YOUR FAMILY!!! THEY MUST BE PROUD!!!!!MORE
Not ForgottenPosted on 2/9/03 - by Candace LokeyI have not forgotten you. I chair the Adoption Committee for The National League of Families of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia. We will always remember the 1,889 Americans still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and the thousands of others that lost their lives. We will not stop our efforts until all of you are home where you belong.MORE
We need to reach the next generation so that they will carry on when our generation is no longer able. To do so, we are attempting to locate photographs of all the missing. If you are reading this remembrance and have a photo and/or memory of this missing American that you would like to share for our project, please contact me at:
PO Box 206
Freeport, PA 16229
If you are not familiar with our organization, please visit our web site at :
ALWAYS REMEMBEREDPosted on 1/13/03 - by DIANNA CRUZI DIDN'T HAVE THE HONOR TO KNOW COL. JOHN ARMSTRONG IN PERSON, BUT I WEAR THE BRACELET THAT BEARS HIS NAME. I REMEMBER HIM DAILY AND THE SACRIFICE HE MADE FOR THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY AND FOR ALL WHO LIVE HERE, IN FREEDOM. I'M PROUD TO SHARE THE SAME HOME STATE AND A BIRTHDAY (DIFFERENT YEAR) ONE DAY APART. I ALWAYS FLY MY FLAGS IN HIS MEMORY. THANK YOU COL. JOHN. YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.MORE
To a true patriot and hero, an Air Force officer who examplified...THE CORPS! THE CORPS! THE CORPS!!!Posted on 11/15/00The Corps! Bareheaded, salute it! With eyes up, thanking our God, that we of the Corps are treading, where they of the Corps have trod! They are here, in ghostly assemblage! The MEN of the Corps long dead! And our hearts are standing ATTENTION! While we wait for their passing tread! We sons of today, we salute you! You sons of an earlier day! We follow, close order, behind you! Where you have pointed the way! The Long Gray Line of us stretches, through the years of a century told! And the last man feels to his marrow, the grip of your far-off hold! GRIP HANDS with us, now though we see not! Grip hands with us, strengthen our hearts, as the Long Line stiffens and straightens with the thrill that your presence imparts! Grip hands, though it be from the shadows! While we swear, as you did of yore! Or living or dying to honor...THE CORPS!!! AND THE CORPS!!! AND THE CORPS!!!!! We salute you, Sir! Your devotion to DUTY...HONOR...COUNTRY...will never, I say again, will NEVER be extinguished from our minds!!!!!!!!!!MORE
If I should die...remembrances for COL. John William Armstrong, USAF...a hero from J.R.'s home town!!!!Posted on 11/15/00If I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.MORE
REMEMBRANCES OF TWO HEROIC AIR FORCE OFFICERS WHOSE NAMES SHALL LIVE FOREVER MOREPosted on 2/11/99 - by CLAY MARSTON email@example.comCOLONELMORE
JOHN WILLIAM ARMSTRONG
LANCE PETER SIJAN
ON NOVEMBER 9, 1967
CAPTAIN SIJAN WAS THE PILOT, AND
COLONEL ARMSTRONG THE BOMBARDIER / NAVIGATOR
OF AN F4C PHANTOM FIGHTER / BOMBER SENT OUT
ON A MISSION OVER LAOS AND WERE FLYING LOW
OVER THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL WHEN, AT ABOUT
2100 HRS, THEIR AIRCRAFT WAS HIT BY A SURFACE-
TO-AIR STRIKE MISSILE (SAM) AND CRASHED.
THESE TWO PILOTS WENT DOWN NEAR THE FAMED
MU GIA PASS, A PASS IN THE MOUNTAINOUS BORDER
REGION OF LAOS AND VIETNAM. IT WAS NOT UNTIL
NEARLY SIX YEARS LATER THAT IT WAS LEARNED
WHAT HAPPENED TO BOTH OF THEM AS THEY WERE
ORGINALLY CLASSIFIED AS BEING
MISSING IN ACTION.
CAPTAIN SIJAN EVADED CAPTURE FOR NEARLY SIX
WEEKS. DURING THIS TIME, HE WAS SERIOUSLY
INJURED AND SUFFERED FROM SHOCK AND EXTREME
WEIGHT LOSS DUE TO LACK OF FOOD. THE EXTREMELY
RUGGED TERRAIN WAS SOMETIMES ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE,
BUT HE CONTINUED TO TRY TO REACH FRIENDLY FORCES.
UPON BEING CAPTURED BY NORTH VIETNAMESE FORCES,
SIJAN WAS TAKEN TO A HOLDING POINT FOR
SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER TO A PRISONER OF WAR CAMP.
IN HIS EMACIATED AND CRIPPLED CONDITION, HE
OVERPOWERED ONE OF HIS GUARDS AND CRAWLED
INTO THE JUNGLE, ONLY TO BE RECAPTURED AFTER
SEVERAL HOURS. HE WAS THEN TRANSFERRED TO
ANOTHER PRISON CAMP WHERE HE WAS KEPT IN
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND INTERROGATED AT LENGTH.
DURING THIS INTERROGATION HE WAS SEVERELY
TORTURED, YET DID NOT REVEAL ANY INFORMATION.
SIJAN LAPSED INTO DELIRIUM AND WAS PLACED INTO
THE CARE OF ANOTHER AMERICAN POW. DURING
INTERMITTENT PERIODS OF CONSCIOUSNESS UNTIL
HIS DEATH HE NEVER COMPLAINED OF HIS PHYSICAL
CONDITION, AND ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS KEPT
TALKING ABOUT FURTHER ESCAPE ATTEMPTS. HE WAS
BARELY ALIVE, YET CONTINUED TO FIGHT.
DURING THE PERIOD HE WAS CARED FOR, HE ALSO
TOLD THE STORY OF HIS SHOOTDOWN AND EVASION
TO OTHER AMERICANS. AFTER THEIR RELEASE HIS
INCREDIBLE STORY WAS TOLD IN THE BOOK,
"INTO THE MOUTH OF THE CAT" AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN
BY MALCOLM McCONNELL FROM STORIES BROUGHT BACK
BY THE RETURNING AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR.
SIJAN RELATED TO FELLOW POWs THAT THE AIRCRAFT
HAD CLIMBED TO APPROXIMATELY 10000 FEET AFTER
BEING STRUCK. SIJAN BAILED OUT, BUT WAS
UNABLE TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO COLONEL ARMSTRONG
BECAUSE OF THE DARKNESS.
IN 1977, A PATHET LAO DEFECTOR, WHO CLAIMED TO BE A
PRISON CAMP GUARD, STATED HE HAD BEEN GUARDING
SEVERAL AMERICANS. ACCORDING TO HIS REPORT,
ONE WAS NAMED "ARMSTRONG". THERE ARE ONLY TWO
AMERICANS LISTED AS MISSING IN ACTION WITH THE
LAST NAME OF ARMSTRONG, AND THERE IS LITTLE
QUESTION THAT THE OTHER ONE WAS FRANK ALTON
ARMSTRONG III, WHO DIED AT THE TIME OF HIS CRASH.
THE DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, HOWEVER, PLACES
NO VALIDITY IN THIS SIGHTING REPORT.
SIJAN WAS FINALLY REMOVED FROM THE CARE OF
OTHER POWs WHO WERE TOLD THAT HE WAS BEING
TAKEN TO A HOSPITAL. THEY NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN.
HIS REMAINS WERE RETURNED TO THE US ON 3-13-1974.
IN THE EARLY 1980'S, LTC JAMES "BO" GRITZ
CONDUCTED A NUMBER OF MISSIONS INTO LAOS
ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN POSITIVE PROOF OF LIVE
POWs THERE, OR EVEN BETTER, TO SECURE THE
RELEASE OF AT LEAST ONE LIVE POW / MIA.
ALTHOUGH GRITZ FAILED TO FREE ANYONE, HE DID
RETURN WITH A WEALTH OF INFORMATION ON AMERICANS.
ONE THING RECOVERED WAS THE UNITED STATES AIR
FORCE ACADEMY RING FOR THE CLASS OF 1965,
INSCRIBED WITH THE NAME "LANCE PETER SIJAN",
WHICH WAS RETURNED TO HIS FAMILY IN WISCONSIN.
LANCE SIJAN WAS CAPTURED BY THE NORTH VIETNAMESE.
IT IS THEORIZED THAT SINCE THE PATHET LAO ALSO
OPERATED THROUGHOUT LAOS, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT
COLONEL ARMSTRONG, IF HE WAS CAPTURED, MAY
HAVE BEEN TAKEN PRISONER BY THE PATHET LAO.
NEARLY 600 AMERICANS LOST IN LAOS DISAPPEARED
AND NOT ONE HELD BY THE PATHET LAO EVER CAME HOME.
LANCE PETER SIJAN
WAS A GRADUATE OF THE
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY
AT COLORADO SPRINGS
IN THE CLASS OF 1965
HE WAS PROMOTED TO THE RANK OF CAPTAIN
DURING HIS TIME IN CAPTIVITY, AND WAS AWARDED
- THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR -
FOR HIS EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM DURING HIS
EVASION AND CAPTIVITY. HE BECAME LEGENDARY
IN HIS ESCAPE ATTEMPTS AND ENDURANCE, EVEN
TO HIS NORTH VIETNAMESE CAPTORS.
JOHN WILLIAM ARMSTRONG
WAS A GRADUATE OF THE
UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
IN THE CLASS OF 1949.
AND WAS PROMOTED TO THE RANK OF
DURING THE PERIOD HE WAS MAINTAINED AS BEING
MISSING IN ACTION
YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
NOR SHALL YOU EVER BE
DEDICATED TO A TRUE MILITARY OFFICERPosted on 1/19/99 - by CLAY MARSTON firstname.lastname@example.orgCOLONEL JOHN WILLIAM ARMSTRONG WAS A DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE OF THE USMA IN THE CLASS OF 1949. HE ORIGINALLY WAS LISTED AS MIA ON 11-9-1967 AND WAS OFFICIALLY DECLARED AS DECEASED ON 6-7-1974. DURING HIS CAREER IN THE USAF HE WAS THE RECIPIENT OF THE FOLLOWING DECORATIONS - DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS - AIR MEDAL (5) - THE PURPLE HEART.MORE
The Wall of Faces
Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.
All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.