JOHN W ARMSTRONG
VIEW ALL PHOTOS (2)
HONORED ON PANEL 29E, LINE 55 OF THE WALL

JOHN WILLIAM ARMSTRONG

WALL NAME

JOHN W ARMSTRONG

PANEL / LINE

29E/55

DATE OF BIRTH

12/05/1926

CASUALTY PROVINCE

LZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

11/09/1967

HOME OF RECORD

DALLAS

COUNTY OF RECORD

Dallas County

STATE

TX

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

COL

STATUS

MIA

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR JOHN WILLIAM ARMSTRONG
POSTED ON 2.11.1999
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

REMEMBRANCES OF TWO HEROIC AIR FORCE OFFICERS WHOSE NAMES SHALL LIVE FOREVER MORE

COLONEL

JOHN WILLIAM ARMSTRONG

AND

CAPTAIN

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

COLONEL

DURING THE PERIOD HE WAS MAINTAINED AS BEING

MISSING IN ACTION



YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
NOR SHALL YOU EVER BE



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POSTED ON 1.19.1999
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

DEDICATED TO A TRUE MILITARY OFFICER

COLONEL 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.
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