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Lieutenant Colonel C H Armstrong USAF Ret

Lieutenant Colonel Clement Harold Armstrong (USAF Ret), 87, Rawlings, Md., died Tuesday December 21, 2004 at Sacred Heart Hospital, Cumberland, Md.

Born June 6, 1917 in Alaska (Ft. Ashby), WV he was the son of the late Clement R. and Hazel Adams Armstrong. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, John, Robert Neil and Glenn. He graduated from Allegany High School in 1935 and was a life member of the Rawlings United Methodist Church, Rawlings.

He was drafted into the Army on October 2, 1941, discharged four days later and enlist in the Army Air Corp on Oct 8, 1941. While waiting for his appointment into the Cadet Program he attended the Aircraft Maintenance School at Wichita Falls, Texas. After graduating from the Cadets he attended various flying schools and became an instructor in the B-17 and later flew the B-29. He separated from active duty on October 17, 1945 but stayed active with the 375th Troop Carrier Reserve Wing Greater Pittsburgh Air Port, Pittsburgh, Pa. From October 1946 to October 1950 he worked as a flight instructor for Dave Baker, Baker’s Air Park, Burlington, WV. On October 15, 1950 the 375th Reserve Wing was recalled to active duty and he was stationed at Donaldson AFB, SC. He was stationed at the Adak Naval Station, Alaska from April 22, 1951 to April 22, 1952. On May 2, 1952 he married Martha Thrush, Burlington, WV. During the next 21 years he was stationed in Alabama, Panama Canal Zone, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, Philippine Islands, Vietnam and New Jersey. He spent 3 years in Vietnam. He retired from active service on July 1, 1973 with 32 years of service. He flew many of the Air Force planes including the B-17, B-29, C-47, C-82, C-54, Convair, T-33, C-130 and C-141.

After his retirement he and his son Bob operated the Armstrong Flying Service, providing pilot service for several companies in the Cumberland and Frostburg area. He also flew as a backup pilot for Kelly Springfield Tire Company and the Romney Flying Service in Romney, flying an Oak Wilt Survey. He also continued instructing students to fly.

As a hobby, he and his son Bob, restored four Antique Aircraft and have received many rewards at various Fly-In’s including the Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In, Oshkosh, WI. Antique Aircraft Association Fly-In, Blakesburg, Iowa and the Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In, Lakeland, Fla. He was inducted into the Experimental Aircraft Association Hall of Fame, Oshkosh, WI on October 31, 1997 and the OX-5 Hall of Fame, Hammonsport, New York on October 3, 1999.

He holds life membership in the Experimental Aircraft Association, Oshkosh, WI. and the Antique Aircraft Association, Blakesburg, Iowa. He also holds membership in the OX-5 Pioneers; Waco Historical Society; Vintage Aircraft Association; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Silver Wings Fraternity; Waco Association; American Aviation Historical Society; National Aeronca Association; Santa Ana Army Base Wing; Chapter 3, Antique Airplane Foundation; The Quiet Birdmen (QB’s); The United Flying Octogenarians; The Air Force Association; The Retired Officers Association; VFW Post 6775, McCoole, Soaring Society of America and the Cumberland Soaring Group. For many years he was a member of the local Chapter 426 Experimental Aircraft Association. He was also a Technical Counselor for the EAA Safety Program. He and his son Bob owned and operated their “High Rock Airfield”, Dawson.

He has received the following decorations during his 32 years of military service: Air Metal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Presidential Unit Citation; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Force Good Conduct Medal; American Defense Service Metal; American Campaign Metal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Metal; Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars; Air Force Service Award Ribbon with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters; Armed Forces Reserve Metal; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Martha Thrush Armstrong and their son Robert Keith Armstrong, Rawlings who was his best friend and flying partner. He is also survived by two children from a former marriage, a daughter, Bonnie Coile and husband West, Virginia and a son, Richard Armstrong and wife Diane, Oklahoma. Five grand children and five great grandchildren. He is also survived by three brothers, James M. and wife Catherine; Brownlee and wife Betti; Charles William and wife Emma Lee; and one sister, Lucille Stair and husband Earl, all of Cumberland. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Friends will be received at the Markwood Funeral Home, Mineral Street, Keyser, WV from 2 to 4 P.M. and 7 to 9 P.M. on Monday, December 27, 2004. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 at the Rawlings United Methodist Church, Rawlings, Md. with Rev. John Footen, Rev. Merle Correll, and Rev. Andy Droll officiating. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on February 9 2005.

Posted: 1/1/2005


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