Last Known Activity
Richard C. Armstrong was born, supposedly in Texas, around 1921. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on April 18, 1939, serving at Kelly, Brooks, Lubbock, and Bryan Army Air Fields for approximately 5 years. It is said he often joked that it took him 5 years to get an assignment out of his native state. At only 23 years of age, he was reportedly one of the younger Master Sergeants in the Army Air Corps.
While serving at Bryan AAB, he was reclassified from Photo Laboratory Technician to Aviation Cadet status. Armstrong refused the appointment, stating he wanted to "stay an enlisted man." So, he was assigned to Aerial Gunnery School, probably in Arizona, and soon joined a B-29 crew bound for Saipan Island in the Mariannas.
He was assigned to the 881st Bomb Squadron of the 500th Bomb Group. He began flying missions against the Japanese home islands in 1944. On May 24, 1945, in a multi-plane raid on the Tokyo dock area, his aircraft was shot down by flak and crashed into Tokyo Bay. There was only one survivor.
After the war, a cemetery full of remains marked "Unknown" was discovered, and some of the remains were identified as this crew. All remains were buried in a single grave at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in the U.S. A plaque was placed above the grave.
MSgt Armstrong left a wife and two children, one son and one daughter.
MSgt Richard C. Armstrong was a member of the crew of B-29 # 42-63486, unnamed but identified by organizational code as "Z Square 7." Aircraft was lost on May 24, 1945.
The events of the mission and of the shoot-down are all posted, along with the entire crew roster on the profile (#130068) of Captain Eugene M. Thomas, Jr. and will not be repeated here.
Missing Air Crew Report 14488 applies.
Service photo source: