Iowa State Memorial Union

Eugene Armstrong - 1st Lieutenant

Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Date Of Birth: : May 19, 1919
Date Of Death: Mar 25, 1944
War / Conflict: World War II
Hometown: Ames, Iowa
Gold Star Hall - Wall Location: West Wall (by Entrance Door)

Biography

First Lieutenant Eugene Mortimer Armstrong was born May 19, 1919 to William B. Armstrong and Ruth S. Gallup. He had a brother named Bruce. They lived in Ames, Iowa.

After graduating from Ames High School in 1936, Eugene entered Iowa State College. He participated in Varsity I club, the Cadet Officer's Association, Porpoise Club and the Rifle Team. He also worked as an advertiser for the Iowa State Daily student newspaper. He graduated with a History degree in 1940 and continued graduate work while in the Army reserve.

In May 1942, he went overseas, was promoted to first lieutenant and fought in the Tunsian Campaign. He served as pilot of an observation plane for field artillery.

Eugene died in Italy, over the beachhead of the Battle of Anzio on March 25, 1944, when his plane was shot down. He was posthumously awarded the Air Medal in 1944 for "meritorious achievement while participated in aerial flight, by performing thirty-five Field Artillery obsevation sorties against the enemy in Italy, during the period 3 January 1944 to March 21, 1944." His body was brought home to Ames in 1948 and buried at the Municipal Cemestery in Jefferson, Iowa.

Prior to this, in 1947, the barracks of the Third Reconnaissance Squadron of the 12th Cavalry and Third Armored Division were named after him in Budingen, Germany. After discovering this honor, his mother, Ruth, went to visit there in 1965...

"So many people confuse sentimentality with patriotism. They're not synonymous," she said.

 

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