Arlington, VA - Decorated Vietnam War hero and Class of 1965 Garfield High School graduate Robert Earl Armstrong was buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery on April 25. Serving with the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division in 1969, then-Sergeant Armstrong distinguished himself in two separate incidents. In one – a massive ambush in the Mang Yang Valley – he stepped up to take command of his platoon after all officers and other NCOs were either killed or wounded. In recognition of his bravery and resourcefulness, the United States awarded him the second highest U.S. military honor for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross. In the other separate incident, near Polei Kleng, Armstrong’s extraordinary efforts to save other squad members earned him the third highest honor for valor, the Silver Star. His heroism also earned him the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, with silver cross, and a Purple Heart. Armstrong died in October 2013 in North Carolina.
After returning from Vietnam seriously wounded, this American hero took every opportunity to honor and help every veteran he encountered in the ensuing 43 years. He was instrumental in the building of the Mecklenburg County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was the author of the inscriptions on the face of that memorial. Despite challenging health issues over much of his adult life, Armstrong traveled to Washington, D.C. on Veterans Day and Memorial Day each year, to honor those fallen whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam War Wall on the Mall.
In addition to his widow Susan (Maher) Armstrong, sons Mark and Troy and their wives and children, and brother Jeffrey Armstrong, more than 40 other family and friends, former comrades, other veterans, and Garrettsville classmates attended the services at Arlington.