After graduating from Wake Forest University with a B.S. in 1923 and a L.L.B in 1925 Mr. Armstrong enlisted as an aviation cadet at Richmond Virginia. Earning his pilots wings in 1929 he served in a variety of positions including flying instruction, teaching new pilots the intricacies of aviation.
Early in 1942 Armstrong now a Lt. Col. was in England as the operations officer for the 8th Bomber Command. After promotion to Colonel this same year, Armstrong led the first daylight bombing raid by the USAAF over Axis held territory.
Early in 1943 Brigadier General Armstrong led his group in the first heavy bombing raid over Germany. His experiences with the B-17 bomber during this time became the basis for the movie and book TWELVE O’ClOCK HIGH which starred Gregory Peck as the General.
Retiring from active duty in July 1961, General Armstrong would soon lose both wife and son. Mrs. Armstrong whom the General always referred to affectionately as “Fluffy”
died in February 1962. His son Major Frank Armstrong III was killed in action while serving as a fighter pilot over Vietnam in October 1967.
Educated, brave, daring and romantic, in an era of exceptional men and extraordinary times, General Frank Armstrong’s life literally symbolized what it meant to be a hero.
Article by Kurt Ellis
German ME109 fighters flashing overhead, the rolling thunder of bombs detonating, staccato bursts of machine gun fire and sturdily built B-17’s limping back to base with heavy damage. These are only some of the sights and sounds that we would have witnessed if we could travel back in time to the air war over Europe.
Hobgood’s own General Frank Armstrong was there. The example General Armstrong provided, was most likely the cause of many a young boy looking at airplanes with stars in their eyes.