Retired Sep. 1, 1958. Died Feb. 5, 1983.
Harry George Armstrong was born in DeSmet, S.D., in 1899 After attending the University of Minnesota he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and served with them from October 1918 to March 1919. He then entered the University of South Dakota, graduated in 1921, and four years later received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Louisville, Ky.
Appointed a first lieutenant in the Medical Corps Reserve that April, General Armstrong entered the School of Aviation Medicine at Brooks Field, Texas, that September. He was graduated in February 1930, commissioned a first lieutenant in the Regular Army Medical Corps, and assigned to Fort Sneering, Minnesota. From September to December 1930, General Armstrong studied at the Army Medical School, Washington, D.C., and graduated from the Medical Field Service School at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., four months later.
Attached to the Air Corps in April 1931, General Armstrong was assigned as assistant surgeon of the First Pursuit Group at Selfridges Field, Mich. Four years later he went to Wright Field, Ohio, to establish the Aero-Medical Laboratory, and served as its chief until July 1940. He received his master of science degree in medicine from the University of Cincinnati the same year, and a year later obtained his master of arts degree from the University of Toronto.
Going to London, England, in 1941, General Armstrong was assigned as military attache at the American Embassy until he returned to the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas, to establish a research laboratory, later redesignated the Research Section of the school. Returning to England in the summer of 1942, he was named assistant surgeon of the Eighth Air Force, stationed outside of London, and in January 1944, was appointed surgeon of the Eighth. Fifteen months later he became surgeon of the Air Division in the office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.), with headquarters in Berlin.
Returning to the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field in January 1946, General Armstrong was appointed assistant commandant and that July was named Commandant. In June 1949 he was assigned to Air Force headquarters at Washington, D.C., as Deputy Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force, and the following December was designated Surgeon General.
Early in July 1954, General Armstrong went to Weisbaden, Germany, as Surgeon of the United States Air Forces in Europe.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Order of the British Empire; and the French and Belgium Croix de Guerre with Palms. He is rated a flight surgeon.
General Armstrong was awarded the Wellcome Award in 1937, an annual award for the best medical military essay. In 1939 he was presented the Collier Award, given annually for the greatest achievement in Aviation, and the John Jeffries Award in 1941, awarded yearly for the greatest achievement in aviation medicine during the preceding year; both of which were given for his contribution to the general over-all safety of aviation and the protection of pilots in flight.
He is a fellow of the American Medical Association, Aero-Medical Association, Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, American College of Physicians, and the Royal Medical Society of London, England.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to captain (permanent) Dec. 15, 1932; to major (permanent) July 15, 1938, to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Feb. 1, 1942, to colonel (temporary) Aug. 28, 1942, to lieutenant colonel (permanent) July 15, 1946, to brigadier general (temporary) April 27, 1948, to major general (temporary) July 26, 1948, to colonel (permanent) Oct. 19, 1949, to brigadier general (permanent) Oct. 9, 1951.