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Robert Armstrong

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Lieutenant Colonel Robert “Bob” Armstrong, USAF (ret.) said of his United States Air Force career, “In early June 1942, I joined the US Army under a special program for students that had taken CPT courses and was called to active duty in February 1943. I was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and awarded the silver wings of a pilot on February 8, 1944. I was sent to a training base in Tennessee and became co-pilot for a B-17 crew. I was sent overseas in July 1944 and assigned to the 381st Heavy Bomber Group of the US 8th Army Air Force stationed in England. I flew my first mission on August 14th. The crew and I flew our fifth mission on August 27th, over Emden, Germany. The anti-aircraft fire damaged the plane and as a result the pilot and a gunner were seriously hurt. I took over the controls of the B-17 plane and successfully returned to base in England. This would be my second landing under extremely difficult conditions, since the B-17 no longer had rudders or brakes. I was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross for safely returning the plane back to base and as a result later I was rated a B-17 pilot. I took over command of the crew and flew 32 bombing missions over Germany. After completing my bombing tour I was sent to the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron. I was put in charge of six B-17s carrying air-borne lifeboats. The European War ended in May 1945 and the 5th ERS returned to the US. While awaiting orders to proceed to the Pacific Theater WWII ended. I was discharged from active duty in early October 1945.” Lieutenant Colonel Robert Armstrong is the author of Friendly and Enemy Skies.

The MOAA said of Friendly and Enemy Skies, “This memoir is based on Armstrong’s Combat Diary as a B-17 bomber pilot with the U.S. 8th Army Air Force during WWII. Flying out of England, he flew 32 combat missions over Germany and German occupied territory. Each mission is described along with articles about the same mission taken from the military newspaper “Stars and Stripes.”

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