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24 May 1945 | Tokyo Bay, Japan
Born Richard C. Armstrong on 3 July 1920 at Riverside, California.
Enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 18 April 1939 at Kelly Field, Texas. He completed basic military and Photo Lab Technician training at Brooks and Lubbock Army Air Fields, Texas. While a photographer at Bryan Field, Texas he applied for the Aviation Cadet Program and entered pre-flight training at Beloit, Wisconsin. He was selected for Armament School and was reassigned to Lowry Field, Denver. Completed aerial gunnery training on the B-29 Remote Control Turret System. Underwent B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Herington Air Field, Kansas. In January 1945, he deployed to the Central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 500th Bombardment Group (VH), 881st Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands. During the night of 23-24 May 1945, he flew as an Aerial Gunner in the top turret of the Central Fire Control barber chair station aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Tail Code: Z-Square-7 (serial #42-63486). It was one of 520 aircraft launched in multi-wing group formations to bombard the urban-industrial area south of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan. After bombs away, the plane’s right wing was set afire by flak from anti-aircraft artillery. While departing the target area, the plane was hit with flak in the rear fuselage that destroyed all the flight controls including the intercom. During aircrew bail-out, the plane exploded in mid-air and fell into Tokyo Bay. He was declared KIA on 24 May 1945.