James "Moe" Armstrong

Bravo Company June 1963 - February 1965

Blumenthal Presents Five Medals, Three Ribbons To Veteran James "Moe" Armstrong

Friday, September 7, 2012

(West Haven, Conn.) – Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) presented five medals and three ribbons to U.S. Navy veteran James “Moe” Armstrong for his military service. Armstrong lives in West Haven, Conn. and works as a counselor for the VA Connecticut Healthcare System at the Errera Community Care Center. He is also the founder of Vet-to-Vet, a program where veterans mentor other veterans in wellness and recovery.

"Moe Armstrong is a courageous patriot whose service and sacrifice are profoundly inspiring and deserving of this high recognition by a grateful nation," Blumenthal said. "The bravery he displayed on July 14, 1965 – when he rescued an injured comrade under enemy fire and treated the Marine’s wounds after bringing him to safety – is particularly powerful.”

Blumenthal added, “His exemplary service has continued as he works to help his fellow veterans in Connecticut, and his model of caring and character should lead us all to aim higher and do better. I am honored to join in this recognition that is long overdue."

The highest medal Blumenthal presented to Armstrong was the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor Device – a medal the U.S. Navy veteran received for heroic achievement in combat. Blumenthal also presented the following medals and ribbons to Armstrong:

• Navy Good Conduct Medal
• National Defense Service Medal
• Vietnam Service Medal (With 2 Bronze Stars)
• Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
• Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon
• Combat Action Ribbon
• Vietnam Campaign Medal

In October of last year, Armstrong contacted Blumenthal’s office seeking assistance in obtaining medals and ribbons he was awarded but never received. Blumenthal’s office worked with the National Personal Records Center and the Department of the Navy to obtain them.

Below is an August 1968 citation from Lieutenant General V.H. Krulak about the bravery Armstrong displayed on July 14, 1965:

For heroic achievement while serving as a Corpsman with Company A, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, Third Marine Division near DaNang, Republic of Vietnam. During a reconnaissance patrol on 14 July 1965, Hospitalman Armstrong’s platoon was taken under fire by an insurgent communist (Vietcong) force. The initial burst of enemy fire wounded a member of the patrol and left him immobilized in a stream bed, exposed to the fire of the hostile forces. Completely disregarding his own safety, Hospitalman Armstrong fearlessly exposed himself to the enemy fire as he moved to the wounded Marine. Upon reaching him, he promptly moved him to safety and expertly treated his wounds. By his inspiring initiative and prompt, courageous actions, Hospitalman Armstrong undoubtedly saved the life of this Marine and upheld the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Hospitalman Armstrong is authorized to wear the Combat “V”.  This article is from Click here

I would like to become a member. I served with First Recon about two years.

I was a Corpsman My name is Moe Armstrong or James MArmstrong


July 22nd, 2021


I approved your membership in the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association today.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to welcome you aboard.

I hope that you find membership in the association rewarding and that it fulfills your expectations.

I hope that you make contact with members that knew you.

Semper Fi,

Floyd Ruggles

Membership Director & Webmaster

Senator Richard Blumenthal

from Connecticut

Company 1963-1965

James "Moe" Armstromg

Naval Corpsman



My Story

Moe Armstrong

My great Grandfather was Jewish, but he converted to Christianity, joined the Union army, and fought down the Mississippi. When he was discharged, he came back to Hannibal Missouri as a carpetbagger. He was kicked out of Hannibal and went to Keokuk. Iowa.  My mom, falls in love with a Hillbilly farmer in Seton Illinois, 40 miles across the river, where she is a school teacher and she married my dad. My dad served in the  during World War 2 and I was born in Keokuk Iowa in 1944 

 After World War 2, my parents returned to western Illinois and my father became baker.  I developed polio at age 5. I was very sick, spent six months in an iron lung and I was weakened from the polio from the 1st through the 7th grade.  Mom was very driven to fight communism, and to build me up.  So, she kept training me and I kept exercising.  I made 30 and 40 mile bicycle trips, which developed my legs, even though my upper body was weak.  Her whole dream was for me to be a military person, and attend a military academy.

 I became a football player.  I held the conference record on tackles as a pulling right guard and tackle.  Everyone told me that if I went into the military I would become a great football player.  So, I went into the Navy in (year?) to be a frogman, but that would have taken too long.  So people told me to become a medical corpsman in the navy, join the Marines and go into Marine Corps Recon.  I was accepted and went into1st Recon for two years, jumping off submarines, swimming to the beach, etc..

 Then around 1962 I got transferred overseas (before Vietnam) and I went to scuba school in the Philippines.  While I was in scuba school Vietnam “broke out.”  I was sent to Vietnam and was with 3rd Recon in Vietnam for almost a year.  I was decorated, given a Navy Commendation with a Combat B for saving a Marine under enemy fire.  I went on endless patrols and was on endless combat missions.  About two weeks before I was to be rotated out, probably my last patrol, I became mentally ill. I didn’t know what to do.  I was the medical corpsman.  I had all this anxiety.  I thought I could see into other peoples minds and was completely “freaked out.”  I had never been taught what mental illness was.  I could do leg wounds and shrapnel wounds, but did not know mental illness.  And, I had become mentally ill.

 I did anything I could to relax.  I got quiet.  I took hot showers.  But I kept having all this anxiety and kept crying.  I was crying day and night and had clinical levels of anxiety.  I did not know what to do.  Someone said I should go down and see a doctor.  I was immediately evacuated out of Vietnam, to the Oakland Navy Hospital.  I was in the hospital for three months and discharged without any follow up. 

 I went home to Illinois.  But, mom and dad didn’t want me around because I was too mentally ill, angry, anxious, and totally kinetic.  Because of my schizophrenia, brought about by PTSD, I continued to believe that I could see into people’s minds.

 I get on a plane and go to California, because it was the last place I was in the hospital and it seemed like a nice place. This was in May 1966, before hippies.  Next think you know, this whole hippy thing happens.  People don’t put me down because of my mental illness, they are tolerant, but they also get me drunk and high.  But, I was already totally out of my mind without getting drunk and high.  That was a disaster.

 I come to realize that I am too mentally ill to live in these urban areas, so I go to the mountains in New Mexico.  I proceed to live in the mountains for three years.  It is quiet, peaceful.  Even if I am psychotic, the world around me is so calm that I can live in it and I try to get settled in my head.  The wind in the trees seemed to almost eliminate the auditory hallucinations I experienced.  I still keep that white noise going today.  I am living in an Indian lodge that I built myself up in the mountains. 

 Filberto Ruiz and his team out of the New Mexico Veteran’s Service Commission Office track me down, find me in the mountains, start to get me veterans benefits, and start to work on getting me into town to live.  They get me a place in town.  I start to meet people and live in civilization.  

 I keep attempting to do something with my life, but I either fall apart, or get drunk and high and then fall apart.  It takes me almost ten years to get clean and sober.  I’m attempting jobs, working at music as a singer and in bands, and I am succeeding. I wind up with recording contracts at Warner Brothers and Polydor.   But, I keep breaking down psychiatrically. I keep unraveling.  I don’t know how to make the long trip to get into economic solvency.

 Around 1979, I stopped using dope and I start applying for educational benefits with the Veterans Administration.  I also start seeking help through the Vet Centers. I get turned down for vocational rehabilitation services three times during those years because of my mental illness.  In a way this was good because it forced me to develop the stability that I needed to get on with my life. In 1984 I got accepted to the College of Santa Fe.  I’m 40 years old and just starting college.  At the same time I was teaching other veterans how to succeed in school.

 Because the vocational rehabilitation staff would not agree to pay for studies in mental health, I had to study business.  I go from being a street person to taking mathematics and finance.  I graduated first in my class as an undergraduate.  I then went on to get Masters Degrees in Business and Human Resource Development.

 I tried to work in several different places, but because of my mental illness people were reluctant to give me a job.   I started to work in Mental Health in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1989 for Recreational Health and Occupational Center with Donald Naranjo.  My job was psychiatric social education,  helping people with serious and persistent psychiatric conditions develop self-esteem, enabling them to do day-to-day activities. 

 Donald Naranjo taught me the beginning skills of psychiatric rehabilitation, a practice I have come to believe in.  In 1993 I had an offer to move to Boston Ma and work with Vinfen Corporation a non-profit provider of mental health services in Boston.  I have been in Boston since that time, working for Vinfin.  In 1997, I started the Peer Educators project in Massachusetts. In 2002 I came back to my work with Mental Illness Anonymous and started “Vet to Vet” at the Errera  CCC, which was also a research project with the MIREC.

 Then in 2005, after publicity at a conference on Peer Support, in Memphis, Vet to Vet spread throughout the country.   Vet to Vet started at ECCC and this is the epicenter of the program. People come here to train in Vet to Vet.

 I’m an ex-recon guy that developed a mental illness and we’re getting through.

For more on this story:

Moe Armstrong

Me, then 1st Recon Battalion
Me, today....The tumors have reduced from 3.3 cm to 1.3 cm
Green drinks and Ozone oil and just drastic shift to health life style. There is swelling around the tumor. Probably causing the neurotoxicity. The tumor does not have blood inside, therefore, no cancer. The dizziness or loss of equilibrium might be chronic. My job through diet and exercise, to point of sweating, reduce the dizziness and keep myself stable Watch out for sugars, fats in food and don't become fatigued. The medical people are astounded. From stage four terminal cancer, the four others in my support are dead, until today.......Agent Orange bringing on cancers. Over radiated ......Over Cheomo-ed......I still have a long way to go. Thank you everyone out there. This photo was me then 1st Recon Battlion before Vietnam. The ultrasound findings are me, today.

Meet our newest Association member as of July 22nd, 2021

Me in the snow in the winter Galesburg, Illinois Out by McFall Monuments on the way to Monmuth, Illinois (Birth place of Wyatt Earp

With Haydee's daughter and Peter and Haydee with my Life Alert

Meet our newest Association member

Moe Armstrong

Senator John McCain & James "Moe" Armstrong

John and Moe


July 23rd, 2021



Hopefully this email finds you in good health and good spirits. I just want to let you know. You will be featured on the 1st Recon Battalion Association website this month. In one of my series called "Meet our newest Association member" this web page shouldn't be completed by 9pm this evening. Check out the webpage this evening or tomorrow let me know what you think. If you see anything I should change just let me know. If you want to add something you can always email me. Again I am pleased to have the opportunity to welcome you aboard. I hope that you find membership in the association rewarding and that it fulfills your expectations. This is your link to the web page: https://1streconbn.org/moe-armstrong.html

Semper Fi,
Floyd Ruggles
Membership Director & Webmaster

Moe Armstrong on Vet to Vet
 In 1997, I started the Peer Educators project in Massachusetts. In 2002 I came back to my work with Mental Illness Anonymous and started “Vet to Vet” at the Errera  CCC, which was also a research project with the MIREC. Then in 2005, after publicity at a conference on Peer Support, in Memphis, Vet to Vet spread throughout the country.   Vet to Vet started at ECCC and this is the epicenter of the program. People come here to train in Vet to Vet.
 I’m an ex-recon guy that developed a mental illness and we’re getting through.

Vet to Vet

Vet to Vet is a self-help program where veterans help other veterans live with mental illness, overcome substance abuse, and deal with other issues they face in their lives. Participants work every day towards lives that are stable, safe, and sober. The program provides a place for mutual self-help, support meetings, and incorporates practices from other mental health programs. Vet to Vet gives veterans their own forum, where they can talk together about the mental, health, emotional, and life issues they share. It is unique because these are veteran-run meetings and not attended by program staff.

For more about Vet to Vet, click here:

to Moe Armstrong, Sam Cochran, Pat Deegan
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to
an individual who has a long record of exemplary
contributions to the recovery, rehabilitation and/or
rights of New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.


Remembering when I had balance

1st Recon Battalion Association

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