Note: It has recently come to the attention of the blog that the near-mythical Major Armstrong, of the famous Armstrong Pull-up Program, was a real historical figure, and of course, a Marine, as the legend claims. He died this summer in Texas from cancer. His career spanned from 1966 all the way until 1991, and the pull-up record was his at one time. The following is from the University of Texas NROTC alumni newsletter this fall:
Charles L. “Chuck” Armstrong (MOI ’80-’82)
Charles L. Armstrong, LTCOL USMC (Ret) passed away quietly in his sleep early on the morning of August 14, 2011 in his Trophy Club, TX home from recently diagnosed brain cancer. Chuck, a native Texan, graduated from High School in Paris, TX in 1966, where he was an All-State coronet player.
Upon graduation he enlisted in the Marine Corps, with the expressed intent of serving a combat tour in Vietnam. He eventually did that after graduating East Texas State University and receiving his commission as a 2ndLT. While studying, Armstrong managed and coached at the Paris Karate School, Texas Karate Institute (Dallas) and East Texas State University, where he was a nationally ranked competition fighter and Co-Captain of the school’s competition team. Choosing to remain in the Marine Corps until 1991, Chuck’s career involved him in four shooting wars across 22 foreign countries. He held the posts of Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) at UT, Head of Regular Marine Officer Procurement, U.S. Naval Attaché in El Salvador, G3 of Marine Forces Central Command in Riyadh, as well as others. He was Commanding Officer of units as large as 650 and Chief Operations Officer of units as large as 7,000 and received over 40 decorations, medals, and citations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and Purple Heart.
Following his retirement from the Marine Corps, LTCOL Armstrong completed the executive MBA program at SMU’s Cox School of Business and went on to work in various executive positions in companies ranging from start-ups to “Fortune 500” before making three returns to combat zones as a civilian. These included Egypt, Lebanon, and, most recently, the Anbar Province of Iraq. Throughout this period, he wrote dozens of articles published in books, periodicals, and professional journals, such as The Marine Corps Gazette, one of which won the Wilcox Award for professional writing. In recent years he enjoyed mentoring several military, retiring military, and graduating MBAs. In addition to competing in numerous karate tournaments, Chuck, a lifelong fitness enthusiast, has run marathons and on two occasions set the world record for the most pull-ups completed in a single session, performing 1,435 repetitions in under five hours during his second attempt. He was a certified parachutist and scuba diver, and an avid weight lifter. He was also fluent in Spanish and enjoyed using the language on a nearly daily basis for the latter twenty years of his life. Armstrong is survived by his wife Marlys, his son Jason, his sister Jane Harper, his wolf Ringo, and countless friends scattered in every corner of the world.