First Lieutenant Robert W. Armenio
Award: Honoring Our Veterans
First Lieutenant Robert W. Armenio was a United States Marine Corps medevac helicopter pilot who earned 33 air medals during the Vietnam Conflict.
After completing a degree in business administration from Georgia Southern College, 1st Lt. Armenio graduated from Officers’ Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia, and enlisted in the Marines in 1967.
1st Lt. Armenio received the Purple Heart Medal in 1968 after being shot in the face in combat in Vietnam yet still continued to serve in the Marines after his recuperation. He courageously flew hundreds of rescue missions in combat zones throughout Vietnam transporting the wounded, those killed in action and the partial remains of many of his fellow servicemen and saving hundreds of lives.
In July 1969, Armenio had just been taken off of his squadron’s flight schedule because he was four days from finishing his tour of duty. While waiting to leave Vietnam, he volunteered to relieve an overworked pilot and fl y one last mission – an emergency medical evacuation of several injured U.S. servicemen and one injured North Vietnamese soldier. Sadly, he never returned. On the morning of July 27, 1969, 1st Lt. Armenio and his crew were shot down and killed by enemy fire.
In addition to receiving a second Purple Heart Medal for giving his life, Armenio also earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism in flight; two Bronze Stars with V for Valor; a Meritorious Unit Commendation; the NYS Conspicuous Service Cross; the National Defense Medal; the Republic of Vietnam Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Heroism Medal. Making the ultimate sacrifice for his brothers-in-arms; and for his country, 1st Lt. Robert W. Armenio is a true American hero.