Remembering those who lost their lives in Israel's attack on the USS Liberty

Lieutenant Commander Philip McCutcheon Armstrong, July 4, 1929 - June 8, 1967

PHILIP McCUTCHEON ARMSTRONG  July 4, 1929 - June 8, 1967 Philip McCutcheon Armstrong July 4, 1929 - June 8, 1967

Philip McCutcheon Armstrong was a 1953 graduate of the United States Military Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

His service included tours in USS Betelgeuse AKA-260 and USS Liberty AGTR-5 as the ship's executive officer. He was killed in the Israeli attack on USS Liberty when he was hit with aircraft fire while attempting to jettison flaming drums of gasoline. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for this heroic act.

Navy Cross

Lieutenant Commander Philip Armstrong

Lieutenant Commander Armstrong was on the bridge when the first strafing attack occurred. A large fire erupted in the vicinity of two 55 gallon gasoline drums stored near the bridge and there was a grave danger that the drums might explode and cause a wide-spread uncontrollable conflagration. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he fearlessly exposed himself to overwhelmingly accurate rocket and machine gun fire while proceeding to jettison the gasoline drums and organize a party of men to extinguish the blazing lifeboats. At this time he received multiple injuries which proved to be fatal . . . . "


  • Memorial stone at Military & Space Museum, Frankenmuth, Michigan.

  • Memorial display highlighting Philp Armstrong, Frankenmuth, Michigan.

  • The USS Betelgeuse Association dedicated a memorial to Phil Armstrong at Greater Charleston (SC) Memorial Park on 24 or 25 April, 2009, consisting of an 8 foot Japanese Maple and plaque. The dedication was attended by members of the Armstrong family and representatives of the USS Liberty Veterans Association.

  • Memorial nameplates for Phil Armstrong and Steve Toth at Hall of Heroes, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.
  • Details

    LCDR Philip McCutcheon Armstrong, Jr., USN, 569825/1100
    Born 4 July 1929, Detroit, Michigan
    Active duty since 5 June 1953
    US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Class of 1953
    Wife: Marie Kearney "Weetie" Armstrong, Virginia Beach, VA
    Father: Philip M.C. Armstrong, Detroit, Michigan
    Mortally wounded near the bridge attempting to extinguish large fire
    Died about 4 hours later in battle dressing station
    Received Navy Cross for heroism during battle
    Buried: Arlington National Cemetery grave 2096X, Section 3
    His wife died in 1988 of cancer.
    Remembrance: Memorial display: Hall of Heroes, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
    Memorial display: Military and Space Museum,
    Frankenmuth, Michigan, dedicated November, 1990, contains
    his Navy Cross, uniform, story of attack, copy of Ennes' book.

    Israel-Palestine Timeline

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    History of the Israel Lobby

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    Buy it on Amazon, and visit the book website for reviews, more ordering options, and upcoming author events.

    Information largely missing from U.S. news reports. Read the Blog

    Inform Your Community
    Liberty booklets, brochures, and flyers

    Booklets, brochures, and more to educate your community about the USS Liberty


    Video: USS Liberty Memorial - June 8, 2009

    Interview with Captain Boston, the 1967 Chief Attorney in the Liberty Investigation

    Documentary: Dead in the Water

    Documentary: The Day Israel Attacked America

    Additional Resources

    Booklets, Flyers, & More on the USS Liberty

    An Evidentiary Study of the USS Liberty Attack

    Arlington National Cemetery: William Loren McGonagle

    Q & A – Commonly Asked Questions about the Attack on the USS Liberty

    Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry

    Affidavit – Counsel to the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation

    Book – Assault on the Liberty

    Book – Body of Secrets : Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency

    Documentary – Dead in the Water


    USS Liberty Memorial Website

    Honor Liberty Veterans

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