Born in 1922 in Evansville, Indiana, Armstrong was in school at Evansville College in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Soon he was flying B-24 bombers in missions over Germany and on D-Day and thereafter elsewhere over Europe. When the war ended, the war hero, entered Indiana University to finish his college education and played football on the 1945 Big Ten championship team. He was finishing up at Indiana when Veller hired him to come to FSU.
He started the baseball program from scratch. Although the City of Tallahassee’s Centennial Field, formerly a professional minor league facility was available occasionally for games, FSU had to have a place to practice and play when that venue was not available, so a baseball field had to be built. A site on FSU’s West Campus (land and facilities being temporarily utilized by the university which had been the site of the former World War II Dale Mabry Field air base) was chosen and work began. One of the first FSU ballplayers, Ron Nettles, who resides in Tallahassee, recalls the hard work working side by side with maintenance workers to build that field. He recalls “laying out the field and putting up the backstop” as well as “setting up bleachers.” A call went out to the student body for players to report and soon the team was practicing. A limited amount of money was made available for uniforms and some equipment but the players individually had to provide their own shoes and gloves. Armstrong, only a couple of years older than a number of players, as they were military veterans also, had to learn as he went. Some of the more knowledgeable players helped with the coaching of others. Soon they were playing. They won their first game against Mississippi College and went on to a 9 win and 8 loss first season, establishing the tradition that continues to exist in that FSU baseball has never had a losing season.