James Houston Armstrong was born in Wimauma, Florida, on June 13, 1913, son of Clem Glenn and Sadie may (Durham) Armstrong. He graduated from Plant City (Florida) High School and for three years attended the University of Florida at Gainesville. In August 1931, he enlisted as a Seaman Second Class in the US Naval Reserve and after elimination flight training was appointed an Aviation Cadet, USNR in October 1936. Completing flight training at the naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, he was designated Naval Aviator in October 1937 and commissioned Ensign, USNR, to date from December 1, that year. Advancing progressively in rank, he subsequently attained that of Captain, to date from July 1, 1956, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the Regular Navy on March 14, 1941.
After receiving his commission in 1937, he joined Patrol Squadron TWO and from July 1939 until October 1940 served with Patrol Squadron TWENTY-SIX. Completing a tour of shore duty as an Instructor at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, in April 1942, he reported as Structural and Flight Officer of Patrol Squadron THIRTY-FOUR. In June 1943, he became Officer in Charge of the Elizabeth City (North Carolina) Detachment of Headquarters Squadron FIVE, where he remained until October of that year, then had an assignment as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of Headquarters Squadron NINE. In March 1945, he assumed command of Headquarters Squadron, Fleet Air Wing THREE.
During June and July 1946, he attended the Gunnery Officers course at the Naval Receiving Station, Washington, DC, after which he had further instruction at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island. Completing the course there in June 1947, he then reported as Executive Officer of USS Onslow (AVP-48). From November 1947 until April 1950, he had duty in connection with aviation detail in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, after which he served as Navigator on board USS Coral Sea (CVB-43).
In July 1951, re reported as Executive Officer of the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, and in November 1953 was detached to serve in a similar capacity on board USS Midway (CVS-41). He was Executive Officer of Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit, Pacific, from January 1955 until April 1956, then became Commanding Officer of the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Fallon, Nevada. In May 1958, he assumed command of Airborne Early Warning Squadron FOURTEEN and from May 1959 until July 1960 was Commanding Officer of USS Jupiter (AVS-8). Detached from that aviation supply ship in July 1960, he next attended the National War College, Washington, DC, and in July 1961 reported as Commanding Officer of USS Antietam (CVS-36).
He became Senior Naval Aviator at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in January 1963 and served in that capacity until ordered detached in March 1966 for duty as Chief of Staff and Aide to the Chief of Naval Air Basic Training, headquartered at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida.
Captain Armstrong was the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; and the Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal.
He died January 9, 2008.