QUINCY, Mass. – Army Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, presented the Commander’s Award for Public Service to President Emeritus, United Service Organization (USO) of New England, Richard D. Armstrong at his home in Quincy, Mass., Dec. 17, 2009.
Armstrong received the award for outstanding service as a civilian and staunch supporter of the members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and their families.
The Commander’s Award for Public Service is given to recognize service or achievements that contribute significantly to the accomplishment of the mission of an Army activity, command or staff agency.
Carter said, “Notwithstanding Richard Armstrong’s many accomplishments in labor and employment law as well as numerous commitments to a number of charitable organizations such as Catholic Charities of Boston and the Labor Center for example, he answered the call in word and deed in his selfless and untiring dedication of volunteer service to the USO of New England. He provided not only countless hours of pro bono legal expertise but also stepped up during a challenging period to provide extraordinary leadership as the organization’s president. Richard could always be counted on to lead the way for USO’s strong and meaningful support to our troops and their families and it was for all these reasons and more that I fervently believed that he was a most deserving candidate for the esteemed Commander’s Award for Public Service.”
Armstrong has worked for the USO since 1990 in various leadership positions within the organization and became the President Emeritus in 2009.
Before the United States entered World War II, the USO has been the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military. In times of peace and war, the USO has consistently delivered its special brand of comfort, morale and recreational services to the military.
Over the last eight years the National Guard has experienced a high operational tempo and many Guard members have deployed overseas. Consequently, many Guard members have been in contact with the USO while seeking a reprieve from their daily life at a USO show or enjoying the comfort of drinking a soda and watching a movie at a USO club.
As a member of the organization Armstrong’s work has had a significant impact on providing comfort to service members and Soldiers.
The presentation was held at Armstrong’s home in Quincy and was attended by his family and friends. Commenting on the award Armstrong’s elder sister, Patricia Armstrong said, “I think it’s quite an honor. My brother does a lot of good things for a lot of good people. I’m glad that he’s being acknowledged,” she said.
Armstrong’s sister, Kathleen Armstrong said, “It’s very impressive and Richard is truly honored to be recognized for all the work that he’s done it was a wonderful presentation and it’s very meaningful to Richard.”
Armstrong is no stranger to what the services of the USO mean to Soldiers; he served as a corpsman with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 187th Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve from Sept. 1968 to Sept. 1974. Later, after completing law school Armstrong served in the Judge Advocate General Detachment in Fort Meade, Md.
Carrying on in Armstrong’s footsteps John Mitchell, the current President, USO of New England and a friend of Armstrong said, “To have someone like Maj. Gen. Carter here spending specific time to honor him is overwhelming for me. Service is something you do because it’s right but having someone who recognizes you at one point in your life for it is wonderful.”
Commenting on the type of people who volunteer to serve others Mitchell, said, “I think that Richard is like many civilians that support the U.S. military and he’s a person that early in his life had a brief military career but he spent his adult life caring about the men and women that serve,” he said.