Steven Ray Armitstead

VMA(AW)-533, MAG-12, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
15 June 1944 - 03 December 1974
Los Angeles, California
Panel 29W Line 058



Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Steven Ray Armitstead

21 March 2000

I met 1stLt Steve Armitstead several times in November 1968 at the Cubi Point Naval Air Station, Republic of the Philippines. Steve was in the company of a very good friend of mine, Captain Chuck Finney . Both men had recently reported for duty with Marine Air Group 12's A-6A squadron, VMA(AW)-533, and were at Cubi Point for jungle survival training.

On 17 March 1969 Steve Armitstead and Chuck Finney were flying in an A-6A aircraft (BuNo 154160) on a night armed reconnaissance mission over Laos. Crewmen from other aircraft in the area observed an explosion in the vicinity of the target, then a second explosion nearby which was believed to be that of Finney's aircraft. They went down near the city of Muong Nong, located southwest of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), in Savannakhet Province, Laos. No parachutes were sighted and no emergency beepers were heard. Search and rescue efforts were terminated several days later when no signs of survivors were found.

Both men were listed as Missing in Action. On 03 December 1974 Steve's status was changed from MIA to "Killed in Action, Body not Recovered".

In 1999, a U.S. search team was permitted to examine the crash site. While 1stLt Armitstead's fate could not be proven, remains recovered from the site proved to be those of Captain Finney. On 17 March 2000, 31 years after his death, Major Charles E. Finney, United States Marine Corps, was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery.

While I welcome Chuck home, I cannot forget that Steve Armitstead remains in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Kenneth J. Davis
Commander, USN (Ret)

26 Apr 2006

In 1972 when I was 8 years old I was given a bracelet with 1stLt Steven R. Armitstead's name on it. I have worn it almost every day of my life since then. Recently it became old and broke in half. Today I received my new one in the mail. I shall continue to wear it and pray for his return home. Even though I might not know this fine man, or his family, I have felt a connection to him over the years.

Matt Dalbey

15 Jan 2007

You gave your all on my 30th birthday.
Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

I ride in your memory.

From a "Patriot Guard" rider.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Marine Air Group 12 Command Chronology for March 1969 contains the following entry:
"Captain Charles E. FINNEY 094692/7583 USMC and 1/Lt Steven R. ARMITSTEAD 094095/7511 USMCR both members of VMA(AW)-533 were declared missing in action when their A6A aircraft struck ground and exploded during night bombing mission."

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow A-6 aircrewman,
Ken Davis

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 Mar 2000
Last updated 01/27/2007