Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Glenn Alan Russell, who served as an forward air controller and B-52 pilot during the Vietnam War.
After graduating college, Glenn Alan Russell joined the Air Force with the encouragement of a recruiter in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. He began his service in San Antonio, Texas.
Upon completing pilot training, Russell became a back-seat pilot on McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms. He then continued his training at Davis-Monthan and later served at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In 1968, Russell became a forward air controller in a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog in Southeast Asia. Prior to departing, he received his training for the Bird Dog at Hurlburt Field in Florida.
While serving in Southeast Asia, Russell was part of the 21st Tactical Automated Security System Squadron based out of Nha Trang, Vietnam. He flew as the forward air controller with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from the Landing Zone English in Bồng Sơn, Vietnam.
Russell completed another tour, flying B-52 missions in 1972 and 1973. He also flew six missions over Hanoi during Operation Linebacker II in late December 1972.
When he was not in the air, Russell enjoyed spending time with the unit’s radio operators and other pilots. While on leave overseas, he spent a week in Tokyo, Japan; a week in Bangkok, Thailand; and a week in Sydney, Australia.
Russell received a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with 16 oak leaf clusters during his service.
In June 1977, Russell honorably discharged from the Air Force at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. As a civilian, he worked in the airline industry for 25 years before retiring at age 60 due to Federal Aviation Administration requirements. He then worked part-time gathering data in stores for marketing research. Russell also flew part-time for a contract Air Force service spotting forest fires. He is a member of two Veterans’ organizations: Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association (known as the River Rats) and Arc Light – Young Tiger Association.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Katherine Berman
Editor: Jacob Reis and
Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues