Retired Oct. 1, 1973. Died Oct. 4, 2004.
Lt. Gen. Austin J. Russell is assistant vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., with additional duty as senior Air Force member, Military Staff Committee, United Nations.
General Russell was born in 1915, in Monett, Mo., attended Monett High School and Monett Junior College, and for two years was an enlisted member of the Missouri National Guard. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1936, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree and commission as second lieutenant in June 1940.
After serving two years with U.S. Army Engineer battalions, General Russell entered pilot training and in December 1942 received his pilot wings. He spent the next year and a half with bomber units at Greenville, S.C., where he became commander of the 470th Bombardment Squadron and then deputy commander of the 334th Bombardment Group.
From May 1944 to November 1945 General Russell served in the China-Burma-India Theater as operations officer and later commander of the 1st Bombardment Group, Chinese-American Composite Wing, Fourteenth Air Force.
He returned to the United States and in January 1946 was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., where for two years he held several positions within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel. He next attended the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., and then in January 1949 was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., first as deputy director, and then as director of personnel.
In December 1952 General Russell assumed command of the 307th Bombardment Wing on Okinawa. Returning from overseas in late 1953, General Russell commanded SAC's 2d Bombardment Wing at Hunter Air Force Base, Ga., until August 1955. He then attended the National War College in Washington, D.C.
From July 1956 to July 1961, he served in command positions within SAC, commanding in succession the 4th Air Division, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and the 822d Air Division, Turner Air Force Base, Ga. In 1961 he returned to staff positions at Headquarters SAC for three years, first as director of personnel and later as director of operations.
In May 1964 General Russell became deputy commander of SAC's Eighth Air Force, Westover Air Force Base, Mass., and in 1965 was assigned as deputy commander of Fifteenth Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif. In 1966 he was assigned as Commander of SAC's Second Air Force with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
He assumed duties as deputy chief of staff for personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in August 1969.
General Russell became assistant vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, in August 1970, and has additional duties as senior Air Force member, military staff committee, United Nations.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with four oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is a command pilot and a veteran bomber pilot who has flown more than 7,700 hours including 459 combat hours in 54 missions over China and Korea.