Retired March 1, 1981. Died Aug. 26, 1981.
Major General Len C. Russell is deputy inspector general for inspection and safety, and commander, Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif.
General Russell was born in 1929, in Mocks Creek, Mo., where he graduated from Mocks Creek High School in 1945. He attended Southwest Missouri State College, received a bachelor's degree in general education from the University of Omaha, Neb., in 1963 and graduated from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Va., in 1966.
He enlisted, in the Air Force in 1950 and, through the aviation cadet program, received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in August 1952. He then attended F-86 combat crew training and in December 1952 was assigned to the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Kimpo Air Base, Korea. He flew 81 combat missions in Korea and was credited with destroying a MiG-15.
General Russell returned to the United States and to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in January 1954 as an F-86 instructor pilot. During this assignment he attended Fighter-Weapons School at Nellis in 1955, and Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1956. In 1958 he became a project officer in the Training, Research and Development Division of the Fighter-Weapons School.
In January 1960 General Russell was transferred to Wheelus Air Base, Libya, where he served as a weapons instructor and liaison officer for U.S. Air Forces in Europe units temporarily deployed to Wheelus for weapons training. Upon completion of this assignment, he attended and graduated from the University of Omaha.
In July 1963 General Russell was assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where he served as wing weapons officer with the 4510th Combat Crew Training Wing and later as operations officer for the 4517th Combat Crew Training Squadron. In July 1965 he entered the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. In June 1966 General Russell joined the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and served as an action officer in the Tactical Requirements Division.
In August 1968 General Russell left for the Republic of Vietnam where he was an F-100 pilot with the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phan Rang Air Base. In March 1969 he assumed command of the 352nd Tactical Fighter Squadron. During his tour of duty in Southeast Asia he completed 258 combat missions. In September 1969 he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, as a policy officer with the Current Plans and Policy Branch, J-5.
In July 1971, General Russell was assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., where he served successively as assistant deputy commander for operations, deputy commander for operations, and vice commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing. In May 1973 he become wing commander.
In February 1974 General Russell joined the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., as director of fighter operations, becoming assistant deputy chief of staff for operations in September 1974 and the command's chief of staff in October 1976.
General Russell reported to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe in August 1977 and served as deputy chief of staff for plans until June 1979. He assumed his present position in July 1979.
He is a command pilot and has flown fighter aircraft ranging from the F-80 Shooting Star to the F-15 Eagle. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon.
He was promoted to major general July 1, 1977, with date of rank May 1, 1974.