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First Name: John

Last Name: Russell Jr.

Birthplace: Vallejo, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Mare Island, CA
Middle Name: Henry

Date of Birth: 14 November 1872

Date of Death: 06 March 1947

Rank: Major General

Years Served: 1892-1894 (USN); 1894-1936 (USMC)
John Henry Russell Jr.

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1892

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  Occupation of Haiti (1915 - 1934)
•  Occupation of Dominican Republic (1916 - 1924)


John Henry Russell Jr.
Major General, U.S. Marine Corps

John Henry Russell was born on 14 November 1872 in Vallejo, CA.

He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy by President Grover Cleveland in May 1888. He graduated from the Academy in June 1892 and, after two years at sea, he passed his final examinations and was transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant on 1 July 1894.

He attended the School of Application at the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC, and graduated in 1895. He spent another year at the School to conduct a class for non-commissioned officers. In 1896, he joined the USS Massachusetts, North Atlantic Squadron, serving on board until after the Spanish-American War. His Commanding Officer sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy commenting favorably on the conduct and performance of Russell's duty in action and recommending recognition by the Navy Department.

He next performed duty on Guam and upon his return to the U.S. was placed in charge of the School of Application for Officers at the Marine Barracks in Washington. Following this tour of duty and duty at several navy yards, he was assigned to command the Marine Detachment on USS Oregon, remaining on board from September 1902 to March 1904. His next shore duty was in command of the school for young officers established at the Marine Barracks at Annapolis, MD. In 1906, he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Naval Station, Honolulu, HI. Completing that duty, he was ordered to Camp Elliott, Panama Canal Zone, to command the Marines at that station.

He joined the Naval War College at Newport, RI, in September 1908 for duty as a member of the Staff of the college, remaining there until 1910. During this tour of service the "applicatory method" of instruction was put into effect.

He commanded the Marine Detachment, American Legation, in Peking, China, from 14 November 1910 to 30 April 1913. The Chinese government changed from an Empire to a Republic during this period and the attendant disorders in and around Peking made this tour of duty particularly interesting and difficult.

Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned duty in the Office of Naval Intelligence, Navy Department, where he served until 1917. However, he served a temporary tour of duty from 30 April-5 December 1914, Commanding the Second Battalion, Third Regiment, U. S. Marines at Vera Cruz, Mexico, during which he was detached to the U.S. Army.

In early March 1917, he assumed command of the Third Regiment with headquarters in Santo Domingo City, Dominican Republic, and within a short period of time he was detached and ordered to command the Fourth Regiment of Marines with headquarters at Santiago de los Caballeros, where he remained until October 1917. He was then ordered to the Republic of Haiti to command the Marine Brigade there. He served in that capacity until 7 December 1918.

His repeated requests for assignments in France were finally successful, but the delay in arrival of his relief in Haiti did not permit transfer from Port-au-Prince until after the Armistice was signed.

On arrival in Washington, he was placed in command of the "Planning Section" at Headquarters Marine Corps and served in that capacity until September 1919. He was then ordered to duty in Haiti again to command the First Brigade Marines, where he served until February 1922. At that time, upon the unanimous recommendation to the President by the U. S. Senate Committee that had been investigating affairs in Haiti, Russell was appointed American High Commissioner to Haiti with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary. Newly promoted to Brigadier General, Russell served with distinction in Haiti as High Commissioner until November 1930. 

After returning to the U.S., he was assigned as Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, CA, and was transferred to command the Marine Barracks, Quantico, VA, in December 1931. He was detailed to the Marine Corps in February 1933 and in September was promoted to Major General. On 1 March 1934, Russell was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps and remained on that duty until his retirement. 

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Haitian Medaille
West Indies (Sampson) Medal
Spanish Campaign Medal
Expeditionary Medal with West Indies Clasp
Haitian Campaign Medal.

Death and Burial

Major General John Henry Russell died on 6 March 1947 in Coronado, CA. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. His wife, Mable Howard Russell (22 December 1878 - 31 March 1967) is buried with him.

Honoree ID: 3031   Created by: MHOH




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