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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Russ

Birthplace: Portland, OR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Dale

Date of Birth: 07 March 1943

Date of Death: 22 May 1997

Rank: General

Years Served: 1955-1991
Robert Dale Russ

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)


Robert Dale Russ
General, U.S. Air Force

Robert Dale Russ was born on 7 March 1943 in Portland, OR. He graduated from Wapato High School in Wapato, WA in 1951. In 1955, he received a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Washington State University (WSU). During his time at WSU, Russ was enrolled in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. In September 1955, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and entered active duty at Lackland Air Force Base, TX.

He began pilot training at Webb Air Force Base, TX, and, upon completion in October 1956, he attended F-84F gunnery school at Luke Air Force Base, AZ, and then F-100A gunnery school at Nellis Air Force Base, NV.

In May 1957, Russ was assigned to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, flying F-84F's and, later, F-101A's. In May 1960, he was transferred to the 437th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Oxnard Air Force Base, CA, where he flew F-101B's. He moved to Hamilton Air Force Base, CA, in May 1962, where he served as Chief of the Fighter Section, Directorate of Tactical Evaluation, 28th Air Division, until August 1964.

In 1965, Russ had two milestone events: He received an M.B.A. from The George Washington University and he graduated from the Air Command and Staff College. He was then assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command, CO, where he served as a fighter officer in the Directorate of Tactical Evaluation and later as aide to the Commander, Air Defense Command. From July 1967 to January 1968, Russ attended F-4 replacement training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ. He was then assigned to the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South Vietnam, where he flew 242 combat missions, of which 50 were over North Vietnam.

Upon his return to the U.S. in March 1969, he was a Plans Officer in the Fighter and Reconnaissance Branch of the Force Development Directorate, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC. In December 1970, he moved from the Air Staff to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served as Plans Officer for General Purpose Forces, J-5, Directorate of Plans, until July 1972. Russ graduated from the National War College in June 1973 and was assigned to the 68th Tactical Air Support Group, Shaw Air Force Base, SC, as Vice Commander. He held that position until becoming Deputy Commander for Operations of Shaw's 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing in January 1974.

Russ was Vice Commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC, from February 1974 until August 1975, when he became Wing Commander. In February 1977, he became Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans at Tactical Air Command Headquarters and, in July 1977, was named the command's Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, for Operations and Training. He assumed duties as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, for Control and Support in July 1978.

General Russ moved to Air Force Headquarters and was appointed Director of Operational Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition in November 1979. He was named Vice Commander of Tactical Air Command in October 1982 and in July 1983 he became Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff, Washington. In October 1983, he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition at Air Force Headquarters.

On 22 May 1985, Russ received the four-star rank of General and assumed duty as Commander of Tactical Air Command with headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, VA. Tactical Air Command comprises more than 112,000 active military and civilian personnel stationed at 300 separate locations in 20 different countries; it is also the gaining organization for 86,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel throughout the U.S. He remained in that command until his retirement.

General Russ retired from active duty on 15 May 1991. During his career, Russ became a Command Pilot with more than 5,700 flying hours.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with Two Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "Valor" device and Five Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with Two Oak Leaf Clusters
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with Five Service Stars
Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Short
Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Long
Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon
Order of National Security Merit
Gugseon Medal (Republic of Korea)
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal


On 20 April 1990, General Russ was awarded the Order of the Sword. This is an honor awarded within the U.S. Air Force and it is defined as a "special program where non-commissioned officers of a command recognize individuals they hold in high esteem and wish to honor. Those selected for induction are usually honored during a formal ceremony at a dining-in."

Death and Burial

General Robert Dale Russ died of cancer at the age of 64 on 22 May 1997. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, V, in Section 30.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Evelyn "Johnson" Russ; two sons, Randall Hayes and Robert William Russ; and one daughter Robin Dell Russ.

Honoree ID: 827   Created by: MHOH




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