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James W Russell Jr


On 11 September 1944, 1st Lt. Russell had just destroyed an Fw 190 when another fighter hit him in the cockpit of his P-51 Mustang 44-14158 with a 20mm round which exploded in his cockpit and wounded him. Near Fulda, when his aircraft started to burn, 'I crash-landed in a field. I got about 150 ft from my kite and passed out', he said. 'I was picked up by a forest ranger ten minutes later.


Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 335th Fighter Squadron

    335th Fighter Squadron

    The 335th Fighter Squadron was the offspring of No. 121 (Eagle) Squadron RAF. Formed on 21 May 1941, No. 121 was the second of the three Eagle Squadrons composed of American volunteers flying out of England. They were known as the "Chiefs" and were...


  • 43-6959

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to return from Ramrod to Merseburg, section turned to engage 50+ enemy fighters, not seen after engagement, shot down near Wolfsbehringen. 11-Sep-44. Pilot Lt Paul S Iden Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 8985.

  • 44-13567

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. A/C shot down while strafing when section was bounced by 50+ Bf109’s and Fw190’s. A/C last seen just as the enemy aircraft attacked. Pilot Lt Bernard Rosenson Killed in Action KIA. MACR 8145.

  • 44-14158

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One-time personal aircraft of James Russell. ...

  • 44-14098

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

  • 44-13399

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Damaged 21-Jun-44 during "Frantic" mission whilst being flown by pilot Lt James W Russell Jr and abandoned in Russia. Salvaged in Russia 4-Jul-44.


  • 428

    21 June 1944
    Ruhland, Germany - The target, south of Berlin, bombed by 114 fortresses with an escort of 70 Mustangs went off as planned but not before the Germans destroyed 43 B-17's and damaged 26. Landed in Russia.

  • 8th Air Force 623FE

    11 September 1944

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...


Event Location Date
Born Bonham, TX, USA 30 December 1920

Born 30-Dec 1920 Bonham, TX.

Assigned Debden, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11, UK 4 April 1944 – 11 September 1944

Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. 2 x Victories.

Promoted Debden, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11, UK 22 May 1944

Promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

Sqn Asst Ops and Gunnery Officer Debden, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11, UK 14 July 1944

Designated Squadron Assistant Operations and Gunnery Officer.

Flight Commander B Flight Debden, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11, UK 14 August 1944

Designated Flight Commander B Flight.

Prisoner of War (POW) Zagan, Poland 11 September 1944 – 1945

Prisoner Of War POW.

Shot down Fulda, Germany 11 September 1944

Took 20mm cannon shell from Fw190 in cockpit, wounded, crash landed and captured.

E/A Destroyed Germany 11 September 1944

Fw190 destroyed.

Post War 1946 – 1973

Served in Korea and Vietnam.

1973 Retired from the USAF as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Died San Antonio, TX, USA 1 May 2005

Died 1-May-2005 San Antonio, TX.


Date Contributor Update
16 November 2016 14:27:27 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- MACR 8987 ;
- Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Date Contributor Update
09 March 2016 19:00:14 Al_Skiff Changes to mission associations

Date Contributor Update
09 March 2016 18:56:23 Al_Skiff Changes to suffix, highest rank, biography, awards, events, unit associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Date Contributor Update
26 April 2015 16:53:15 apollo11 Changes to biography

Personal research & 4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles' by Chris Bucholtz.

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2015 10:57:27 apollo11 Changes to highest rank, biography, events and place associations

Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:15:01 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 8987,  Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. IV by Bishop & Hey, p.30 / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list