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Ernest E Russell

Military

Ernest Russell was born 16 April 1923 in Jackson, MS, the first son of Ernest and Mildred Green Russell. His family lived in many towns in Mississippi and Louisiana, mainly Hattiesburg and Bay St. Louis, MS.

Ernie signed up for the US Army Air Corps following the Japanese bombing of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the resulting US declaration of war on Japan. Ernie was accepted into the Army Air Corps Cadet Flying Training Program becoming a Private in the US Army.

Pre Flight, Primary, Basic and Advanced training took place at various locations in the southern US including Maxwell Field, Carlstrom Field, Marianna Army Air Force Base and Dalemabry Air Force Base where Ernie learnt to fly the Stearman PT-17, Vultee BT-13s and 15s, the North American AT-6 ( or "Harvard" ) and the Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt ( or "Jug" ).

Ernie's first flight was in 1942 in a Stearman PT-17,his first solo flight on 21 April 1942, and he was certified a pilot, awarded his silver wings and commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army Air Corps Reserve on 25 March 1943.

Ernie was posted to England in August 1943 arriving firstly at Atcham RTU (Replacement Training Unit) near Shrewsbury and subsequently,in early September, to the 84th Fighter Squadron based at Duxford, or as it was then known - Station 357 of the 78th Fighter Group in 8th Fighter Command.

The 84th, along with sister Fighter Squadrons the 82nd and 83rd were equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, and the 84th FS carried the same WZ markings as early RAF Spitfires flying from Duxford during the Battle of Britain. Ernie was assigned P-47 WZ-C, initially WZ-C P47C2RE then, from April 1944, the brand new WZ-C P47D22RE, flown until the end of his tour on 11 May 1944.

Missions flown from Station 357 were principally the provision of a fighter escort to bombers of 8th Bomber Command. Ernie's first combat mission however, flown on 9 October 1943, was a fighter sweep into northern France.

He first fired his guns in anger flying as "Blue 2" on 1 December 1943 at an ME 109 over Aachen in Germany. In total Ernie flew 64 combat missions from Duxford completing his 200 hour tour in fighters in the 8th Air Force.

After WWII Ernie held a number of flight instructor positions at several air bases in the US, eventually being released from the USAAF at the end of 1946 at the grand old age of 23!

He then returned to the Mississippi State University and the University of Tennessee to complete his formal education taking a Batchelor's degree, a Masters, a Doctor of Philosophy and finally becoming a Professor Emeritus of Geology.

Dr Ernest Russell, Lieutenant Colonel retired United States Air Force, died at home in the US on Sunday October 6 2013, survived by three sons, ten grandchildren and many family, friends and professional colleagues. His rich life is partially recounted in his book "A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII" ( Trafford Publishing, 23 August 2007 ), which covers the period of his life from Pearl Harbor until the end of WWII and which includes, at Chapter 10, a vivid account of "A day in the life of a fighter pilot at Duxford, England in WWII December 1943".

Service

Units served with

  • 495th Fighter Training Group

    495th Fighter Training Group

    Group
    The 495th Fighter Training Group, which operated in England from December 1943, trained P-47 Thunderbolt pilots. These pilots, who had received the basic training in the USA would be assigned to a training group to practise ETO operational procedures...

  • 78th Fighter Group

    78th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 78th Fighter Group was initially based at Goxhill but moved to Duxford in April 1943 and stayed there until October 1945. It flew all three of the USAAF's principal fighters. On D-Day every available Thunderbolt provided air cover to the Allied...

  • 84th Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

Associated Place

  • Atcham

    Military site : airfield
    Atcham, at some remove from other American Air Force bases in Shropshire, was used by USAAF to train pilots from June 1942, several months before the American Eagle Squadrons were combined to form the 4th Fighter Group. Pilots here were mainly trained...

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Jackson, MS, USA 16 April 1923

First son of Ernest and Mildred Green Russell.

Enlisted Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, USA 1 March 1942

Enlisted into the Army Air Corps Cadet Flying Training programme becoming a Private in the US Army

Crash landed 1 December 1943

Crash-landed at Sampson's Farm, Essex, in P-47 42-8551 December 1, 1943.

Buried Starkville, MS 39759, USA October 2013

Oddfellows Cemetery in Starkville,MS, USA alongside his wife Allison Evans Russell.

Died Starkville, MS 39759, USA 6 October 2013

Died in his home in the US and buried in the Oddfellows Cemetery in Starkville,MS.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 August 2017 07:02:29 fugari Changes to role
Sources

JCook Archives

Date Contributor Update
14 August 2017 07:01:59 fugari Changes to nickname and awards
Sources

JCook Archives

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2014 15:29:04 RAY57 Changes to events
Sources

A

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2014 15:27:54 RAY57 Changes to events
Sources

A

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2014 15:11:18 RAY57 Changes to events
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A

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2014 15:10:39 RAY57 Changes to events
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A

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2014 14:41:44 RAY57 Changes to events
Sources

Detail drawn from "A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII" by Ernest E .Russell

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2014 13:34:34 Carl Changes to place associations
Sources

Detail extracted from biography.

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2014 11:59:11 Carl Changes to events
Sources

Information extracted from biography

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 19:24:51 RAY57 Changes to nickname
Sources

Detail taken from the book "A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII " by Ernest E.Russell

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 19:22:20 RAY57 Changes to biography
Sources

Detail taken from the book "A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII" by Ernest E. Russell.

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 10:57:34 RAY57 Changes to biography
Sources

Detail from the book " A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII " by Ernest E. Russell.

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 10:50:57 RAY57 Changes to biography
Sources

Detail drawn from the book " A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII " by Ernest E. Russell.

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 10:48:05 RAY57 Changes to biography
Sources

Detail drawn from the book "A Fighter Pilot in WWII " by Ernest E. Russell.

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 10:45:35 RAY57 Changes to biography
Sources

Detail drawn from the book " A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII " by Ernest E. Russell , Trafford Publishing 23 August 2007.

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 09:37:33 RAY57 Changes to highest rank
Sources

Obituary message for Dr Ernest Russell

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2014 09:35:52 RAY57 Changes to nickname
Sources

Detail from "A Mississippi Fighter Pilot in WWII " by Ernest E. Russell , Trafford Publishing 23 August 2007 ,ASIN : B00LKMLB82 .

Date Contributor Update
05 October 2014 10:40:40 Carl Changes to events
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit roster on page 136 in 'Eagles of Duxford' book by Fry, Losses of Eighth and Ninth Air Forces Vol I by Bishop & Hey pp. 406

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:09:14 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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