2002 Regular Session
By: Representative Moody, Ford
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LIFE OF WORLD WAR II VETERAN, MR. EDDIE RUSSELL, AND EXPRESSING DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS UPON HIS PASSING.
WHEREAS, Mr. Eddie Russell departed this life on February 4, 2002, causing great sorrow and loss to his family and friends; and
WHEREAS, a native of Mt. Olive, Mississippi, Mr. Russell was the son of Mr. Edmond Russell and Mrs. Maggie Jane Dickson Russell, born April 15, 1920; and
WHEREAS, high school historian and all around athletic standout, Mr. Russell epitomized raw talent, lettering in three sports: football, where he served as cocaptain; basketball, serving as captain; and track; and
WHEREAS, spending his summers in Citizen's Military Training Camp and the coastal artillery batteries, Mr. Russell turned down numerous collegiate athletic scholarships, enlisting in 1940 in the United States Armed Forces in the fight against Hitler in World War II; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Russell, undergoing boot camp training at Barksdale, Louisiana, progressed through the Aircraft Armament and Radio Schools, which began a life-long love of flying; and
WHEREAS, as the highest ranking enlisted member and third among all cadets of the United State's first war-time pre-flight training class, Mr. Russell was selected as one of the first enlisted pilots, graduating from Ellington Field, Texas, on August 5, 1942, as staff sergeant pilot; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Russell, upon graduating, flew paratroop trainees at Pope Field, North Carolina, before being sent in February 1943 to North Africa to fly in supplies and evacuate the wounded; and
WHEREAS, in August 1943, Mr. Russell became the personal pilot to British Field Marshall, Viscount B.L. Montgomery, remaining with him throughout the Sicily campaign, and personally witnessing the German surrender; and
WHEREAS, having the privilege to fly notable war figures, including General Omar Bradley, and meeting Prime Minister Churchill and Generals Eisenhower and Patton, Mr. Russell was the first American awarded the Air Force Cross during World War II for skill and bravery in negotiating difficult flights at the front line; and
WHEREAS, after the war, Mr. Russell served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Pacific transport operations and served as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1947, with other decorations including the Bronze Star; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Russell, while serving as a captain with China National Aviation Corporation, met his beloved wife, Anita, in 1949, rescuing her as Shanghai fell, and marrying her on April 5, 1950, in Rome, Italy; and
WHEREAS, training pilots in Greenville, Mississippi, during the Korean War, Mr. Russell was sent to Indonesia as Flight Training Director from 1952 to 1955; and
WHEREAS, upon his return home, Mr. Russell became a corporate pilot in Jackson and Marks, Mississippi, working until 1971, when he retired with more than 19,000 flight hours; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Russell, a member of the Quiet Birdmen and the Flying Sergeants Association, was preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife, Anita, and his eight brothers and sisters; and
WHEREAS, the memories of Mr. Russell will continue to live on in the life of his survivors, including: daughter, Giselle Russell; son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Kay Russell; and grandson, Samuel; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature finds it most appropriate to pay special tribute to such an outstanding man as Mr. Eddie Russell, a man who dedicated his life to serving this nation and his family:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life of Mr. Eddie Russell, and express our deepest sympathy to his family and friends upon his passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Mr. Eddie Russell and the members of the Capitol Press Corps.