Gerald F. Russell
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Gerald F. Russell
Gerald F. Russell
Birth nameGerald Russell
Nickname(s)"The Colonel"
Born(1916-05-01)May 1, 1916
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
DiedFebruary 24, 2014(2014-02-24) (aged 97)
State College, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1940-1968
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel

Gerald F. Russell was a Marine who served in World War II, including missions to Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He commanded one of the first units to land in Japan and provided protection for the US technical teams covering the atomic bomb site in Nagaskai. Col. Russell also witnessed the historical raising of the American flag on Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima.[1]

Early years

Russell was born May 1, 1916, in Providence, Rhode Island.[1]

Russell graduated from La Salle Academy in Providence where he was the National Schoolboy Miler winner in his senior year and awarded a Track scholarship to Boston College where he graduated in history in 1940. Russell was the first alternate for the 1940 US Olympic Team in the 800 meters.[2]


He held a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University and a Master in Education from American University.[3]

Military career

Russell later served as military representative to the 1968 US Olympic team and US Olympic site selection committee. He was the United States representative to the Conseil International du Sports Militaire in 1967. The Colonel was instrumental in starting and eventually coaching the United States Marine Corps (USMC) track team.[2]


Awards: Republic of Korea Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star with ``V'' for Valor, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart Medal with two gold stars, U.S. Presidential Citation with four stars, Korean Presidential Unit Citation with three stars, Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, the Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal with three stars, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Medal, World War II Japan Occupation Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal[1]

Later years

Following his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1968, Russell came to Penn State to begin a second career as a university administrator at the behest of then-provost, Ralph Rackley. Russell retired from Penn State in 1987 as associate dean of the College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.[4]

Russell served as a member of the Centre County United Way Board of Directors, chairman of the Centre County United Way Day of Caring, and was community volunteer and leader, including with the Pennsylvania Special Olympics, and Centre County Toys for Tots.[1]

Russell was known as "The Colonel."[5]

In 2011, Russell was the inaugural awardee for the LT Michael P Murphy Distinguished Citizen Award.[6]

Colonel Russell died February 24, 2014, at Mount Nittany Medical Center.[7]


Colonel Russell was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.[8]

The Marine Corps League's Nittany Leathernecks Detachment #302 honored Russell with a scholarship in his name. The Scholarship was established to provide post secondary education financial support for children and grandchildren of Centre County Servicemen and women who served their country since September 11, 2001.[9]

The Centre County United Way Day of Caring was renamed to the Colonel Russell Day of Caring.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d "Congressional Record, Volume 157 Issue 103 (Tuesday, July 12, 2011)". Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b "Obituary of Gerald Russell". Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Colby Symposium: Turning Point: 36 Days on Iwo Jima 1945 | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago". Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Former associate dean Col. Gerald Russell dead at 97 | Penn State University". Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Col. Gerald Russell, decorated Marine commander, Penn State leader and dedicated philanthropist dead at 97". centredaily. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Press Release announcing Col Russell as the inaugural awardee of the LT Michael P Murphy Distinguished Citizen Award" (PDF). Retrieved .
  7. ^ "State College, PA - American War Hero Passes Away, Colonel Gerald Russell Was Noted Community Leader -". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Col. Russell laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery". Centre Daily Times. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Centre Foundation". Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Col. Gerald Russell remembered for dedication to Day of Caring". Centre Daily Times. Retrieved .

Further reading

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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