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DDG 59 Russell
"Strength in Freedom"

On December 12, 2001 the USS Russell rescued four B-1B crewmembers that had crashed in the Indian Ocean, roughly 100 miles north of Diego Garcia. At approximately 1:30 p.m. EST, USS Russell rescued four crewmembers from the ocean using the ship's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). USS Russell and U.S. military aircraft operating from Diego Garcia immediately responded to the scene where the B-1B was last seen on radar. At the time, USS Russell was operating in the Indian Ocean. USS Russell departed Pearl Harbor Oct. 25th for a six-month deployment.

The Russell departed on Jan. 29, 2000 for a six month deployment with the USS John C. Stennis, it returned on July 7, 2000.

The Russell got underway under its own power Nov. 23, 2000 for the first time in almost three months to conduct sea trials. The destroyer had been in Dry Dock 4 since the end of September as part of a periodic availability before beginning its training cycle once again. The sea trials are a vital part of the process. While the ship was dry, many modifications and improvements were made. Russell was the final ship of her class to have its two vapor compressor distiller units replaced with more efficient reverse osmosis units.

The ship was also outfitted with a "stern flap," a piece of metal that resembles a diving platform welded on to the stern. The flap is projected to pay for itself in less than two years due to the vast improvement it creates in fuel efficiency. In addition to new equipment, a great deal of work was done on existing systems. Fuel tanks were stripped and cleaned, countless spaces were given fresh coats of paint, and new AEGIS programs were installed. There were countless, smaller jobs that together, resulted in a complex package of projects that were completed on an abbreviated schedule.

Ship Shield and Crest

The dark blue and gold on the ship's shield, are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. Gold is emblematic of excellence and red denotes valor and sacrifice. The red wedge and the trident symbolize DDG 59's modern warfare capabilities: the Aegis and Vertical Launch Systems. The three tines represent submarine, surface and air warfare. The wedge superimposed on the wave alludes to Major General Russell's leadership and vision in the development of the Fleet Marine Force and amphibious doctrine. The two gauntlets symbolize the two RUSSELL's and highlight teamwork and cooperation. The wavy divisions of the shield represent a river and underscore Rear Admiral Russell's service in coastal and river campaigns during the Mexican War and Civil War. The sun and light blue reflect the tropical climate of the Gulf Coast and Caribbean, referring to both Russell's service in the Gulf of Mexico and, especially, Major General Russell's extended service in Haiti. The sun and light blue also highlight the south and west Pacific service of the first USS RUSSELL (DD 414) in World War II.

The sixteen-sided shield and star on the crest commemorate the first USS RUSSELL's sixteen battle stars earned during World War II. The gold star also denotes command and authority. The stylized Oriental dragon symbolizes strength, vigilance and service in the Orient and Pacific.

The crossed naval officer sword and Mameluke signify the special relationship between the Navy and Marine Corps in projecting power from the sea. The unique character of naval service is embodied in the Russell family where two distinguished officers, father and son, served their respective services and their country with honor on the land and sea.

John Henry Russell

The Russell is named for two figures in US military history.

Rear Admiral John Henry Russell was appointed a midshipman on 10th of September 1841. As a junior officer, he served in ships such as CYANE and UNITED STATES in the Pacific, ST. MARY'S in the Gulf of Mexico, the store ship RELIEF, the mail steamer GEORGIA, various other ships of the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, in VINCENNES as navigator when she made her cruise into the Arctic, and in the WABASH in the Mediterranean.

RADM Russell is most famous for his Civil War heroics in Pensacola Harbor. In command of four small boats, then LT Russell passed through the heavy pounding of shore batteries. After his own coxswain was shot, he grabbed the tiller of his boat and led 100 men to the Confederate Privateer JUDAH. He and his men then jumped to the deck of JUDAH and destroyed it by fire. For his actions he received the following commendation from the Secretary of the Navy:

" An expedition, executed in the face of an enemy so much superior in numbers, with such brilliancy gallantry and success, can not pass without the special recognition of the Department. To those who were engaged in it, not only the Department, but the whole country, it is indebted for one of the brightest pages in that has adorned our naval record during this rebellion. Indeed, it may be placed, without disparagements, side by side with the fairest that adorn our early naval history. "The expedition will give renown, not only to those who were immediately concerned in it, but to the Navy itself--it will inspire others in the service to emulation--its recital hereafter will thrill the heart with admiration. "The Department will cherish the recollection of the exploit, and desires you to express to the officers, seamen and marines who participated in it, its highest admiration of their conduct."

As a reward for this brilliant enterprise, LT Russell was given command of the gunboat KENNEBEC in which he rendered distinguished war service for eight months on the Mississippi River, especially in operations resulting in the passage of Farragut's fleet past Forts Jackson and St. Philip. He further participated in the first engagements at Grand Gulf, Port Houston, Baton Rouge and Vicksburg. The KENNEBEC was subsequently employed under Russell on blockade duty on the Gulf Coast. Following the KENNEBEC, he commanded the steamer PONTIAC with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, served on ordnance duty at Washington and commanded CYANE, the same ship on which he served as a midshipman.

After the Civil War, his duties were at the naval yards at Norfolk and Mare Island, and in command of the USS OSSIPEE on the pacific Coast. In September 1870, after the OSSIPEE rode out a hurricane, she went in search of the boats of the steamer CONTINENTAL which had foundered off the coast of lower California. The lives of a number of the CONTINENTAL crew were saved. Following the OSSIPEE, CAPT Russell commanded USS PLYMOUTH, North Atlantic Squadron and commanded USS POWATAN, special duty.

After serving several years at the Washington Navy Yard and at the Navy Department, RADM Russell served as Commandant of the Mare island Navy Yard from 1883 to 1886. He retired from active service on the 27th of August 1886 and died on the 1st of April, 1897.

Major General John Henry Russell was born in California on the 14th of November, 1872. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy by President Cleveland in May 1888 and graduated in June 1892. On July 1st, 1894, after two years at sea, he passed his final examinations and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

In 1896, he joined the USS MASSACHUSETTS, North Atlantic Squadron. During the Spanish-American War he served in MASSACHUSETTS in blockading operations around the West Indies and in the bombardment of Santiago, Cuba.

Duty in USS YOSEMITE was followed by assignments on Guam, and in command of the Marine Detachment, USS OREGON. His next shore duty was as an instructor at the school for young officers established at the Marine Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland. After duty at the Marine Barracks, Honolulu, T. H., he was ordered to command the Marines stationed at Camp Elliot, Panama Canal Zone.

In September 1908, he joined the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, for staff duty until 1910. It was during this tour of service that the "applicatory method" of instruction was put into effect.

He commanded the Marine Detachment, American Legation, Peking, China, from November 14th, 1910 to April 30th, 1913. The change in the Chinese government from an empire to a republic, which took place during this period, and the attendant disorders in and around Peking made this tour of duty particularly interesting and challenging.

After commanding various Marine Corps Regiments, in 1917 he was detached and ordered to the Republic of Haiti to command the Marine Brigade serving in that country. After showing superior leadership, in 1922 he was appointed American High Commissioner to Haiti with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary by the U.S. Senate. General Russell served with distinction in Haiti as High Commissioner until November 1930.

Upon his return to the United States he was assigned to duty as Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California, and was transferred to command the Marine Barracks Quantico, Virginia in December 1931. He was detailed to Assistant to the Major General Commandant at Headquarters Marine Corps in February 1933. General Russell was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps on the 1st of March, 1934; he remained on that duty until he reached the statutory age limit in November 1936.

While in service for the Corps and his country, Major General Russell was a major contributor to the development of the Fleet Marine Force and the doctrine that governs its load-out scheme, equipment, tactics, techniques and organization that proved decisive in World War II.

In addition to numerous letters of commendation during his long and varied career, General Russell was awarded the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Haitian Medaille Militaire, West Indies (Sampson) Medal, Spanish Campaign Medal, Expeditionary Medal with West Indies Clasp and the Haitian Campaign Medal.

General Russell died in Coronado, California the 6th of March, 1947. He was interred in the Arlington National Cemetery.

DD 414

RUSSELL (DD 414) was laid down 20 December 1937 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport news, VA. The ship was launched 8 December 1938 and sponsored by Mrs. Charles H. Marshall (nee Brooke Russell), granddaughter of Rear Admiral Russell for whom DD 414 was named. The ship was commissioned 3 November 1939, LCDR J.C. Pollock in command, two months after the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Her initial duty was the Neutrality Patrol in western Atlantic and Caribbean.

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, RUSSELL was ordered to the Pacific Fleet. On 1 February 1942, RUSSELL screened YORKTOWN (CV 5) as her planes raided Makin, Mili and Jaluit. After a short stay in Pearl Harbor, RUSSELL covered forces establishing an air base on Canton Island. RUSSELL next joined LEXINGTON (CV 2) and aided aircraft returning from bombing runs against newly established Japanese bases on the Huon Gulf.

After screening LEXINGTON in the ANZAC area throughout April, RUSSELL detached on 3 May to provide protection for the tanker NEOSHO during fueling operations with Task Force 11. RUSSELL joined Task Force 17 on 5 May. Two days later, RUSSELL participated in the Battle of Coral Sea, engaging numerous aircraft which threatened YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON. During the battle, LEXINGTON was badly damaged by torpedo plane and dive bomber attack and was lost; YORKTOWN was heavily damaged, but survived. RUSSELL rescued 170 survivors from LEXINGTON and then returned to Pearl Harbor for three days before joining Task force 16 and 17 to meet the enemy at Midway. On 4 June, she provided defense against an ongoing air attack on the patched-up YORKTOWN. YORKTOWN was eventually lost after a long pounding from torpedo planes; RUSSELL rescued 492 of YORKTOWN'S crew and returned to Pearl Harbor.

RUSSELL sortied again with Task Force 17 on 17 August 1942, screening HORNET (CV 8). On 6 September, while conducting a continuous submarine search. RUSSELL gained subsurface contact and dropped depth charges. An oil slick a mile long and half a mile wide appeared on the surface, and contact with the enemy submarine was lost.

Throughout the remainder of 1942, RUSSELL continued to operate in support of the Guadalcanal campaign. On 25 and 26 October 1942, while participating in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, RUSSELL again took part in carrier rescue operations, saving nearly 500 crew members from the stricken HORNET. After stopping in Noumea for repairs to her superstructure which was damaged during the daring rescue. RUSSELL escorted convoys to Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Australia. During December and throughout January 1943, she screened convoys to Guadalcanal and Tulagi, and then to Rennel. In February, she screened ENTERPRISE and then escorted convoys to Australia and back.

On 1 May 1943, RUSSELL set sail for Mare Island, California for overhaul. At the end of July, RUSSELL completed overhaul and steamed north to join forces staging for the "invasion" of Kiska. After Aleutian patrol duty and escort duty for landing craft and transports, she joined troop transports off the coast of Betio, Tarawa, screening heavy units shelling the shoreline. She provided gunfire support and screened transports as they filled with Marine casualties. RUSSELL next proceeded to the Marshall Islands and then to California. On 13 January, RUSSELL left California and escorted Task Group 53.5, stopped in Hawaii for training, and headed west. RUSSELL next conducted gunfire support missions and screened heavy units off the coast of Kwajalein, and afterwards returned to Pearl Harbor before being directed on to Puget Sound for repairs.

In March of 1944, with repairs complete, RUSSELL returned to Hawaii and, from there, served as escort for units proceeding to New Guinea where she rejoined Destroyer Squadron Two. Upon reporting, she commenced an extremely difficult five month LST escort duty off the navigationally demanding coast of new Guinea. On 27 May, RUSSELL shelled Padiator Island, patrolled between Pai and Pandiadori Islands, blasted targets on Biak, and was underway to return to Humboldt Bay. In June, RUSSELL provided cover for heavy units in operations at Biak and Wakde. She also participated in the bombardment of the Toem area, then resumed escort runs along the coast. After more gunfire support duty, RUSSELL participated in Operation "Globetrotter," the capture of Sansapor.

After duty in the Philippines, Talcloban, Alabat Point, San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, and New Guinea, RUSSELL departed for Aitape on 28 December to participate in the invasion of Luzon. On 7 January 1945, she joined three other destroyers in forming an interceptor force to destroy any enemy ship attempting a sortie against the convoy from Manila Bay. At 2230 the enemy destroyer HINOKI was detected and fired upon. Twenty minutes later, HINOKI sank.

On the 9th of January, RUSSELL assumed screening duties off the Lingayen Gulf. For nine long days she patrolled, illuminated, and fought off kamikazes. From the 18th to the 23rd, she escorted damaged ships back to Leyte and subsequently saw duty off Nasugbu point and Lingayen Gulf. RUSSELL returned to Leyte on the 2nd of February and proceeded to New Guinea and then to the Solomons. Next, RUSSELL sailed for Guadalcanal, arriving 15 February 1945 for Operation "Iceberg," the Okinawa offensive.

After service off of the Hagushi beaches and Kerama Retto, RUSSELL detached 28 May for the United States for overhaul. While in the shipyard in Seattle, the war ended in the Pacific. RUSSELL ended her unmatched, sustained service with a decommissioning service on the 15th of November 1945. Her arduous sea duty took its toll on the ship's condition and she was subsequently sold for scrap to National Metal & Steel Corp.

RUSSELL earned an extraordinary 16 battle stars for her service in World War II.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:54:41 ZULU