RUSSELL, ROSS O., Second Lieutenant, # 0-778958, USAAF
Ross O. Russell was born on 12 June 1916 in Hurst, Illinois, to Ross Otto Russell (1881-1926) and Cora Annie (Silveria) Russell (1886-1918) (married in 1902, Williamson, IL). Sibling were Hughie Russell (1903- ), Rayburn C. Russell (1905-1973), Clyde Russell (1907-1929), Ruby Marie (Russell) Austin (1911-1994). In the 1930 census, he resided with his brother, Rayburn, and Rayburn’s family.
He registered for the WWII draft on 16 October 1940, employed by Gene Lee, resided in rural Chelan, Chelan Co., Washington, and described himself as 5’11”, 165 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced school, was multi-engine rated, and was assigned to fly the Douglas C-47 Skytrain. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 22 April 1945 a C-47A, “The Jerk,” # 43-15789, assigned 10th Air Force, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 9th Combat Cargo Squadron, Warazup, Burma, departed the airfield at Lashio, Burma, on an evacuation mission. At 0820 IST, the C-47 was about 10 miles from Lashio, Burma, on a course of 360°. The wreckage was found 10 miles from Lashio. The C-47 had crashed and burned. Eight bodies had been found and 6 identified as Chinese and the other 2 as Americans. The 3rd was not yet found and identification issues result in not knowing which American is missing. A crash investigation was begun 25 April 1945. The pilot flew into the mountain with power and on instruments. The C-47 hit with the right wing first and in a 3-4 degree bank. On 1st impact, he lost his right wing, propeller, and tail assembly. The fuselage continued further and inverted about 180 yards from the mountain top. It burned on impact and only covered about 30 square yards. After recovery, the indistinguishable remains of crewmen Albright, Russel, and Horner, were buried in a group ceremony on 23 August 1949 in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, Nebraska (Sec. F, Graves 1226-1227). A memorial marker was placed in the Cundiff Cemetery, Blairsville, Williamson Co., Illinois.
His brother, Rayburn C. Russell, born 30 September 1905, served in the U.S. Army from 5 November 1942 to 3 September 1945. He died 11 October 1973.