Air Force Veteran Glenn Alan Russell is today's #VeteranOfTheDay.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Glenn Alan Russell, who served as an forward air controller and B-52 pilot during the Vietnam War.

After graduating college, Glenn Alan Russell joined the Air Force with the encouragement of a recruiter in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. He began his service in San Antonio, Texas.

Upon completing pilot training, Russell became a back-seat pilot on McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms. He then continued his training at Davis-Monthan and later served at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In 1968, Russell became a forward air controller in a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog in Southeast Asia. Prior to departing, he received his training for the Bird Dog at Hurlburt Field in Florida.

While serving in Southeast Asia, Russell was part of the 21st Tactical Automated Security System Squadron based out of Nha Trang, Vietnam. He flew as the forward air controller with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from the Landing Zone English in Bồng Sơn, Vietnam.

Russell completed another tour, flying B-52 missions in 1972 and 1973. He also flew six missions over Hanoi during Operation Linebacker II in late December 1972.

When he was not in the air, Russell enjoyed spending time with the unit’s radio operators and other pilots. While on leave overseas, he spent a week in Tokyo, Japan; a week in Bangkok, Thailand; and a week in Sydney, Australia.

Russell received a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with 16 oak leaf clusters during his service.

In June 1977, Russell honorably discharged from the Air Force at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. As a civilian, he worked in the airline industry for 25 years before retiring at age 60 due to Federal Aviation Administration requirements. He then worked part-time gathering data in stores for marketing research. Russell also flew part-time for a contract Air Force service spotting forest fires. He is a member of two Veterans’ organizations: Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association (known as the River Rats) and Arc Light – Young Tiger Association.

Thank you for your service!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at


Writer: Katherine Berman

Editor: Jacob Reis and Brooke Wolfenbarger

Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues

Graphic artist: Helena Strohmier

By VAntage Point Contributor

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Published on Aug. 8, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 147


  1. Senior Veterans Care Network August 9, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you for your servie Glenn Alan Russell.

  2. Daniel Kibbee August 9, 2021 at 11:45 am

    What is the O-1 Birddogs job in support to 173rd Airborne Brigade? Looking for VC and were they ever shot down ? Small arms fire , RPG, SAM

  3. louis a nieves August 9, 2021 at 12:30 am

    wow f-4 o-1 b-52 what an assortment! i was at tan son nhut 70-71. at ellsworth and blyteville we had b-52 at raf benwaters f-4 nj air guard c-7 and kc-135 and our sister outfit the! 108tfw f-4d. i salute you!

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