Obituary of James Russell, Jr.
James Alcorn Russell, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel James Alcorn Russell, Jr., 97, a retired farmer, died January 30, 2017 at his home. Graveside services are 1:00 P.M. Sunday February 5, 2017 at Alcorn-Russell Cemetery in Jonestown, MS with burial in the Alcorn-Russell Cemetery. Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale, MS is handling the arrangements.
Mr. Russell was in the U.S. Army Air Corp serving in World War II and Korea. The day before his birthday January 16, 1942, he was ordered to report to Montgomery, AL for duty and he completed his primary training in Florida, his basic training in Greenville and went to Selmer, AL for his advanced training where he was able to get time in a fighter and was also trained to fly at night. In his early 20's he bounced around Florida flying P-39s and accumulated 400-plus hours of flying time before he was ordered to report to Thomasville, GA. It wasn't until August of 1944 when he received his orders to go overseas. He flew a P-51 in the 14th Air Force as part of the Flying Tigers Chinese-American Composite Wing in Kumming, China. As a pilot, he flew 90 missions defending the aerial supply operation over the Himalayan mountains between India and China, nicknamed "the Hump." Russell was part of the Chinese-American Composite Wing's (CACW) 5th Fighter group that contained pilots from both the United States and China. As Russell got older, he completed a civilian pilot program in Clarksdale, another flight course in Memphis and was training in New Orleans in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He said that he wired the Secretary of War to ask how he could get involved and two weeks later he received a response instructing him to report to the nearest Army recruiting station. He received numerous medals while serving in the military, including the Chinese Airman Medal. He was shot down while in China and walked 5 days to survive. He was credited with two and a half victories.
He was a member of First United Methodist Church.
Survivors include sons James Alcorn Russell III of Lyon, MS and Noel Monaghan Russell of Stuart, FL; daughter Mimi Russell Sawyer of Stuart, FL; grandchildren John Sawyer, Helen Russell and Mary Kathryn Burge and great-grandchildren Sarah Sawyer, Emery Sawyer and Blaine Burge.
He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Nan Monaghan Russell, son Kimbriel Richard Russell and parents James A. Russell, Sr. and Velma Armstead Russell.