[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 103 (Tuesday, July 12, 2011)]
[Pages H4858-H4859]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Madam Speaker, I rise today to 
recognize and honor a true patriot, humanitarian, and all-around great 
American, Colonel Gerald F. Russell, United States Marine Corps, of 
Centre County, Pennsylvania. Colonel Gerald F. Russell is a combat 
veteran of Guadalcanal, Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and World War 
II, including the Battle of Iwo Jima, which remains today a seminal 
event in our Nation's history.
  May 1 was Colonel Russell's birthday. I use this time to celebrate 
his service to our country and his thankless contributions to our local 
communities of central Pennsylvania.
  Madam Speaker, May 1, 1916, was the beginning of a long life of 
service. In 1940, Colonel Gerald F. Russell graduated from Boston 
College, enlisted in the first Marine Corps Office Candidates Class, 
and later that year was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United 
States Marine Corps. He was assigned to the 11th Marines, 1st Marine 
Division, Parris Island, South Carolina, and then promoted to first 
  In September 1942, Colonel Russell landed in the assault waves on 
Guadalcanal in the first U.S. offensive of World War II. He was 
promoted to captain that very same day, assigned as battery commander 
ship, he was hit by Japanese aircraft during landing, which later sank. 
Colonel Russell suffered shrapnel wounds during the campaign, was not 
evacuated, and soon contracted malaria. Shortly after, he moved with 
the 1st Marine Division to Melbourne, Australia, and only returned to 
the U.S. to recover.
  From 1943 to 1945, Russell was assigned to attend the United States 
Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He was assigned to the 5th 
Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, as artillery battalion exec, promoted to 
major, and

[[Page H4859]]

transferred from artillery to infantry. With 5th Marine Division, he 
transferred to Hawaii as infantry battalion executive officer. As 
battalion executive officer, Russell landed in the third assault wave 
on Iwo Jima, Red Beach One, where he observed the historic flag 
  Despite wounds to his face and being evacuated, Russell volunteered 
to stay and lead the battalion after his commander went down. On the 
10th day, Russell was elevated to infantry battalion commander, one of 
the youngest battalion commanders in World War II, and so served the 
remainder of the campaign.
  Russell commanded one of two units to land in Japan for occupation, 
at Kyushu, and provided protection for the U.S. technical teams 
covering the atomic bomb site at Nagasaki. Commander Russell accepted 
the surrender of the Tsushima Islands off the coast of the Japanese 
mainland. He was then returned to the U.S. and was assigned to the 
Staff Officers Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, where he served as 
  In 1949, Russell was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, Korea, 
where he served as commander of frontline infantry battalion for 8 
months, and as chief of the advisory group of a frontline Korean Marine 
brigade for 8 months. When he returned to the U.S., he was assigned to 
the Marine Corps Research and Development Staff in Quantico, Virginia.
  In 1952, Russell was assigned to staff, U.S. European Command, Paris, 
France. That year, he returned to Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps, 
Washington, D.C., and later transferred to Quantico, assigned as 
director of the Amphibious Warfare School. He transferred to Camp 
Lejeune, then appointed commanding officer of the 8th Marine Infantry 
Regiment. Later, Russell was transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to 
command U.S. Ground Defense Force during the early difficulties with 
  In 1967, Colonel Russell was transferred to Headquarters Marine 
Corps, Washington, D.C., where he served as Head Marine Corps Division 
of Morale Services until his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1968.
  Russell retired from the Marine Corps on a Friday and started work on 
Monday as the assistant to the provost at Penn State University. While 
at Penn State, Colonel Russell served as assistant to the provost, 
assistant to President Oswald, and assistant secretary for the Penn 
State Board of Trustees, assistant professor, and assistant to dean of 
College of Health and Physical Education, and as associate dean until 
his retirement in 1987.
  Since his retirement from Penn State, Colonel Russell has continued 
as a tireless community volunteer, volunteer advocate, and is known 
throughout central Pennsylvania and beyond.
  Today, Colonel Russell serves as a member of the Centre County United 
Way Board of Directors, chairman of the Centre County United Way Day of 
Caring, and remains active in various efforts, which include the 
Pennsylvania Special Olympics, Centre County Toys for Tots, and many 
other programs that benefit our community.
  After a long and distinguished career, Colonel Russell has a 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, among others, for his eminent service to our country.
  A decorated veteran with almost three decades of active service, 
today Colonel Russell is one of just three living regimental commanders 
of Iwo Jima. The Battle of Iwo Jima served as a watershed moment for 
the United States in World War II. After capturing Iwo Jima, U.S. 
Forces were able to have a staging ground for the aerial assault that 
would help defeat the Japanese Empire.
  I want to thank Colonel Russell for his service to this great Nation. 
Happy birthday, Colonel Russell.
  This great victory did not come without great sacrifice. More than 
70,000 Marines participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima, 17,372 Marines 
were wounded and 5,931 Marines made the ultimate sacrifice for this 
  Through a life of sacrifice and service to others, Colonel Gerald F. 
Russell today stands as a living memory of those who lost their lives 
in WWII and the many others who've given the ultimate sacrifice for 
this Nation.
  Again, thank you for your service to this Nation.