Col. Russell set to retire after 41 years of service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Forty-one years is a long time.  It was 41 years of excellence, integrity, and service before self that Col. Scott Russell committed to the Air Force, and now his mission is complete.

The Mission Support Group commander will hand over the reins to someone new on July 9.

Col. Russell has been a familiar face at Grissom since 2014, joining the unit after having served in the same role at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1979 as a security forces troop after earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota.

After receiving his commission, a then 2nd Lt. Russell worked counterintelligence and criminal investigations with an Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

He became a reservist in 1993, commanding the 934th Security Forces Squadron at Minneapolis-St. Paul, Air Reserve Station.

It’s difficult for him to pinpoint what has been most special to him during his time at the 434th Air Refueling Wing.

“I think the best part has been developing the people in the group and watching them succeed and go on and win awards,” Russell said.

 During his career, Russell has served in a variety of roles. and has deployed in support of Operations Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.

From each experience and each duty station, he’s absorbed invaluable experience that he’s taught and passed along throughout his career.

“The worst piece of advice that I ever got was ‘never volunteer for anything; don’t raise your hand for anything,” Russell said. “I believe in getting involved. Asking where you’re needed can only be helpful.”

He added, “It exposes you to more and it helps you learn more.”

What’s the next act for the man who spent his days overseeing five squadrons, two flights and mentoring Airmen? More than likely, a little babysitting.

Russell and his wife Terri are relocating to Texas to be closer to his daughter and new grandson.

Few things compare to 41 years in the Air Force, but Russell said time well spent with his family is incomparable as well.

“We are excited about that next step,” he said. “I can say that we are really looking forward to spending time with them.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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