RUSSELL, KAY Deceased
Name: Kay Russell Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy Unit: VF-211/USS Bonhomme Richard Date of Birth: 19 Sept 1934 Stephenville, TX Home City of Record: Corsicana TX Date of Loss: 19 May 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205800N 1054300E (WJ567073) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8E
Other Personnel in Incident: William J. Metzger at close coordinates (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK with information provided by Helen Smith, Historian Emeritus, AXPOW 2002.
REMARKS: 730304 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.
The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for photo reconnaissance.
The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
Lt.JG William J. Metzger, Jr. was the pilot of an F8C sent on a combat mission over North Vietnam on May 19, 1967. His flight route took him to Ha Tay Province, North Vietnam, where his aircraft was shot down about 10 miles southwest of Hanoi. Undoubtedly from the same flight, Lt.Cdr. Kay Russell's F8E aircraft was shot down the same day a short distance away. Both Metzger and Russell were captured by the North Vietnamese.
For the next 6 years, Metzger and Russell were held in various prisoner of war camps, including the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" complex in Hanoi. They were released in the general prisoner release in 1973.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors).
KAY RUSSELL Commander - United States Navy Shot Down: May 19, 1967 Released: March 4, 1973
May 1952: Graduated from Corsicana High School, Corsicana, Texas.
June 1956: Graduated from Rice University, Houston, Texas with a BA degree and commissioned Ensign, USNR.
July 1956: January 1957:Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Central District, Dayton, Ohio.
February 1957: Entered US Naval School of Pre-Flight, Pensacola, Florida.
June 1958: Designated Naval Aviator.
July 1958: Married Kathleen Kilpatrick of Oskaloosa, Iowa.
July 1958 - March 1959: VFAW-3, NAS North Island.
March 1959 - September l961: VU-7, NAAS Brown Field.
April 1960: Son-Todd Randall Russell was born.
October 1961 - February 1963: VT-7, NAAS Meridian, Mississippi.
December 1961: Daughter-Tracy Leigh Russell was born.
March 1963 - May 1965: US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, where I received an MS degree in Operations Research.
June 1965 - December 1965: VF-124, NAS Miramar, California.
January 1966 - May 1967: VF-211, NAS Miramar, California.
19 May 1967: Shot down over Hanoi while flying F-8E Crusader.
4 March 1973: Released.
Future Plans: Will remain in the Navy and return to flying. Eventually, I want to obtain a Ph.D. and teach on the university level.
Decorations and Awards:
Silver Star Legion of Merit Distinguished Flying Cross Bronze Star Air Medal Navy Commendation Medal Purple Heart Combat Action Ribbon
Mother Gertrude Whitener Russell and Father Charles Joseph had 2 sons, Kay and Charles Stanley... Charles Russell passed away Sept 2, 1940.
Kay Russell died 02/02/1979 of a heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and a son and daughter. His brother, Charles, had two children.