Russell J. Hadley

Russell J. Hadley entered the Army in December 1942. Home at entry: Duluth, Minnesota.

He served as a Colonel, navigator, and bombardier in England.

Mr. Hadley shared the following:

"Entered service shortly after Pearl Harbor bombing. Trained in San Antonio, Midland, and Big Spring, Texas. Sent to Boca Raton, Florida and then to Langley Field, Virginia. Flew 30 bombing missions over Germany. On second mission (August 4, 1944) to destroy Hitler's H-bomb production facilities in Peenmunde, Germany, his B-17 caught fire and blew up killing the tail gunner. All others bailed out over England."

Captain Hadley sustained bilateral ankle sprains but was out of active duty for only about two weeks. By war's end was fully trained in navigation, bombardier and radar operation. After the war, left the service to attend University of Minnesota. Received degree and re-entered the USAF to complete 30 years of service and retired January 1975 as full Colonel.

Colonel Hadley received the following: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Medal for Humane Action, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal (55 Missions) with four bronze service stars, and United Nations Service Medal.

Source:  Hometown Heroes: The Saint Louis County World War II Project,  page 356.

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