Russell Dean Martin

Lieutenant Colonel
United States Air Force
22 June 1937 - 13 January 1979
Bloomfield, Iowa
Panel 08E Line 004



USAF Pilot

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Russell Dean Martin

23 Jul 2001

Russell Dean Martin, I would like your family to know that I have held onto your POW braclet for over 25 years in the hopes of finding your family someday ... now that I have found this site, I am very pleased and excited that my dream may finally come true. My email address will be included for their information ... You were only a name to me for many years, but now I have read your personal history and I know that I must find your family ...

God bless you and yours ...

A memorial initiated by
Patti O'Brien

25 Sep 2003

My father's plane flew at 3 to 5 minutes before crashing, not 5 to 10 seconds. The bailout call was heard by other planes in the area. The original witness statements claimed there was time for 1 or more of the crew to bail out.

From his daughter,
Julie Sartin
609 Scott Wayne Drive, Nixa MO 65714

18 Nov 2005

This Veterans' holiday 2005, I was able to make the trip I longed for as a child. It was to turn over my POW/MIA bracelet to one of LTC Russell Martin's daughters.

I've worn it since 1971 and always kept him and his family near and dear to my heart. It was a bittersweet experience for me. But I do know from my visit that LTC Russell Martin "will not be forgotten". His family lives with his memory every day. I just pray that we will continue to do the same for all of our servicemen and women "until they all come home".

God Bless you and your family, Julie, and the sacrifices you have endured.

Jennie Watkins
Ardmore, Ok 73401

Notes from The Virtual Wall

The 4th Air Commando Squadron, based at Nha Trang, SVN, maintained a detachment at Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, in order to allow operations along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. On 3 June 1966 one of the Ubon gunships, AC-47 tail number 43-48925, departed on a night armed reconnaissance mission along the Trail. It was crewed by
  • Capt Theodore E. Kryszak, pilot;
  • 1st Lt Russell D. Martin, co-pilot;
  • Lt Col Harding E. Smith, navigator;
  • TSgt Harold E. Mullins, flight engineer;
  • TSgt Luther L. Rose, aerial gunner; and
  • SSgt Ervin Warren, loadmaster/gunner.
At about 9:25 PM the AC-47 was operating under FAC control along Route 912 some 20 miles southwest of the Ban Karai Pass, a major entry point from NVN into Laos. About 10 miles east of the town of Ban Pha Philang, as the gunship was firing on a target, it burst into flames. The AC-47 pilot ordered his crew to bail out from the aircraft, a radio call heard by the controlling FAC.

Shortly after the bail-out call, the FAC pilot saw the AC-47 roll into a steep descent and crash. The FAC reported he saw no ground fire directed at the AC-47, saw no parachutes, and heard no emergency radio beepers. Although search and rescue forces located the wreckage, there was no sign of the aircrew. The six men were classed as Missing in Action.

On 13 January 1979, LTC Russell Martin's status was changed from "Missing in Action" to "Died while Missing", a presumptive finding of death.

- Update -

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release No. 1098-04
IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 2, 2004

MIAs Identified from The Vietnam War

Six servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery Friday with full military honors.

They are Air Force Col. Theodore E. Kryszak of Buffalo, NY; Air Force Col. Harding E. Smith of Los Gatos, Calif.; Air Force Lt. Col. Russell D. Martin of Bloomfield, Iowa; Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold E. Mullins; Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luther L. Rose of Howe, Texas, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ervin Warren, of Philadelphia.

On June 3, 1966, the crew was aboard an AC-47 "Spooky" gunship flying a nighttime armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. At about 9:25 p.m., the aircraft radioed, "we have a hot fire," and another radio transmission was heard to order "bail out." Witnesses reported the aircraft was on fire, then crashed into a heavily wooded area 30 miles northeast of Tchepone, in Khannouan Province, Laos. No parachutes from the crew were observed and no emergency beepers were heard. An aerial search of the site found no evidence of survivors.

In cooperation with the Lao government, a joint team of U.S. and Lao specialists traveled to a suspected crash site in Khammouan Province in October 1994 where a villager took them to an area where personal effects, aircraft wreckage, crew-related materials and a crew member's identification tag were found. In May-June 1995, a joint U.S.-Lao team excavated the site where they recovered human remains as well as identification media of other aircrew members. The U.S. recovery team members were from the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI). CILHI scientists applied a wide array of forensic techniques to the recovered remains, including comparisons of dental charts and x-rays, as well as the use of mitochondrial DNA sequencing.

The remains of the six crewmen had been repatriated on 20 June 1995. Interment was in Section 60, Arlington National Cemetery, on Friday, 05 Nov 2004.

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index M
IA State Index . Panel 08E
4TH ACS Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009