Screaming Eagles Through Time
Sgt. John W. Russell


Portland, Texas
Killed in action November 15, 2003

Fallen Portland Soldier Remembered

By Aaron Drawhorn, KRIS-TV
November 18, 2003

Sgt. John Russell of Portland was one of 17 soldiers killed this weekend when two Black Hawk helicopters collided in Iraq.

His family and former teachers at Gregory Portland High School are taking his death hard.

The flags outside Gregory Portland High School are at half staff in memory of 26-year-old Sgt. John Russell.

He graduated from high school in 1995 and went on to serve his country in the 101st Airborne based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Students paid tribute to his service in a moment of silence Tuesday.

John Duggan, senior English teacher, said, "Everyone's very sad about this. It's very difficult."

Duggan remembers John as a good student, popular atlhete and friend.

"He got along with everyone. Very friendly, affable, easy going guy," he said.

John was quoted in his senior yearbook saying, "Rockport was my favorite game because it was the first time my dad saw him play football."

Dennis Russell got news of his son's death late Saturday night.

He says he and John talked often on how the war and even the soliders fighting it were portrayed.

Dennis Russell, John's father, said, "The media is using them to advance somebody's political ...for whatever reason and attacking our president. And it's wrong."

He says we should not forget those in the armed services who make the ultimate sacrifice.

"Our boys are loyal. They believe in God and country," said Russell.

Funeral arrangements for John Russell are pending.

Many families are facing more anguish because identifying the bodies in the wreck is taking more time.

Saturday's crash is the deadliest single incident since the war began.

This story is written and published by KRIS Communications. Please send your comments to