April 2017 – Bandstand Flag Notice
John Wayne Russell
April 25, 1931 Ð August 23, 2016
United States Army
The flag flying over the bandstand during the month of April is in honor of John Wayne Russell.
In December of 1951, John W. Russell received a letter from the Selective Service System that would change his quiet, small, rural life; an Order to Report For Induction. A month later he was officially in the United States Army. He would leave his parents, his friends, his job, his skating rink, his fast car and the only life he knew for two years. He bounced from Camp Crowder, Missouri, to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, to Camp Cook, California, to Fort Lewis, Washington, before leaving the states.
His departure from Seattle took him aboard a boat with hundreds of seasick servicemen on a seventeen day voyage to Yokohama, Japan. From there, Tokyo and then to Iwo Jima for six weeks of Supply School.
Then, April of 1953, Korea. He was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 3rd Infantry Division, 15th Infantry Regiment. His first night there, his commanding officer introduced him to the Supply Sargent who offered them both a drink to which the commanding officer declined. This infuriated the already inebriated Supply Sargent who tossed his drink onto the commanding officer, splashing onto the wood burning stove keeping him warm and both the Sargent and the commanding office became engulfed in flames. John never saw either of them again and from this point on, he was the Supply Sargent. He was in charge of supplying the front line, the Main Line of Resistance, with artillery, a duty that weighed on him, the lives lost and changed with that artillery never leaving him, until the day he died.
He survived numerous battles, including the pivotal Outpost Harry, “Hold At All Costs”, frequent food poisoning, death, destruction, the inhumanity of war and the loneliness of missing his loved ones. He left Korea and was honorably discharged in January, 1954. He resumed his life and his job at Rolscreen where he would work for 44 years which included his service time. He downplayed any talk of his medals (Sharpshooter, Bronze Stars) but instead chose to remember his comrades or as he always referred to them, the other “kids”.
Written by Sarah Russell, John’s daughter.
If you are interested in flying the flag of a veteran above the bandstand, contact Shawn Langkamp at Garland-VanArkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel at 641-672-2181 or www.gvlfuneralchapel.com Contact Us Link.