I learned yesterday that, sadly, friend and rescuer Dr. Carl Russell passed away on August 18. “Russ,” as he was called by family and friends, was a central figure in my book, Touching the Ancient One–A True Story of Tragedy and Reunion. Major Russell was the Air Force flight surgeon who accompanied bush pilots Cliff Hudson and Don Sheldon in their rescue of crash survivors Ed Fox, Ed Olson, and me.
Our February 5, 1954 crash was not the only rescue mission on which Russ served. There were many. One earned him The Soldier's Medal for a rescue on the coast of South Korea where he had to be lowered by cable from a helicopter onto the deck of an LST. After his Air Force time, he went on to a brilliant civilian medical career in Virginia.
The survivors and rescuers of our crash didn't meet again until 1996, over forty years later. Although Don Sheldon had passed away, Dr. Russell and Cliff Hudson were at that reunion. We've kept in contact. Russ and Nancy attended another of our reunions in 2001.
A family member, Don Stoutamire, in reflecting on Russ’s interaction with our reunion group, said something that resonates with me. He said, “ . . . the paths that bring our lives together, then lead us off again, are never lost as long as our memories are shared with others.”
Click on this link to see obit for Dr. Russell: