Rear Admiral Russell Allen, a Southern Illinois native, began his military career in 1978 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program. He was commissioned an Ensign upon graduation in December 1984 from the University of Texas and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1986.
Following pilot training at HC-3 in San Diego, he reported to his first operational assignment as a CH-46 pilot with the “Dragonwhales” of HC-8 at NAS Norfolk. He completed three deployments to the Mediterranean as a VERTREP pilot aboard the USNS Saturn (T-AFS-10) and USS Concord (T-AFS-5), and then returned to HC-3 as a flight instructor until he voluntarily resigned his regular commission in June 1992.
In July 1992, Allen began his tour with the HCS-5 “Firehawks” as a Selected Reservist, flying the HH-60H as a Combat SAR and Special Operations mission commander. Mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 while executive officer, he served as deputy commander, Joint Special Operations Air Detachment—Arabian Peninsula. He assumed duties as HCS-5 commanding officer in June 2004 until October 2005 and led the squadron’s second major deployment to Iraq.
Additional Command tours include Navy Reserve, Strike Force Training, Pacific, including an active duty tour as chief of Staff from May through September 2007; He later served as deputy commander, Naval Air Force Reserve from June through August 2008; 3rd Fleet Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC) as commanding officer from December 2008 to December 2010.
Previous staff tours were with U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Joint Contingency Unit, 3rd Fleet JFMCC and Navy Region Southwest Reserve Component Command as deputy commander.
Allen’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit (three), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (two), Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Battle “E.”
Allen is a commercial airline pilot and resides in Coronado, California, with his wife and 2 daughters.