1st LT USAAF WWII
11th BG, 42nd B Sq
Pilot and 1st Lt. Russell Allen Phillips was born in 1916 in Greencastle, Indiana and grew up in La Porte, Indiana. He attended Purdue University, and earned a degree in forestry and conservation. He enlisted in the Air Corps at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana on November 7, 1941. He was known for his calm, cool, and quiet character.
The tail number is unknown for the B-24D Green Hornet, which was ditched and lost at sea on 27 May 1943 in the Pacific. This aircraft was assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron. This plane was on a search and rescue mission for Pilot Clarence Corpening's B-24D #42-40519 that had disappeared the day before. Three initially survived the crash; the Pilot, 1st Lt. Russell Allen Phillips, Bombardier Louis Zamperini (a former 1936 Olympian runner), and Tail Gunner SSgt Francis McNamara. The crew members lost were:
Co-Pilot 1st Lt Charlton H. Cupernell of California, 1st Lt. Robert H. Mitchell from Illinois, Sgt Otto Anderson from Wisconsin, Pvt Leslie A. Deane from Kansas, SSgt Frank Glassman from Illinois, SSgt Jay S. Hansen from Idaho, Cpl Michael Walsh from Pennsylvania, and Tail Gunner SSgt Francis P. McNamara (died 6-30-43) from Ohio.
McNamara died on day 33 at sea. Phillips and Zamperini floated on a raft for 47 days, only to later land on an island and be taken as Japanese POWs until the end of the war. While POWs, they endured torture, lack of food and medical care, and multiple hardships.
After they were repatriated, Russell Allen Phillips married his hometown sweetheart Cecile ‘Cecy' Perry, and they had two children, a boy and a girl.
Louis Zamperini met and married Cynthia Applewhite, and they had two children. Louis Zamperini later carried the Olympic torch at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California and in 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. The amazing tale of survival is told in Zamperini's memoir 'Devil At My Heels', and in Laura Hillenbrand's #1 bestseller "Unbroken".
Much of this bio was provided by findagrave member B24CoPilotNiece
Cecile Perry Phillips
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