Mike Russell was born on September 28, 1973, in Falls Church, Virginia. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 30, 1991, and completed basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in September 1991. After being trained as a CH-47 Chinook helicopter mechanic, Sgt Russell served as a CH-47 crew chief and flight engineer with Bravo Company, 214th Aviation Regiment, 524th Corps Support Battalion of the 45th Corps Support Group at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, from January 1992 to March 1995, followed by service as a CH-47 flight engineer with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion of the 158th Aviation Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado, from March 1995 to September 1996. SFC Russell’s final assignment was as an MH-47 flight engineer with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, from August 1996 until he was killed in action during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. During this time he had deployed numerous times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was buried at Stafford Memorial Park in Stafford, Virginia.