A native of Southern Illinois, Rear Adm. Russell Allen began his military career in 1978 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1984 and was designated a naval aviator in 1986.
Following pilot training at Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 3 in San Diego, California, Allen 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 vertical replenishment pilot aboard the USNS Saturn (T-AFS-10) and USS Concord (T-AFS-5), and then returned to HC-3 as a flight instructor.
In July 1992, Allen began his tour with the Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadron (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 and 3rd Fleet Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC). Most recently, Allen was commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command and Task Force 77.
Previous staff tours were with U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Joint Contingency Unit, 3rd Fleet JFMCC, Navy Region Southwest Reserve Component Command as deputy commander and 7th Fleet deputy commander from October 2013 to February 2015. Allen reported as deputy commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet in October 2015.
Allen’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit (four), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (two), Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Battle “E.”