#VeteranOfTheDay Marine Veteran Alonza M. Russell

Alonza Russell is today's Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Alonza M. Russell, who served in Saipan, the Soloman Islands and Okinawa during World War II.

Alonza Russell enlisted in the Marine Corps Nov. 10, 1942—the Marine Corps birthday. He attended basic training at Paris Island and rifle training at Camp Lejeune before heading to San Diego. Then, he deployed to the Pacific.

There, Russell and his fellow Marines joined the 2nd Marine Division in New Zealand and received additional training at various islands around the Pacific theater.

Russell received his first combat assignment in November 1943 when he and parts of the 2nd Marine Division took the Gilbert Islands from Japanese forces..

From the Gilbert Islands, Russell’s unit traveled to the Solomon Islands and later Saipan. There, Russell served as a driver, transporting American servicemembers around the islands. Although the unit arrived after U.S. forces had taken Saipan from the Japanese, the Marines still faced sporadic attack from insurgent Japanese forces hidden around the island.

Several months later, Russell’s unit prepared for the invasion of Okinawa. As the Marines approached Okinawa, they faced heavy resistance from Japanese bombers and suicide pilots, narrowly avoiding kamikaze attacks.

By September 1945, Japan surrendered and the 2nd Marine Division converted to an occupying force. Russell spent several weeks with his unit stationed in Nagasaki, Japan, before returning to the United States, where he was discharged at the rank of corporal.

Russell passed away Aug. 13, 2015, at the age of 94.

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.


Editor: Agnes Song

Fact checker: Savannah Labbe

Graphic artist: Tenzin Chomphel


Nicholas Rogers-Dillon

Nicholas Rogers-Dillon is a senior studying Philosophy and Political Science at Brooklyn College. He is originally from Brooklyn, NY, and is currently working as a writing intern at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, hoping to pursue a career in public service.


  1. Robert Bostic    

    We honor the service of Alonza Russell.

  2. Msabah Rashidi Sange    

    I ask to be served financially and materially within a reasonable time.

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