Russell L. Violett


 

Preferred Name: Russ

Nickname/Call Sign: Russ

Date of Birth: June 7, 1935

Highest Military Grade Held: Major General, (08)

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Biography

“I would do it over again in a heart beat. It was the people along the way that made it great!
My claim to fame is the shortest flight in an F-100: approximately 2 minutes. I ejected on takeoff, Nellis AFB, NV 18 Nov 1960. Observed by: Ralph Hoot Gibson”
I retired as a Major General from the United States Air Force on June 1, 1987. My wife Delores Ann (Cramer) and I have four daughters, all married, 14 grandchildren and 11 Great grandchildren. I spend my time playing golf, gardening, and visiting with family and friends.”

After retiring from the USAF, Russ started Violett Consulting and as Director assisted Business Development and Marketing divisions of several U.S. companies in developing support for their products in the Middle East and in the US. These firms included McDonnell Douglas Company, Grumman Melbourne Systems Division, Newport News Shipbuilding, STV/Lyon Associates, Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall and TechMedia Corporation. Earlier clients included Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation, Lear Siegler Management Services Corporation, Applications Group International, Burdeshaw Associates, Inc., Aerospace Technologies Group, Inc. and Spectrum International Associates. He continued Violett Consulting until his retirement in 2003.
 
 

Russ Violett – Caterpillar Story

Russ ViolettHere is my story on what happened on my ejection.
18 Nov 1960, 13:43: the time of the ejection. I was a student in training at Nellis. I was added to the schedule when a four guys came out of a briefing room for an afternoon Dart mission and one of them ran and threw up in the waste paper basket at the duty counter (a bachelor who stayed out all night and came in late). The flight lead, an exchange Canadian with a call sign of “Maple” said to me, get out from behind that counter, you are now number two, same briefing as your flight this morning, suit up, we are heading to the aircraft now, any questions. “None Sir” and I found myself on the left wing of lead taking off on 02 at Nellis (now 03). Carothers used his hands and head alot as an IP, his hands and head were moving all the time it seemed. After we released brakes, and had rolled a couple thousand feet, Nellis tower called, “Maple Lead, Nellis Tower”. Maple responded with “Standby Tower” and we continued, everything still normal with me glued on his left wing. His hand appeared with the palm up moving upwards indicating he was to raise the nose for takeoff and then immediately after that a big head nod for gear.
As the gear came up, Maple said “Nellis Tower, go ahead” and that’s when things got exciting. “Roger Maple lead, be advised your number two man has fire coming out of the left side of his fuselage” and I said, Jesus Christ, that’s me. Maple yawed his aircraft for me to spread it out. I did and looked at the instruments, all appeared normal except one which read “Fire Warning” and at the very least said “wow”. About the same time Maple said, “Jesus Christ, get out of it”, the aircraft had shuddered from an explosion, and was rolling to the right into lead while we at about 200 feet above the runway. I stomped on the left rudder, the aileron did not seem to be responding, the aircraft rolled left slightly and the nose kept coming up, I blew the canopy, by pulling up the ejection levers in this “C” model, (811) with my right hand. I had my left hand on the throttle and still in afterburner and was pushing the throttle through the instrument panel as I tried to get some more altitude.
As we went through about 6-700 feet over the end of the runway, the rudder would not hold a level position and when I could not find the ejection trigger with the left hand, I fired the seat with the right trigger. Lots of noise, reached for the lap belt, it was gone, threw the seat away and then quiet, the helmet rotated 90 degrees in the process, straightened it, canopy okay, seat came by, other bits and pieces, I see the smoke from the aircraft crash between Nellis and Storage site, then hit the ground hard. But okay. Wind was blowing about 25 knots, went for a ride, finally collapsed the chute, disconnected, sat down on the ground, laid back, hit my head on a piece of shale, started bleeding like mad, the chopper arrived, they were sure I was mortally wounded, went to hospital, all okay, flew the next day and then sent on leave for a week.
-Russ Violett

Units Assigned

  • 1/1959-1/1960 Pilot Training (T-34, T-28, T-33)
  • 1/1960-8/1960 Luke AFB, AZ  (F-100)
  • 8/1960-1/1961 Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
  • 1/1961-10/1963 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan (F-100)
  • 10/1963-1/1969 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, McConnell AFB, KS (F-105)
  • 1/1969-11/1969 354thTactical Fighter Squadron, Tahkli RTAFB, Thailand (F-105)
  • 11/1969-1/1971 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, Torrejon AB, Spain (F-4E)
  • 1/1971-1/1973 HQ USAFE/IG, Lindsey AS, W. Germany (F-4E)
  • 1/1973-6/1973 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
  • 6/1973-7/1975 Air National Guard, Programs, Pentagon (T-33, VT-29)
  • 7/1975-8/1977 DCS Programs/Resources/ Tactical Branch
  • 8/1977-6/1978 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 6/1978-8/1979 355th Tactical Fighter Wing/DCM, Davis Monthan AFB, AZ (A-10)
  • 8/1979-1/1981 479th Tactical Training Wing/CC, Holloman AFB, NM (AT-38)
  • 1/1981-3/1982 Hq TAC/ADO, Langley AFB, VA (T-39)
  • 3/1982-6/1983 HQ TAC/IG, Langley AFB, VA (T-39)
  • 6/1983-8/1985 HQ TAC/ADTAC/CC, Langley AFB, VA (T-39, F-106)
  • 8/1985-6/1987 USMTM/CC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (C-12)
  • 6/1987 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

 Defense Distinguished Service Medal
 Distinguished Service Medal
 Legion of Merit
 Distinguished Flying Cross
 Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
 Air Medal (with 1 Silver/3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
 AF Commendation Medal
 AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with 1 Silver/1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
 AF Overseas Short Tour Ribbon
 AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon
 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
 AF Outstanding Unit Award
 National Defense Service Medal
 Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
 Combat Readiness Medal
 Vietnam Service Medal (with 5 Bronze Service Stars)
 Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
 Presidential Unit Citation (with Valor Device and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
 Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with Palm Device)
 AF Training Ribbon

Flight Info

T-34
T-28
T-33
F-100 C/D/F
U-6
F-105 B/D/F
T 39 B
F-4 C/E
C-131
C-121
A-10
T-38 B
T-43
T-39
F-106 A/B
C 12
F-100 total time: 840 hours
Shortest flight in an F-100: Approximately 2 minutes. Ejected on takeoff

Military Education

  • 1973 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
  • 1978 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL

Civilian Education

  • 1958 BSBA/Building Industry and Real Estate, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Biography

Biography

“I would do it over again in a heart beat. It was the people along the way that made it great!
My claim to fame is the shortest flight in an F-100: approximately 2 minutes. I ejected on takeoff, Nellis AFB, NV 18 Nov 1960. Observed by: Ralph Hoot Gibson”
I retired as a Major General from the United States Air Force on June 1, 1987. My wife Delores Ann (Cramer) and I have four daughters, all married, 14 grandchildren and 11 Great grandchildren. I spend my time playing golf, gardening, and visiting with family and friends.”

After retiring from the USAF, Russ started Violett Consulting and as Director assisted Business Development and Marketing divisions of several U.S. companies in developing support for their products in the Middle East and in the US. These firms included McDonnell Douglas Company, Grumman Melbourne Systems Division, Newport News Shipbuilding, STV/Lyon Associates, Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall and TechMedia Corporation. Earlier clients included Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation, Lear Siegler Management Services Corporation, Applications Group International, Burdeshaw Associates, Inc., Aerospace Technologies Group, Inc. and Spectrum International Associates. He continued Violett Consulting until his retirement in 2003.
 
 
Caterpillar Club

Russ Violett – Caterpillar Story

Russ ViolettHere is my story on what happened on my ejection.
18 Nov 1960, 13:43: the time of the ejection. I was a student in training at Nellis. I was added to the schedule when a four guys came out of a briefing room for an afternoon Dart mission and one of them ran and threw up in the waste paper basket at the duty counter (a bachelor who stayed out all night and came in late). The flight lead, an exchange Canadian with a call sign of “Maple” said to me, get out from behind that counter, you are now number two, same briefing as your flight this morning, suit up, we are heading to the aircraft now, any questions. “None Sir” and I found myself on the left wing of lead taking off on 02 at Nellis (now 03). Carothers used his hands and head alot as an IP, his hands and head were moving all the time it seemed. After we released brakes, and had rolled a couple thousand feet, Nellis tower called, “Maple Lead, Nellis Tower”. Maple responded with “Standby Tower” and we continued, everything still normal with me glued on his left wing. His hand appeared with the palm up moving upwards indicating he was to raise the nose for takeoff and then immediately after that a big head nod for gear.
As the gear came up, Maple said “Nellis Tower, go ahead” and that’s when things got exciting. “Roger Maple lead, be advised your number two man has fire coming out of the left side of his fuselage” and I said, Jesus Christ, that’s me. Maple yawed his aircraft for me to spread it out. I did and looked at the instruments, all appeared normal except one which read “Fire Warning” and at the very least said “wow”. About the same time Maple said, “Jesus Christ, get out of it”, the aircraft had shuddered from an explosion, and was rolling to the right into lead while we at about 200 feet above the runway. I stomped on the left rudder, the aileron did not seem to be responding, the aircraft rolled left slightly and the nose kept coming up, I blew the canopy, by pulling up the ejection levers in this “C” model, (811) with my right hand. I had my left hand on the throttle and still in afterburner and was pushing the throttle through the instrument panel as I tried to get some more altitude.
As we went through about 6-700 feet over the end of the runway, the rudder would not hold a level position and when I could not find the ejection trigger with the left hand, I fired the seat with the right trigger. Lots of noise, reached for the lap belt, it was gone, threw the seat away and then quiet, the helmet rotated 90 degrees in the process, straightened it, canopy okay, seat came by, other bits and pieces, I see the smoke from the aircraft crash between Nellis and Storage site, then hit the ground hard. But okay. Wind was blowing about 25 knots, went for a ride, finally collapsed the chute, disconnected, sat down on the ground, laid back, hit my head on a piece of shale, started bleeding like mad, the chopper arrived, they were sure I was mortally wounded, went to hospital, all okay, flew the next day and then sent on leave for a week.
-Russ Violett

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 1/1959-1/1960 Pilot Training (T-34, T-28, T-33)
  • 1/1960-8/1960 Luke AFB, AZ  (F-100)
  • 8/1960-1/1961 Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
  • 1/1961-10/1963 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan (F-100)
  • 10/1963-1/1969 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, McConnell AFB, KS (F-105)
  • 1/1969-11/1969 354thTactical Fighter Squadron, Tahkli RTAFB, Thailand (F-105)
  • 11/1969-1/1971 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, Torrejon AB, Spain (F-4E)
  • 1/1971-1/1973 HQ USAFE/IG, Lindsey AS, W. Germany (F-4E)
  • 1/1973-6/1973 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
  • 6/1973-7/1975 Air National Guard, Programs, Pentagon (T-33, VT-29)
  • 7/1975-8/1977 DCS Programs/Resources/ Tactical Branch
  • 8/1977-6/1978 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 6/1978-8/1979 355th Tactical Fighter Wing/DCM, Davis Monthan AFB, AZ (A-10)
  • 8/1979-1/1981 479th Tactical Training Wing/CC, Holloman AFB, NM (AT-38)
  • 1/1981-3/1982 Hq TAC/ADO, Langley AFB, VA (T-39)
  • 3/1982-6/1983 HQ TAC/IG, Langley AFB, VA (T-39)
  • 6/1983-8/1985 HQ TAC/ADTAC/CC, Langley AFB, VA (T-39, F-106)
  • 8/1985-6/1987 USMTM/CC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (C-12)
  • 6/1987 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

 Defense Distinguished Service Medal
 Distinguished Service Medal
 Legion of Merit
 Distinguished Flying Cross
 Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
 Air Medal (with 1 Silver/3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
 AF Commendation Medal
 AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with 1 Silver/1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
 AF Overseas Short Tour Ribbon
 AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon
 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
 AF Outstanding Unit Award
 National Defense Service Medal
 Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
 Combat Readiness Medal
 Vietnam Service Medal (with 5 Bronze Service Stars)
 Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
 Presidential Unit Citation (with Valor Device and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
 Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with Palm Device)
 AF Training Ribbon

Flight Info

T-34
T-28
T-33
F-100 C/D/F
U-6
F-105 B/D/F
T 39 B
F-4 C/E
C-131
C-121
A-10
T-38 B
T-43
T-39
F-106 A/B
C 12
F-100 total time: 840 hours
Shortest flight in an F-100: Approximately 2 minutes. Ejected on takeoff

Military Education

  • 1973 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
  • 1978 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL

Civilian Education

  • 1958 BSBA/Building Industry and Real Estate, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Photos
Video
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