Russell Mark Blythe – Commander, United States Navy

 Courtesy of the United States Navy Academy

Commander Russell Mark Blythe, United States Navy (Retired), died on 23 August 1982 in Mountain View, California. Memorial services were held on 26 August at the Chapel of Moffett Naval Air Station with interment on 31 August in Arlington National Cemetery.

Appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of California, he was graduated with the Class of 1955 and was ordered to sea in Mullany prior to being ordered to flight training at Pensacola and receiving his aviator's wings at Beeville, Texas. He served with VF-191 at Moffett Field before joining Carrier Air Group 19 as landing safety officer. In 1951 he became LSO with VA- 125, among the first to serve at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, and later he was ordered to the postgraduate school where he received a degree in electrical engineering and reported to ComNavAir Pacific at North Island.

His next assignment was as maintenance officer with the first operational A-7 squadron, VA-147, flying 57 missions over Vietnam and participating with the air group in Ranger in the Sea of Japan following the capture of Pueblo. In 1968 he was assigned to VA-122 and served as maintenance officer and later executive officer prior to reporting to VA-23 at NAS Kingsville as executive officer and commanding officer. Four years later he returned to sea in Guam as head of the air department, then finished his active duty in Washington (DC) at Naval Air headquarters. He was transferred to the retired list in 1977.

Awards and decorations included the Air Medal with Gold Star and numeral 6, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V and one star, the Meritorious Unit  ommendation, and the Vietnamese Meritorious Commendation. He was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

He is survived by his widow Gail; a daughter; his parents; two sisters and a brother; and his nephew Lieutenant Kevin Skjei USNA 1977.

Last Call:

I'm sorry to announce that Russ Blythe passed away on August 23, 1982. He died of a heart attack while jobbing; he had planned to be a high school football referee this fall in California. Russ was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on August 31 with full military honors, attended by many friends and Classmates. He is survived by his wife Gail, one child, and a tender spot in all our hearts. Those that didn't have time, or know, to send flowers, can drop me a few bucks toward getting a memorial chair in the USNA Stadium in Russ' name.


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