Edmond Goes to War
Edmond, like all American cities, owes much to its sons and daughters who have served the nation during wartime, many making the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. It is, perhaps, those who returned who best appreciate the “last full measure” which their comrades gave; but it is the families of those hometown youths who most know the anguish of irreplacable loss.
Many of Edmond’s 89ers claim their homesteads after serving in the Civil War. Since Edmond was founded in 1889, there have been the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Koran, Vietnam, The Persian Gulf War, The Iraq War as well as our ongoing War in Afghanistan calling Edmondites forth to fight for their country. It is impossible to fully and correctly identify the many men and women who have served and continue to serve. But perhaps we can remember all in the name of one…an Edmond boy who died in battle during World War II.
Russell R. Dougherty
307th Bombardment Group, Army Air Corps- the “Long Rangers”
Russell Dougherty was born on August 7, 1918 and was the first Edmond High School graduate to die in World War II on April 19, 1943. He grew up on a farm in Edmond, Oklahoma and attended Edmond High School graduating in 1935. While in high school he was active in farmer club work, was on the wrestling team, and was voted outstanding citizen in his senior year. Russell went on to Central State College where he met and married his wife Winifred.
Dougherty enlisted in the army while attending Central State College on February 25, 1941 and was sent overseas in 1942 after he joined the Army Air Forces. In the AAF, he became a pilot in the 307th Bombardment Group called the “Long Rangers” and was a Second Lieutenant stationed at Guadalcanal and was awarded an Air Medal with three Oak Clusters for missions there. On April 19, 1943 Dougherty and his crew took off on a mission when something went wrong with the plane and it crashed.
After Russell Dougherty’s death he was awarded a Purple Heart. His son Russell Chris Dougherty was born June 28, 1943 two months after his death. Russell Dougherty Elementary School was named to honor him in 1947. In 2009 a statue of him was placed in front of the school.