Russell H. Howell enlisted in the United States Army in 1952 as an infantryman.
He was 17.
A native of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, he served 21 years in the U.S. Army, facing combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was a prisoner of war during the Korean War and received five Bronze Stars.
According to the American War Library, the Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, after Dec. 6, 1941, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight.
Howell retired in December 1973 from the 194th Armored Brigade at Fort Knox.
Along with his five Bronze Stars, Howell also earned several other awards and honors, including Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and a United Nations Service Medal.
Howell, who died at age 81 on Nov. 10, 2015, at Lexington VA Medical Center, will be honored Saturday at the Hardin County History Museum in Elizabethtown as the museum introduces a new display including Howell’s uniform and medals.
The dedication ceremony, open to the public, is at 10 a.m.
“Russell loved God, his family and country above all else. He truly is an American hero in every sense of the word,” said Dianne Aldrich, a friend of Howell’s wife, Bonnie.
Howell and Bonnie were married 58 years and raised two children, Glenn Howell and Brenda Burns. They have six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Aldrich was the one who reached out to the museum to see if they would put up the display on Howell. Elvin Smith of the museum said Aldrich had referred to it as a “display for a local hero.”
“We’re honored to have his display here. He is one of the most highly decorated Korean War veterans in the United States. Even though he was not a native of Hardin County, certainly he lived here long enough to be considered a Hardin Countian and a Kentuckian,” said Bill Bennett, Hardin County Museum president.
“We’re certainly honored to have his display and commemorate his long service to the United States and to the people of Hardin County,” Bennett added.
Howell was an active member of Main Post Chapel on Fort Knox and DAV No. 156. He also was a life member of the Disabled Veterans of America.