Group to Col Russell F. Akers, 15th Infantry CO in Korea
Group to Colonel Russell F. Akers, US Army: Silver Star, slot brooch, unnamed; Legion of Merit, with two oak leaf clusters, slot brooch, unnamed; Bronze Star, with “V” device and oak leaf cluster; American Defense Service Medal, slot brooch; American Campaign Medal; Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal, with arrowhead device and one silver and three bronze stars; World War II Victory Medal, slot brooch; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; Greece Gold Cross of Valor, with bar “1940″; Greece Order of the Phoenix, commander; Korea Distinguished Military Service Medal, Ulchi, with silver star, numbered “493″; United Nations Korea Service Medal. With an embroidered ribbon set with these awards; Akers’ West Point diploma; his commission as a colonel; copy of th 26 September 1940 Highland Park News, with a cover photo of Brig Gen Lloyd Fredendall and four staff officers (including Akers) at Fort Sheridan, Illinois; a Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
Colonel Akers received the Silver Star in 3rd Infantry Division GO No.263 (July 1953): “On the morning of 6 June 1953, Colonel Akers, commanding officer of the 15th Infantry Regiment, moved forward of the main line of resistance to inspect positions and weapons emplacements on a strategically valuable friendly held outpost in the vicinity of Surang-ni, Korea. Recent intelligence reports disclosed that the enemy was preparing for a large scale assault. To reach this outpost, he was forced to cross a wide expanse of open terrain which was under constant hostile observation. While crossing this area, Colonel Akers came under hostile sniper and mortar fire which forced him to take temporary cover. Recognizing this as the probable initial phase of the enemy’s expected attack upon the outpost, he left the comparative safety of his covered position and with complete disregard for his personal safety, moved through the area of fire to the outpost. Ignoring the hostile interdiction of the position, he proceeded with a thorough inspection of its defenses, speaking with and advising the officers and men manning the outpost. Only when satisfied that the position was properly defended did he return, over the same perilous route, to the safety of the friendly main line of resistance…” The outpost referenced in the citation was Outpost Harry, which the 15th Infantry was tasked to defend. For the next two weeks the defenders, including the Greek Expeditionary Force battalion infantry, were under constant attack. The Greek unit received a US Presidential Unit Citation for their part in the defense of Outpost Harry.
Col Akers’ first Legion of Merit cited him for: “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 from 20 October 1943 to 31 May 1944. Colonel Akers aided in the organization of the G-3 Section of the First United States Army for combat operations, and by his thorough knowledge and keen perception of the requirements of modern warfare was highly instrumental in the complete preparation of the Army units for combat operations. Colonel Akers was the chief of the Operations Division of the G-3 Section that prepared the plans of the First United States Army for the invasion of the European continent. In this capacity his technical and tactical knowledge contributed brilliantly to the formulation of the plans…” The First United States Army, under General Omar Bradley, landed on the western beaches at Normandy.
Colonel Russell F. “Red” Akers was born in Virginia in December 1911 and graduated from West Point in 1933. In World War II, he was Operations Officer, Headquarters II Corps and then Operations Officer, 1st Army, for operations in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and Germany. During the Korean War, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters IX Corps and later commanded the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He retired from the Army in 1961 and died in February 1976. He is buried in Front Royal, Virginia.