Colonel Russell M. Paquette was bom in Jackson, Michigan on April 29, 1918. He attended St. Mary's Catholic School in Michigan. He attended the University of Detroit and graduated in 1941. Colonel Paquette received a law degree from the University of Detroit. He was recruited into the Marine Corps after college.
Colonel Paquette did his basic training in Parris Island. Upon recommendation, Mr. Paquette attended officer training school in Quantico, Virginia. While at Quantico, Colonel Paquette learned "tough command presence" from W. W. Windsinger. He was assigned to the 4th Marine Division and continued training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, California.
He was sent to the Pacific upon completion of training and stationed in Maui, Hawaii. His first battle experience was on Roi-Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll of the Marshall Islands. He headed up the heavy weapons unit for the 4th Marines including half-tracks and a French 75mm cannon left over from WWI. Colonel Paquette saw action in the Battle of Saipan where he was wounded when his half track backed over a land mine. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his actions in Saipan.
He landed next on the Northern Beach of the Island of Tinian which later became famous as the launching point for the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Colonel Paquette, amongst other Marines, made efforts to stop civilian suicides on the Tinian upon entry. He was in the 7th wave to land on the Island of Iwo Jima. His unit was responsible for bringing ashore heavy weapons and artillery. After five years of service, Colonel Paquette returned home by way of San Diego and was was offered a commission in the reserves as a Major.
Upon his return to Michigan, he attended Wayne State University Law School where he earned his Juris Doctorate. After law school, he worked as an attorney for the Veteran's Administration for twenty years. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Upon retiring from the Veteran's Administration, he entered private practice.
Colonel Paquette has one son and three daughters. He currently lives in Harper Woods, Michigan with his wife Isabella. Colonel Paquette assisted in the development of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. He also has helped to develop and lead "Ye Knights of Olde," a gathering of Marine Veterans. All told, Colonel Paquette spent 27 years in the Marine Corps, 20 years with the Veterans Administration and 20 years in private law practice. He continues his practice to this day.