Thursday, October 01, 2009

Army Spc. Russell S. Hercules Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Russell S. Hercules Jr., 22 of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Spc. Hercules was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Oct. 1, 2009 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

The Daily News Journal -- For the second time in two weeks, a Rutherford County family, friends and a community is mourning the loss of a son killed in action in Afghanistan.

Spc. Russell S. Hercules Jr., 22, of Murfreesboro was killed in action Thursday in Afghanistan by small arms fire, according to reports.

"We're just devastated," said Blackman Principal Gail Vick. "We just found out about it around 4 p.m. (Friday). We're proud of what he did for his country.

"As the Blackman family, we're deeply saddened, and our hearts go out to his family and friends."

Players, fans and others held a moment of silence for Hercules prior to Friday night's football game against Siegel.

Hercules is believed to be a 2006 graduate of Blackman. He is survived by his parents, Russell Hercules of Winchester and Cheryl Tipton of Murfreesboro, wife Victoria, step-daughter Candence, and infant son Christopher, who was born in July, according to a family member in Winchester who did not wish to be quoted.

Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced by Woodfin Memorial Chapel.

Hercules was assigned to Pathfinder Company of the 101st Airborne Division, 4th Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, according to a death notice from Woodfin Memorial Chapel.

The soldier began his final journey home Friday, said Annette Robeck, who is the Tennessee state captain of the Patriot Guard.

An honor guard unloaded him off the plane in Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del., around 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and took him into the mortuary there, Robeck said, adding members of deceased soldier's families are transported there at the Army's expense for the process.

Efforts to contact his parents or wife Friday were unsuccessful.

Michelle Lange, whose husband served with Hercules, e-mailed The Daily News Journal to say that the family is "incredibly appreciative of the support they have received. ... (The couple) recently married and have a beautiful 4-month-old son."

Lange, who is part of a Welcome Home Committee, said Hercules was able to come home on his R&R to see his son's birth and visit with his daughter.

She said her husband described Hercules as a wonderful soldier and "his heart goes out to his family."

Soldiers with Hercules' unit held a memorial in his honor Friday before sending him home to his family, she added. No other soldier was injured in the incident.

She said the unit is working to provide food and essentials for the family.

She said Hercules' loss has deeply affected the rest of the soldiers as they are in their final stretch before coming home.

Army Spc. Russell S. Hercules Jr. was killed in action on 10/01/09.

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