Born January 14, 1943, at Fort Benning, Georgia, Russell Childress graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965. He began his career in the US Army Reserve in 1967 as a Maintenance Officer in the 310th Logistical Command in Washington, DC. In 1968, he was selected to serve as Aide de Camp to the Deputy Commanding General, 310th Logistical Command, and then from 1969 to 1973 as Aide de Camp to the Commanding General of the redesignated 310th Field Army Support Command. His service continued with that unit as Armament Maintenance Officer. Childress next served, from 1976 to 1980, as the USAR Training Development Army Reserve Advisor to the Ordnance Center and School.
From 1981 to 1985, he was a Command and General Staff College Instructor and Assistant Director of Officers Courses in the 2071st US Army Reserve Forces (USARF) School at Owings Mills, Maryland. Childress's next assignment was as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA), from 1985 to 1988, at Headquarters, US Army Materiel Command, Alexandria, Virginia. His final assignment was as Commander, 2076th USARF School, Wilmington, Delaware. He implemented a unique program for weekend maintenance training at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) for more than 200 National Guard and Reserve Soldiers. His school provided superb support during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, when more than a third of the instructors were called to active duty and sent to numerous installations, to include more than 40 to the Ordnance Center and School (OC&S), where they seamlessly filled in, training recalled Individual Ready Reservists. COL Childress retired from the US Army Reserve in 1992.
Long before that, however, he had begun his other career as a Department of the Army civilian, working for OC&S starting in 1973. He quickly progressed to Education Specialist, in 1980, in the Directorate of Training and Doctrine. From 1981 to 1983 he was a Resource Requirements Specialist in the Directorate of Combat Developments. From 1983 to 1988, he served as Deputy Director and then Director of Evaluation and Standardization, pioneering the establishment of a nationwide system of Regional Training Sites for Maintenance (RTS-M). He also played a key role implementing the Chief of Staff of the Army's Award for Maintenance Excellence Program.
In recognition of his expertise as an educator and training manager, Childress was promoted to Senior Civilian and Technical Director at OC&S, a position later redesignated Deputy Assistant Commandant. He handled the complex issue of moving training on Mobile Electric Power and Environmental Control Equipment from Fort Belvoir to APG. He was also instrumental in executing the Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) reorganization, moving the Ordnance combat and training development functions to CASCOM. In addition, he also played a key role in the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Consolidation Study leading to Multicapable Maintainers for the Bradley and Abrams systems. Mr. Childress retired in 2001, adding 28 years of distinguished service as a Department of the Army civilian to his 28 years of invaluable contributions to the Ordnance Corps as a US Army reservist.