During the late 1930’s and early 1940’s the Army Air Corp aggressively recruited young men to join, and early in 1941 Russell enlisted.  He underwent basic training and additional training in San Antonio and was assigned to Luke Field as a Link Trainer Mechanic.   There he ensured that the trainers were in operating condition and maintained them.  He also impressed one of his officers who encouraged him to pursue Officer Training.  Russell did so and Flight training soon followed. 

The images to the left show a Link Trainer like those that Russell maintained. The immediate left shows the instrument panel.  The photo below that is of the mechanical base.

You can visit this trainer at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas.
 
The photo above was taken during Russell's time as a Link Trainer Mechanic
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