HONORED FOR SERVICE — Russel Fielding, left, a commissioned officer in the Army in World War II and 1st Lieutenant during the Korean Conflict, is honored by State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, during a ceremony Tuesday in Albany. Fielding, of New Hartford, was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame. (Photo submitted)

Local man receives induction into State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame

Published May 20, 2018 at 9:00am

Russel Fielding, a commissioned officer in the Army in World War II and 1st Lieutenant during the Korean Conflict, has been inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame.

“Russel serves as a shining example of America’s Greatest Generation, having served his country and the cause of freedom in not one, but two wars,” said Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, who nominated Fielding for the honor. “He demonstrated remarkable courage, bravery and compassion while facing the dangerous and extreme conditions of war. I am proud to honor and recognize him and all of the other brave men and women of the state Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame.”

Fielding first served as a commissioned officer in the Army’s 222nd Infantry Regiment from June 1944 to September 1946 during World War II and again as a 1st Lieutenant from April 1951 to July 1952 during the Korean Conflict.

While assigned to the 42nd Infantry’s Rainbow Division during World War II, Fielding took part in several campaigns and was the proud recipient of numerous decorations, including the Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Combat Infantry Badge and a Presidential Unit Citation.

On Jan. 25, 1945, Fielding sustained wounds as a result of a firefight at his command post with enemy forces for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. In the midst of this incursion by German forces and the ensuing battle that took the lives of several of his comrades, Fielding sheltered and eventually evacuated a number of wounded enemy soldiers brought by a German medic to his command post under the cover of a Red Cross flag.

After arriving at the notorious concentration camp at Dachau on the day it was liberated from German forces, Fielding witnessed firsthand some of the worst atrocities of the war and carries those memories to this day. He also witnessed justice served to the perpetrators of those atrocities when he attended the International War Tribunal at Nuremburg following the end of the war.

Upon his discharge from the Army, Fielding completed his education and earned a degree from the University of Illinois. As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, he was called back to active duty during the Korean Conflict, where he served in a noncombat role in Korea and Japan.

The State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from New York who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life. 

Fielding, was recognized by Griffo during a ceremony Tuesday in Albany, where Fielding was joined by his wife, Darlene. 

Fielding embarked on a career with the Rome Daily Sentinel spanning 39 years until his retirement in 1985. He and Darlene have two children and several grandchildren.