Stuart Russell joined the Army as a Junior Leader in May 1975.He passed out of The Parachute Regiment Depot in 424 Platoon in June 1976 and was posted to 2 PARA. His first tour of Northern Ireland (NI) in December 1976, in West Belfast, was followed by Berlin (1977-1979).
Stu Russell completed the Signals Standard 2 Cadre in 1977 and was posted to Sigs Pl. He Passed PNCO's Cadre in March 1979 and was promoted to L/Cpl.
He returned to NI for an 18 month tour at Ballykinler, where he was lucky to survive the ambush at Warrenpoint when travelling in the lead vehicle.
Stu Russell passed the Regt Sigs Std 1 course at Warminster in 1980, and then returned to Warminster in 1981 to attend the Regt Sigs Instrs Course, finishing as top student. Promoted to Cpl, he was made the Detachment Commander of B Coy Sigs Det in 1981 and remained in this post for the Falklands War in 1982.
On return from the Falklands, he completed the Sect Comds Battle Course (Jnr Brecon) earning a Distinguished Pass.
1983 saw him remaining as B Coy Sigs Det Comd for the 6 month tour of Belize (Holdfast Camp)and at the end of the tour, went back to Brecon to complete the Pl Sgt's Battle Course, where he earned an Instructor Recommendation.
Promoted to Sgt in January 1984, he was given the role of Sigs Pl Sgt/Acting (unpaid!) RSWO.
Later that year he was posted to 4 PARA as Signals Permanent Staff Instructor, before returning to 2 PARA in 1986 as Pl Sgt 1 Pl A Coy. Exercises in Oman and Kenya were followed by the Jungle Warfare Instructor's Course in Brunei where he gained a Distinguished Pass and earned an Instructor Recommendation.
2 PARA then moved to Ternhill Camp in Shropshire before they embarked on a another 6 month tour of Belize. This time he was Pl Sgt in A Coy in the south of the country at Salamanca Camp.
Promoted to CSgt in Jan 1988 he remained with 1 Pl until they returned to Tern Hill in April 19888, when he took over as A Coy Company Quarter Master Sergeant (CQMS).
In October 1988 he was posted to Brecon as CSgt Instructor on the Pl Sgt's Battle Course. At the end of his Brecon tour he was posted to 3 PARA in Palace Barracks, NI, where he was given the task of organising the bn's move back to Aldershot the following February.
On return to Aldershot he took over as B Coy CQMS and deployed with the coy to Kenya and East Tyrone. The three month East Tyrone tour was eventful to say the least. He began it as CQMS B Coy in Dungannon, then took over as a Pl Comd in C Coy for a month before being promoted to WO2 and took over as D (Ptl) Coy CSM in Cookstown.
In 1993 he was posted back to Brecon as Divisional Sergeant Major of Jnr Div (Sect Comd's Battle Course). On completion of this tour he attended the Regimental Quarter Master Sergeants' (RQMS) Course at Deepcut and was selected as RQMS(T) of 2 PARA. During this period 2 PARA deployed to the USA on Ex PURPLE STAR and late in 1996 deployed once again to NI and Bessbrook Mill, South Armagh. On completion of that tour he was promoted to WO1 Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) and posted to 4 PARA as RSM in March 1997.
In 1998 he was selected for a Late Entry Commission and on April Fools Day 1999 he was promoted to Capt and posted to RHQ in Aldershot as Regtl Recruiting Offr.
In Jan 2000 he took over as Officer Commanding (OC) Red Devils Freefall Team in Netheravon, a posting which took him to Cyprus, California and South Africa.
In 2003 he was posted to 1 PARA in Dover but instead of taking part in the invasion in Iraq, he remained behind as OC Rear Party :-(
In October 2003 he took over as Motor Transport Officer and in Jan 2005 took over as QM(T) before deploying the bn to NI and South Armagh for what was to be The Parachute Regiment's last ever operational tour to NI.
In May 2005 he was posted to 3 PARA in Colchester to take over as QM. The next few months saw the battalion in preparation for the UK's first deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, after a demanding 1 month work up in Oman. The first soldier from 3 PARA to arrive in Helmand, he spent the first two months in Forward Operating Base (FOB) PRICE, Gereshk, before moving to Camp Bastion to take over as OC HQ Coy and the role of Battle Group Logistics Officer.
He remained OC HQ Coy 3 PARA until Oct 2008 before being posted to RAF Brize Norton as OC Parachute Course Administration Unit (now Parachute Training Support Unit). This was his final posting, and after 35 years in The Parachute Regiment, he retired in December 2010.
But it doesn't quite end there! After an 8 month break, he joined 4 PARA on an Full Time Reserve Service contract in the rank of Capt as Permanent Staff Administration Officer (PSAO) of B Coy 4 PARA in White City, London. Old habits die hard! He retires on 11 Oct 2018 after 43 years in the Parachute Regiment.