Russell Ogan was born on November 20, 1923, in Reading, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on November 17, 1942, and went on active duty for the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on February 1, 1943. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Army Air Forces and awarded his pilot wings on February 8, 1944, and then completed Instructor Pilot School, Fighter Gunnery School, and P-47 Thunderbolt transition training from February to November 1944. Lt Ogan's next assignment was as a P-47 pilot with the 404th Fighter Squadron of the 371st Fighter Group in France from December 1944 to May 1945, and then on occupation duty in Germany from May to November 1945. He left active duty on December 16, 1945, and later joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard on February 27, 1947, where he served with the 148th Fighter Squadron until returning to active duty in the U.S. Air Force on January 4, 1951. Maj Ogan served as Commander of the 148th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dover AFB, Delaware, from January to November 1951, and then as Combat Operations Officer and as Operations and Training Staff Officer for the 5001st Composite Wing at Ladd AFB, Alaska, from November 1951 to April 1953. His next assignment was as Chief of Combat Operations and then as Director of Combat Operations with the 11th Air Division at Ladd AFB from April to December 1953, followed by service as Chief and then Director of the Combat Operations Center for Headquarters Western Air Defense Sector of Air Defense Command at Hamilton AFB, California, from December 1953 to September 1955. Col Ogan served on the staff of Headquarters Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado, from October 1955 to June 1960, and then as Director of the Aerospace Defense Systems Office of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division at Los Angeles, California, from June 1960 to August 1962. He attended National War College at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., from August 1962 to July 1963, followed by service on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Lindsey AS, West Germany, from July 1963 to March 1964. His next assignment was as Deputy Commander of Sector Operations and then as Sector Commander with the Allied Sector Operations Center at Langerkopf, West Germany, from March 1964 to January 1965, and then as Commander of Allied Sector 3 at Erbeskopf, West Germany, from January to May 1965. Col Ogan served as Special Assistant to the Commander and then as Vice Commander of the 86th Air Division at Ramstein AB, West Germany, from May 1965 to July 1966, followed by service as Deputy Director of Personnel Data and Records with the U.S. Air Force Military Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, from July 1966 to July 1968. His next assignment was as Commander of the 71st Missile Warning Wing at Ent AFB from July 1968 to July 1969, and then as Vice Commander of the 14th Aerospace Force at Ent AFB from July 1969 to June 1971. Gen Ogan served as Deputy Director of Personnel Programs, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from June 1971 to June 1972, followed by service as Director of Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Affairs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs at the Pentagon from June 1972 to July 1973. During this time he was responsible for the planning and organizing of Operation Homecoming, the mission to repatriate the American Prisoners of War held in North Vietnam between February and April 1973. His final assignment was as Joint U.S. Deputy Chief of Staff of Live OAK with U.S. European Command, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium from July 1973 until his retirement from the Air Force on September 1, 1974. Russell Ogan died on December 18, 2012, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, awards the Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General Russell G. Ogan for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. General Ogan distinguished himself as Director, Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Task Force, Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, from 19 June 1972 to 15 July 1973. With eminent distinction, General Ogan worked closely with the highest echelons of the government in formulating Prisoner of War/Missing in Action policies. He personally supervised the highly successful "Operation Homecoming", and as the official representative of the United States Government, he received the prisoners as they were released from their detention areas in North Vietnam. His compassionate approach and sincerity have made General Ogan invaluable in dealings with the families of the missing and captured. His actions have brought comfort to the next of kin of these men and led them to better understand United States policies and efforts made in their behalf. The President of the United States personally singled General Ogan out and expressed his special efforts in behalf of all our men who were held prisoner or are listed as missing. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of General Ogan reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.