Last Known Activity Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, he moved to the United States and served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army during WW II. He was an instructor in parachuting and explosives. On June 6, 1944, he was training troops at Camp MacKall North Carolina. A charge exploded in his hands, resulting in the loss of both hands. In 1946 he was in the movie "The Best Years of Our Lives", portraying a war veteran Homer Parrish, who had lost both hands in the Navy. For his role in the movie, he won TWO academy awards, one for best supporting actor, and a second special award for "bringing aid and comfort to disabled veterans through the medium of motion pictures". Harold Russell was the only person to ever receive two academy awards for the same role. After the war, Russell wrote two books, served three tours as national commander of AMVETS and worked as a major advocate for disabled veterans. The top annual award of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities is called The Harold Russell Medal. Mr. Russell became so adept with the hooks that replaced his hands, that he would often joke that he could do anything but pick up a dinner check with them.
The 13th Airborne Division was an airborne formation in the United States Army during World War II, and was commanded by Major General Eldridge Chapman. It was officially activated in August 1943 at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, remaining active until February 1946, but never saw combat.