Russell Scharnberg - 1st Lieutenant

Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Date Of Birth: Jan 2, 1921
Date Of Death: Dec 5, 1944
War / Conflict: World War II
Hometown: Everly, Iowa
Gold Star Hall - Wall Location: West Wall (by Entrance Door)


Russel was born to his parents, Conrad C. Scharnberg and Viola A. Matthiesen, on January 2, 1921. He grew up in Everly, Iowa, with one brother, First Lieutenant Robert Lee Scharnberg, who was born February 6, 1920 and died in November 2008. He had served for 3.5 years with the Navy in the South Pacific with the Seabees stationed in the Marianas.

Russell graduated from Everly High School in 1939. He helped his father on the farm before going to Iowa State to study Aeronautical Engineering and graduating with the Bachelor of Science in 1943. He had enlisted in Ames May 25, 1942 and took flight traingin at Blythe and Minter fields, California in the summer of 1942. He received his commission and wings at Williams Field, Arizona, in February 1943. He had arrived in England in June 1944 and was promoted to first lieutenant.

Prior to going overseas, Russell married Patricia Ann Brooks on March 12, 1944.

Letter to the Memorial Union, November 21, 1946.

"Dear Mr. Pride,

Some time ago, we received a letter from you addressed to our son Russ. Well, Mr. Pride, Russ gave his life for our country December 5, 1944. He was a fighter pilot and was making his 49th mission when he was reported missing. We haven't heard any details as to what happened. After a year the final word came saying that he was presumed dead. This is very touching for me to have to tell you this, but I felt you should know there at Memorial Hall [Union]. Our sons, Bob and Russ, both graduated from Iowa State, and we hope Russ' little son, whom he'd never seen, will also be an Iowa Stater.

Sincerly, Mrs. Conrad C. Scharnberg." 

Lieutenant Russell C. Scharnberg died somewhere in Germany on December 5, 1944. He was serving with the 359th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Command, performing bomber escort. One newspaper also reported, he was "hammering the Hun" with his P-47 Thunderbolt fighter by attacking German "ground positions, bridges, supply lines, oild dumps, railroads, and marshalling yards, and chasing the Jerry's troops, tanks, and trucks from the roads of France."