SQUADRON BIOGRAPHIES

Commanding Officer Marc Russon

LTjg Marc Russon has been working as an adult volunteer in the Sea Cadet Program since 2015 due to his son’s involvement with the program.  As a civilian military communications engineer, he spent 35 years working directly with Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force personnel.  This experience has given him insights into military personnel training.  He spent over 2 years deployed abroad at military bases in Europe, the Mediterranean and Central America and many months working at military facilities and Navy vessels integrating state-of-the-art systems throughout his career. Most of his work involved development of advanced products for the Department of Defense including projects for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).  He has also actively worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  His most recent projects involved new concepts in electronic warfare (EW) for the Navy.  He retired in 2018 as the Director for Emerging Technology from L3 Communications.

Executive Officer Courtney Putnam

LT Courtney Putnam was born, raised, and attended school in Texas and Oklahoma. After high school he joined the United States Navy and served twenty years on nuclear submarines as a Sonar Technician, retiring in 2005 as a Chief Petty Officer. The last 8 years of his military career he served at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as a military Master Training Specialist teaching sonar physics and submarine ship control. He holds a BS in Education from Wayland Baptist University and a post-graduate degree in Management also from WBU. He is currently employed by Hill AFB as an Industrial Engineering Technician. He is responsible for planning commodities maintenance for B-2, A-10, B-1B, and various other aircraft. He has been involved in Sea Cadets since 2006. He is married with two children and resides in Hooper City.

Cindy  Cannon, MD (Auxiliary)

Cindy Cannon became part of USNSCC in 2016 due to her son’s interest in the military. Observing the transformative experience he had and the opportunities available to him inspired her to get more involved. She currently helps in several aspects of unit operations, primarily culinary and education support, photography, media and documentation. She currently works as an OB/GYN physician. Her son is currently active duty US Coast Guard serving on the USCGC Kimball in Honolulu.

Our Primary Sponsor

We are sponsored by The American Legion, Post 27, located in Farmington, Utah. Established in 1919, members strive to promote civic pride. The Farmington Legion and Auxiliary members have carried out regular service projects through the years to aid the town citizens and the needy families of veterans in the State of Utah, as well as those in veterans’ and children’s hospitals. Regular trips have been made to the Veterans’ Hospital in Salt Lake City to serve refreshments and provide musical programs for the entertainment of those disabled veterans who were lucky enough to return from the battle fields alive. 

 

The Jake Garn Squadron submits an article in the American Legion newsletter, every month, summarizing the current months drill experiences.  Click the American Legion logo to access their website and the newsletters. 

Our Namesake

The Jake Garn Squadron is named for Edwin Jacob “Jake” Garn, a prominent Utah Senator, Navy pilot, Air Force pilot and astronaut. 

Born in Richfield, Utah to a father who was a World War I fighter pilot, it was only natural that Brigadier General Edwin (Jake) Garn would gravitate to flying. Garn graduated from the University of Utah and was commissioned through the Naval ROTC program. By 1957, he was a pilot stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington with the maritime patrol squadron VP-50 where he flew Martin P5M Marlin sea planes. The Marlin was the predecessor to the Lockheed P-3C aircraft later used by VP-50.

VP-50 was a long-lived Patrol Squadron of the U.S. Navy, having held that designation for 39 years from 1953 to 1992. Its nickname was the Blue Dragons. A Blue dragon is shown on the VP-50 Patch grasping a submarine.

While stationed at Whidbey, Garn deployed Iwakuni, Japan, where he and his crew conducted reconnaissance missions that lasted ten or more hours at a time cruising up and down the entire east coast of China. The crew monitored all activity, including submarine movement. Because reconnaissance depended mostly on the eyes of the crew members with some assistance from radar, Garn says he got to know the coast of China better than he has ever known the coasts of the U.S.

Some flights were uneventful; others were not. On one mission, Garn’s aircraft was approached by a MiG-15. The fighter flew so close that Garn could clearly see the pilot’s face. He said, “We had no air to air guns.” After several minutes, the pilot waved and flew away. Garn still vividly remembers the pilot’s face. After seven months, the crew returned to Whidbey Island to assume other missions.

In 1960, Garn completed his Navy commitment, and in 1963, he joined the Utah Air National Guard. In the early days of America’s Vietnam involvement, Garn flew supply missions to Vietnam. Garn piloted a C-124, the largest plane in the military fleet, and not-so-affectionately known as “Old Shaky.”

He continued his public service, beginning in 1968 as a Salt Lake City Commissioner, Mayor, and then U.S. Senator for 18 years. During this time, his membership on key committees and subcommittees allowed him to be an incredibly effective proponent of spaceflight and NASA.

In November of 1984, Senator Garn was invited by NASA to fly as a payload specialist on flight 51-D of the space shuttle Discovery. During the seven-day mission, he performed various medical tests. Space Shuttle Discovery Flight 51-D landed at Cape Canaveral on April 19, 1985 after orbiting the earth 109 times.

He was promoted to Brigadier General, following his flight with NASA

Watch the Jake Garn Short Documentary Here:

https://vimeo.com/187099850

© 2018 by Jake Garn Squadron, USNSCC.