Russell “Rotor” Rakip

PAVE LOW Pilot #133
Commander 20th SOS 8 Jun 1992 - 10 Jun 1994


Col. Russell E. Rakip Jr., 53, of Dover, FL, formerly of Ayer, MA,  died unexpectedly on Thursday, August 5, 2004 in his home.

Mr. Rakip was born in Nashua, NH, a son of Florence E. (Sullivan) Rakip and the late Russell E. Rakip Sr., and has resided in Dover for the past four years. Prior to moving to Dover, Col. Rakip had resided in Washington, D.C., Texas, Okinawa and England.

He was a 1969 graduate of Ayer High School and had attended St. Mary’s Church in Ayer. Russ graduated in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Lowell Technological Institute. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1974, completing his helicopter undergraduate training at Fort Rucker, AL, and served as a special mission planner from 1980-1986. As a special mission planner, Col. Rakip served as the sole USAF helicopter pilot on the first rescue attempt of American hostages held by Iran in Operation EAGLE CLAW (Desert One)

Before his recent retirement, Col. Rakip served his country for more than 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. During his career, he became a highly-trained helicopter pilot and was assigned to missions in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Later in his career he was assigned to the Pentagon in Washington, DC. He was presented with many commendations, including two purple hearts.

During his years of service, he influenced those who worked around him with "professionalism and unique insight" as he planned invasions to Grenada and Panama. Col Rakip was inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame posthumously on October 9, 2010.

Besides his mother of Ayer, he is survived by a brother, Mark P. Rakip of LaMirada, Calif.; a sister, Ellen E. McCann of Leominster; three nieces, Kerry McCann, Caitlin McCann and Kristin Rakip; and a nephew, Philip Rakip. He also leaves several cousins, aunts and uncles.

He was predeceased by a brother, Philip J. Rakip, who died in 1977.