HomeAbout UsBiographiesDisplay

RUSSELL A. ROURKE

PRINT | E-MAIL

Russell A. Rourke was the 15th secretary of the Air Force.

He was born in New York City in 1931. He graduated with honors from the University of Maryland with a bachelor of arts degree in 1953, and earned a bachelor of laws degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1959.

He was associated with the law firm of Keogh, Carey and Costello in Washington, D.C., before beginning his government career in 1960. His first government position was as administrative assistant to Republican Congressman John R. Pillion of New York and in 1965 became administrative assistant to Republican Congressman Henry P. Smith III of New York.

In 1974, Rourke was the Republican-Conservative nominee for Congress from the 36th District of New York.

Following that candidacy, he became deputy to Presidential Counselor John O. Marsh Jr. He was appointed special assistant to President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. His principal responsibilities included legislative liaison between the White House and Congress, and participating in policy and program meetings with the president, members of the Cabinet and White House senior staff. Rourke also undertook special projects assigned by President Ford, and his final responsibilities included assignment to the White House Transition Team in 1977.

Rourke then served as the administrative assistant to Republican Congressman Harold S. Sawyer of Michigan, and, in May 1981, was sworn in as assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs for the Department of Defense. In that capacity, Rourke was the principal adviser to Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, on congressional consideration of the department's legislative program, maintaining direct liaison with the Congress, the executive office of the president and other government agencies on defense legislative matters, and overseeing the military departments congressional activities on defense matters. He was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal by Secretary Weinberger for his superb service.

In July 1985, Rourke retired as a colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve after 32 years service. He served as the commanding officer of Marine Air Control Squadron 24, Quantico, Va., from 1972 to 1974. Prior to joining the Reserve, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1953, completing active duty as a first lieutenant after serving a tour of duty in Korea. His decorations include the Legion of Merit.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#DYK: #24thSOW operators have a team of 40+ human-performance-providers in their arsenal, working to prepare, mold… https://t.co/H45g0WAKs4
RT @DeptofDefense: The @USAirForce calls them Prime Beef 🥩. Join the airmen of this base engineer emergency force as they hone their combat…
Every #Airman has a story and their unique, diverse backgrounds only make our fighting force stronger. Read how thi… https://t.co/yy8SQcJkNo
.@USAFCENT #Airmen keep an eye in the sky, provide long-range radar surveillance at #AlUdeidAirBase.… https://t.co/EJXwQfc9Wl
#Airmen @28thBombWing are replacing outdated multi-purpose vehicles - nicknamed bread trucks - w/ five new transit… https://t.co/zx6Kd979jm
Any time, any place! An independent duty medical technician #Airman @Hurlburt_Field performs life-saving procedures… https://t.co/0a36WYRHux
The 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron @BagramAirfield keeps #Airmen connected downrange. https://t.co/5RBafip23c
RT @DeptofDefense: Training to be the best! A @USAirForce pilot trains in the 360-degree Operational Flight Training Simulator at @Sheppar
An #Airman assigned @TeamMinot crouches in rotor wash in the Turtle Mountain State Forest, during a field training… https://t.co/ERqU5OnEJ0
Threatening weather does not stop once hurricane season ends, and it becomes the mission of the #HurricaneHunters t… https://t.co/ad5VuNO6mP
Virtual, augmented reality may hold key to future #AirForce training. Find out how: https://t.co/FAcEaj4w6f https://t.co/7tdpioVtu9
#MentorMonday: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mu… https://t.co/PjGcBMVliB
Our partnerships and @NATO allies help keep our mission moving forward. https://t.co/5R4ZB7XqXs
$40M up for grabs! Find out how your small business can make some cash while helping solve some of the #USAF's toug… https://t.co/0AEmZhZGdI
RT @SecAFOfficial: Happy birthday 🎉 to #USAF Col & #space pioneer Buzz Aldrin @TheRealBuzz ✈️🚀 https://t.co/gIsicyA1uk
#Innovation! First metallic #3Dprinted part installed on an operational #F22 Raptor @HAFB. The new part will not co… https://t.co/rkKr1jtThg
Practice makes perfect! These #SpecOps medical experts maintain readiness & relevance for all operations, today and… https://t.co/WMpdt9LTGe
Remembering a woman who changed the world: Millicent Young, Women #AirForce Service Pilot in World War II, dies at… https://t.co/mri1QRXOC8
From fast food to future technology, one #Airman found a new calling @AirNatlGuard and decided to ditch the fryer f… https://t.co/I8qX7GpH4n