Russell C. Ware
Director, Cemetery and Memorial Program
Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs
Russell Ware began his career of service in 1987 as a volunteer fire-fighter while still attending high school. In 1990 he graduated from Judson High, Converse, Texas and immediately entered service in the United States Air Force as a Security Policeman. During his nearly twenty five years of service he was assigned to Air Force One Security for Presidents Clinton and Bush, security oversight for multiple intelligence gathering platforms and deployed to hazardous locations in support of Combined Joint Task Force Bravo, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Support Justice IV, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, and provided direct distant support to Operation Noble Anvil and Noble Eagle. Throughout his career he held several positions of leadership and taught combat survival and security skills to several U.S. and foreign military and civilian personnel.
His major decorations include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 1 Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with “N” device and bronze oak leaf cluster, and Humanitarian Service Medal.
In 2009 Russ began riding with the Patriot Guard Riders and in 2012 he became a Life Member of the VFW, Annapolis Post 304. In 2014 he graduated Magna Cum Laude with his BA in Homeland Security from American Military University. He is an Alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project, IAVA and a member of the USAF Security Forces Association.
In August of 2015 he retired from the Air Force and began squiring for the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The following year he became a knight and jousts, full-contact, in approximately 110 pounds of stainless steel armor.
In March of 2016 Russ started working for the state as the Deputy Director of Memorials and Cemeteries for the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs. On March 6, 2019, Russ was appointed as the Director of the Cemetery and Memorials Program.