Russell Brakefield

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Russell Brakefield (born August 22, 1927 in Haleyville, Winston County; died July 2, 2021 in Gardendale)

Brakefield graduated from Ensley High School. During World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to serve on board the U.S.S. Mazama, which delivered ammunition to battleships in the Pacific theater. Brakefield believed it was because of his height that he was ordered to don dress whites and attend the Empire of Japan's formal surrender to allied forces on board the U.S.S. Missouri' on September 2, 1945.

After the war, Brakefield took a job with the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co.. He and his wife, Syble raised three children.


  • Garrison, Greg (July 2, 2021) "Alabama man who witnessed Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri dies at 93." The Birmingham News