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Col. Russell L. Adams, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, is the Medical Group Commander for the 171st Air Refueling Wing. As the Medical Group Commander, Col. Adams is responsible for the 70 unit members required to carry out wing health care services. He formulates plans, establishes policies and procedures for delivering health care services and assures health care support for mission accomplishment. Lastly, he implements programs such as total force training and disaster preparedness.



Col. Russell Adams attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and a Minor in German Studies in 1997.  From there, Col. Adams went on to study at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where he earned his Doctor of Osteopathy degree in 2001.  He completed a Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Ohio State University to round out his education.  As a civilian physician, Col. Adams is a primary care sports medicine physician, a family physician and an emergency room physician.  He works as the head team physician for West Allegheny High School and Our Lady of Sacred Heart.  He provides FAA physicals for local pilots and his fellow guard members.


Col. Russell Adams was commissioned in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard at the 111th Fighter Wing in Willow Grove as a 2nd Lieutenant in 2000.  He was commissioned to the medical corps in 2001 as a Captain.  In 2002 he transitioned to the 171st Air Refueling Wing where he initially served as a Family Medicine provider and the medical director of immunizations.  He earned his Flight Surgeon certification in 2006 and has worked in various functions in the Medical Group as well as served as the 146th ARS medical officer in charge.  He has participated in two humanitarian missions to Uganda and Panama as well as two innovative readiness training missions in Hawaii.  He supported the hurricane relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina and deployed to Manas Air Base in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He has also supported numerous statewide emergency response exercises in support of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear enhanced response force package and homeland emergency response force missions.


1997 Minor, German Studies, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.

1997 Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.

2001 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa.

2004 Family Practice Residency, Medical Center Beaver, Beaver Falls, Pa.

2005 Sports Medicine Fellowship, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

2009 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2013 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence


1.  June 2000–March 2002, Medical Services Corps, 111th Fighter Wing, Willow Grove, Pa.

2.  April 2002–September 2016, Flight Surgeon, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa.

3.  October 2016-Present, Commander 171st Medical Group, Coraopolis, Pa.



Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Unit Award

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf clusters

National Defense Service Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with one oak leaf clusters

Air Force Longevity service Ribbon with three oak leaf cluster

Armed Forces Reserve Medal

Small Arms Expert Ribbon



American Board of Family Practice

American Academy of Family Physicians



Second Lieutenant, June 24, 2000

Captain, Dec. 10, 2001

Major, July 13, 2005

Lieutenant Colonel, Sept. 19, 2009

Colonel, June 28, 2018

(Current as of September 2020)