Russel L. Honoré
Russel L. Honoré (/ˈɒnəreɪ/ ON-ər-ay; born 1947) is a retired
Lieutenant General who served as the 33rd commanding general of the
U.S. First Army
U.S. First Army at Fort Gillem, Georgia. He is best known for serving
as commander of
Joint Task Force Katrina
Joint Task Force Katrina responsible for coordinating
military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across
Gulf Coast and as the 2nd Infantry Division's commander while
stationed in South Korea. He served until his retirement from the Army
on January 11, 2008. Honoré is sometimes known as "The Ragin'
Cajun", although he is actually of
Louisiana Creole with a West
Indies background, whose family came through the port of New Orleans
and settled in the Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. The Honoré
family surname is still found among the Cane River Créoles.
1 Early life and education
Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Maria comments
3 Personal life
4 Awards and decorations
5 See also
7 External links
Early life and education
A native of Lakeland in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, and youngest
of 12 children, Honoré earned a Bachelor of Science degree in
Vocational Agriculture from
Southern University and A&M College in
1971. He also holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy
State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public
Southern University and A&M College. He has
received leadership development training from the international
civilian Center for Creative Leadership.
Prior to his appointment on July 15, 2004 as Commander, First United
States Army, Honoré served in a variety of command and staff
South Korea and Germany. He served as Commanding General,
2nd Infantry Division in South Korea; Vice Director for Operations,
J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; Deputy Commanding General and
United States Army Infantry Center and School,
Fort Benning, Georgia; and Assistant Division Commander,
Maneuver/Support, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
On June 13, 2002, in South Korea, soldiers from the 2nd Infantry
Division were on a training mission near the North Korean border when
their vehicle hit two 14-year-old girls on a narrow public road. In
July 2002, the U.S. military indicted Sgt. Mark Walker and Sgt.
Fernando Nino on charges of negligent homicide. They were later found
not guilty. Honoré (then a major general) responded by visiting the
victims' parents and promising the U.S. military would build a
memorial near the accident site to honor the girls.
Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita
On August 31, 2005, Honoré was designated commander of Joint Task
Force Katrina responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for
Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across the Gulf Coast. Honoré's
New Orleans came after what was widely believed to be a
poor performance by the state and local agencies and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its director Michael D. Brown.
He gained media celebrity and accolades for his apparent turning
around of the situation in the city as well as his gruff management
style which contrasted with what many felt were the empty platitudes
of civilian officials. In one widely played clip, Honoré was seen on
the streets of the city, barking orders to subordinates and, in one
case, berating a soldier who displayed a weapon, telling him "We're on
a rescue mission damn it!"
New Orleans Mayor
Ray Nagin was quoted on a
radio interview September 1, 2005, saying: "Now, I will tell you
this—and I give the president some credit on this—he sent one John
Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is
Gen. Honoré. And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started
cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff
done." Stars and Stripes, the unofficial newspaper of the United
States Armed Forces, reported that Honoré had previous experience
dealing with flooding at many South Korean bases during monsoon season
and supervised the installation of flood control measures.
On September 20, 2005, at a press conference with Nagin on Hurricane
Rita, Honoré made headlines nationwide when he told a reporter not to
get "stuck on stupid" in reference to a question about the government
response to Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Maria comments
Hurricane Maria devastated
Puerto Rico in 2017, Honoré
described the situation in the U.S. territory as being "like a war"
and said it was significantly worse than
New Orleans in the aftermath
of Katrina. Honoré criticized the Trump administration's response
to the crisis, saying it demanded a greater and more rapid response,
with a larger commitment of U.S. troops to provide emergency
assistance, and told
CNN anchor Erin Burnett, "The president has
shown again he don't give a damn about poor people. He doesn't give a
damn about people of color."
In late August 2009, there were reports that Honoré would run for
U.S. Senate in 2010 in his native
Louisiana as a Republican against
incumbent Republican Senator David Vitter. On August 31, when
asked point-blank on
CNN about the reports, Honoré expressed
admiration for individuals who aspire to serve in public office but
said that he had no plans to seek the Senate seat.
Honoré describes himself an "
African-American Creole", a combination
that includes French, African, American Indian and Spanish
During the halftime of the
Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana,
on December 30, 2005, Honoré was honored with the Omar N. Bradley
"Spirit of Independence Award" because of his leadership in the
New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Honoré was also awarded the Key to the City Award to
New Orleans in
Recognition of his Exemplary Military Service during the third
anniversary of Katrina ceremonies.
He resides in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana with his wife, Beverly and their
four children, two sons: Sergeant Michael Honore and First Lieutenant
Steven Honore and two daughters, Stephanie and Kimberly.
Awards and decorations
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Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit (four Oak Leaf Clusters)
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters
Army Superior Unit Award
National Defense Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal (two Bronze Service Stars)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal (one Bronze Service Star)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korean Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon (with numeral 4)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Expert Infantryman Badge
Basic Parachutist Badge
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
United States Army portal
Southern University alumni
List of Troy University alumni
^ [dead link] Bluestein, Greg (January 8, 2008). "Katrina General
Retiring from the Army".
Associated Press (via Yahoo! News). Retrieved
January 1, 2008.
^ "Ragin' Cajuns" is also the trademarked nickname of the athletic
teams of the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette.
^ Honoré, Russel L.; Martz, Ron (2009), Survival: How a Culture of
Preparedness Can Save You and Your Family from Disasters, p. 26,
ISBN 9781416599005, retrieved 10 June 2015
^ Jackson Free Press Transcript: New Orleans’ Mayor C. Ray
Nagin’s Interview Archived 2006-05-18 at the Wayback Machine.
Fox News Story 8/29/06. Fox News.
^ "Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who led Katrina relief, slams
response to Puerto Rico". CBS News. September 29, 2017. Retrieved
September 30, 2017.
Puerto Rico Relief Effort Replays Scene From Katrina, Retired
General Says". National Public Radio. September 28, 2017. Retrieved
September 30, 2017.
^ Summers, Juana (September 30, 2017). "Trump attacks San Juan mayor
over hurricane response". CNN. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
^ General Russell Honore To Run Vs
David Vitter In
Louisiana US Race?
Archived 2009-09-01 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Katrina: The Aftermath: First Army's 'Ragin' Cajun'". The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution. September 14, 2005.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Russel Honoré.
generalhonore.com, official website of General Honoré, LLC
Russel Honoré on IMDb
Appearances on C-SPAN
National Veteran's Day profile
Department of Defense article
"Theater Immersion Postmobilization Training in the First Army", by
Russel L. Honoré
Russel L. Honoré & Colonel Daniel L. Zajac
Pentagon deploys ships, helicopters, rescuers to hurricane-ravaged
Article on cnn.com about Honoré
Associated Press profile on Honoré
Category 5 General:" Washington Post "Style" Section Article
(September 12, 2005)
Russel Honoré on why he apologized for the death of teens caused by
U.S. servicemen in South Korea
The US Embassy to South Korea's response on the deaths
Video of September 20, 2005, press conference
Transcript and audio of September 20, 2005, press conference
Omar N. Bradley
Omar N. Bradley "Spirit of Independence Award"