A native of Spokane, WA, Honsowetz played high school football for Lewis & Clark and then on to the University of Idaho and coach Leo Calland. During his three varsity years under Calland and Coach Ted Bank, he was a starter and played all backfield positions including setting a record of 11 of 19 passes as a quarterback against PCC rival Oregon State.
He was a leader throughout his college days, serving as student body vice president, member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Blue Key, Scabbard and Blade, I-Club, and was voted the Inspirational Player during his senior year at Idaho. Russ joined the Marines and started his career as a Lt. in China until 1 941. He rose to the rank of Lt. Col., leading the 2nd Battalion in the assault on the Peleiu Islands.
For his extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy, he was awarded the Navy Cross by "Chesty" Fuller, Col USMC. Honsowetz was instrumental in the battle planning for the invasion of Okinawa, and following the surrender of the Japanese he led the 1st Marine division in disarming of the enemy troops in China. He served for three years as an aide to the Commandant at Quantico. VA.
He also served as the Marine athletic officer. Back to active duty in the Korean War, he commanded the 7th Marine Regiment against the Chinese forces for two years, He attended the War College and was an expert in Communist Aggression Tactics and made several trips to southeast Asia aiding this cause. Honsowetz rose to the rank of Brigadier General. He retired as a Colonel and spent many of his retired years as a consultant in the 60's and 70's in India with the British forces.
Honsowetz was married to the former Eileen Kennedy of Moscow in 1938, also an Idaho graduate and the family includes two sons, both Idaho graduates, William a Lt. in the USMC, and Russell Jr., who is an architect in the Bay area of San Francisco. The Honsowetz family resides in Alamo, Calif.