Richard B. Russell Regional Airport (RMG) is presently the largest aviation facility north of the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport in Georgia. Due to the airport’s location and support facilities, a large contingency of Atlanta based military units conduct aviation training missions at Russell Field.
Development of Russell Field began in 1942 with the purchase of 670 acres of land by Floyd County. Shortly after development, the land was turned over to the Department of the Navy for use as a Naval Auxiliary Base. After building 3 asphalt runways, the Department of the Navy discontinued its use of the airport.
In 1945, the airport was deeded back to Floyd County and replaced the original airport that was once located on the property of General Electric Transformer Manufacturing Plant.
From 1955 to 1972, various airline services operated out of Russell Field.
In 1971, the Board of Commissioners renamed “Russell Field” to the “Richard B. Russell Airport” after the death of esteemed Georgia Senator, Richard B. Russell. An influential figure in Georgia’s history and a former member of the Senate Armed Services Commission, Senator Russell played a key part in the advancement of Georgia’s infrastructure.
In 2007, the terminal building was named after Admiral John H. Towers, the Father of Naval Aviation. Born and raised in Rome, Georgia, Admiral Towers conceived, organized, and commanded the first Transatlantic flight in Curtiss NC Flying Boats in 1919. He also served as the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet during the early years of the Cold War and was the first military officer from the State of Georgia to reach four star status.
Along with his many accomplishments, Admiral Towers was recognized as the head of the Bureau of Aeronautics and forged the carrier doctrine that spearheaded the defeat of Japan.
He was also a personal friend to every U.S. President from Taft to Eisenhower. In 2015, the Georgia Historical Society, along with the City of Rome and the Rome Area Heritage Foundation, erected a historical marker of Admiral Towers on Broad Street in Rome, Georgia.
In 2008, the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Aviation Training Center was constructed at RMG. The Aviation Training Center offers a variety of courses in its Aviation Maintenance Technology program.
In 2013, the citizens of Floyd County voted to approve SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) which included, among other things, the Tennis Center of Georgia at Berry College and a 1,000 foot extension to runway 1/19 at Russell Regional Airport. The $5.76 million runway extension project will include a 1,000 foot asphalt extension, 1,000 foot grass safety area, and a parallel taxiway system.