Russ Williams' profile: A distinguished military man
Published Tuesday, February 9, 2010 9:45AM EST
Col. Russ Williams was one of the Canadian military's "shining stars" and as part of his job as one of the top pilots in the country met the Queen, greeted the Olympic torch and flew the prime minister and other Canadian VIPs.
Now Williams is charged with the murder of two women and the sexual assault of two others.
The 46-year-old was named commander of CFB Trenton last July, the latest promotion in his 23-year-career in the Canadian Forces.
Various media reports describe Williams as "well-spoken," "quiet" and "very hard-working."
Recently, he oversaw aid flight to Haiti, escorting Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's chief of defence staff, around the air base.
Williams enrolled in the military in 1987 after obtaining a degree in political science and economics from the University of Toronto, according to his official Department of National Defence bio.
Within three years he earned his wings and was assigned to 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, serving for two years as an instructor in Portage la Prairie, Man.
In 1992, he moved to CFB Shearwater in Nova Scotia, patrolling the East Coast in a CC144 Challenger.
Following that stint, he was transferred to Ottawa, where he continued flying the Challenger, ferrying around Canadian VIPs.
Williams was promoted to major in November 1999, and earned a Master of Defence Studies degree from the Royal Military College in 2004.
From December 2005 to June 2006, he commanded Camp Mirage, a secretive logistics base reportedly near Dubai that's not officially acknowledged by the government or military.
One recent photo shows him with Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defence staff.
In January 2009, he was promoted to colonel while attending French language training in Gatineau, Que.
According to his official bio, Williams was a keen photographer, fisherman and runner. He spoke highly of fitness' role in the military.
"Fitness is vital," he told The Contact, CFB Trenton's base newspaper, last year. "The Air Force has changed a lot in the past 10 years, in terms of the types of operations we conduct and support, and I think it's become very obvious to all of us that we need to step into operations on short notice. And that is only going to be easier if each of us is in good physical and mental condition."
Williams is married to Mary Elizabeth Harriman, and the Forces described them as "avid golfers." The couple have no children.
Harriman lives in Ottawa and is the associate executive director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
The couple bought a house in Tweed, Ont., about 60 kilometres from CFB Trenton, in 2004.