From cross-country competitors to air war teammates

Christopher Taylor and Mark Russell posed for a photo outside of their aircraft. The two just came home from a several-month stint in the Middle East. Photo/Special.

Christopher Taylor and Mark Russell spent their high school days as rivals: running against each other in cross country. Taylor ran for the McIntosh squad and Russell was on the Starr’s Mill team.

Both graduated in 2003, but their paths have crossed again: this time as they joined forces in combating terrorism in the Middle East. The two have shared the cockpit of a F-15E Strike Eagle, with Taylor at the stick and Mark in the back seat as weapons officer.

Taylor and Russell, both captains, are members of the F-15E Tiger Squadron based on Mt. Home Air Force Base in Idaho. They recently returned to the U.S. after several months in the Middle East.

Russell’s parents, Allen and Lynn Russell, and Taylor’s parents, Kim and Chip Taylor, still reside in Peachtree City.

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