Russell Casse
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Biographical Information
Status: Deceased
Date of death: July 4, 1996
Place of death: Area 51, Nevada
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Career Information
Profession: Crop duster pilot
Family Information
Children: Miguel Casse, Alicia Casse, Troy Casse
Played by: Randy Quaid
First appearance: Independence Day
Hello, boys! I'm baaaaack!

- Russell Casse's last words.

Russell Casse (died July 4, 1996) was a crop duster and Vietnam War pilot who sacrificed himself to destroy a City Destroyer threatening Area 51 during the War of 1996.



Russell served as a pilot in the Vietnam War. Around 1986, Russell claimed that he was abducted by aliens. According to his testimony, they conducted several experiments on him that led to trauma and leading to his belief that they are planning to kill humanity. This earned Russell mockery from his peers and consternation from his family. When his wife got sick, he could not give her enough attention, because he was searching for clues about his abduction. This led to her death, and to Russell's drinking problem. He and his children live in a camper, and he worked as a crop duster. 

War of 1996

By the advent of the aliens' arrival in July 1996, Russell was arrested for papering city hall with leaflets from his crop duster in an desperate attempt to warn the public that the aliens are a threat. However, Russell was soon released as authorities are focused on more pressing matters in light of the aliens. After the aliens began their attack, Russell and his family joined a large group of refugees and come across Captain Steven Hiller with a subdued injured alien. Guided by Captain Hiller, the Casse family and the refugees traveled to Area 51.

Russell later volunteered in President Whitmore's counterstrike on the aliens. During the attack on Area 51, Russell was integral in destroying the alien City Destroyer for piloting the only available fighter with a missile to destroy the Destroyer's main weapon. However, the missile was jammed. Russell then made a fateful decision by flying his jet directly into the weapon in a suicide attack. Before making his sacrifice, Russell sends a heartfelt request to ground control, which is also heard by his estranged son Miguel, to "Tell my children...I love them very much."

After his sacrifice, Russell was remembered as a war hero, and his name is etched in a national memorial at Washington, D.C. alongside with other participants' who also died during the War of 1996 after the capital was rebuilt.[1] His death served as an inspiration to Jake Morrison, who looked up to him as a role model for proving that a broken person can become a better person.[2]


Death and Sacrifice

Memorable Quotes

Good God! I've been sayin' it. I've been sayin' it for ten damn years. Ain't I been sayin' it, Miguel? Yeah, I've been sayin' it.
I picked a hell of a day to quit drinkin'.
Payback's a bitch, ain't it?

- Russell destroys his first alien attacker.

All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation: Up... YOURS!

Behind the Scenes

  • In the original ending of Independence Day, Russell was disallowed to fly. However, he arrives at the end of the battle flying his crop duster (which he has been towing behind his motor home) with a missile strapped to its wing and flying it into the City Destroyer's weapon. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin admitted that this implied that Russell flew into the battle planning to commit suicide since he could not launch the missile from his plane and therefore scrapped it in favor of having Russell making the decision to sacrifice himself after he was in the air helping the cause, both for the emotional reason of allowing the audience to see Casse make the decision to die for the human race and the practical issue that having the biplane keep pace while flying amongst F/A-18s was "just not believable". This alternate scene was added in the laserdisc special edition. The scripted version is also included in the film's novelization.



  1. Independence Day: Resurgence
  2. Independence Day: Crucible
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