John Russell served under Captain Robau on the U.S.S. Kelvin NCC-0500 as a Starfleet Cadet in the earliest days of his career. He served aboard Kelvin for 3 years before a tour of duty onboard the brand new U.S.S. Constitution, NCC-1700, first of the Constitution Class vessels commissioned. The older Constellation Class ships were soon uprated to Constitution Class, and the Constellation Class designation was retired. Still, the ship design was known to the Klingons and for many years, Constellation Class and Constitution Class were synonymous. Russell was later promoted to Commander, and given Command of the U.S.S. SALADIN, NCC-0500, prior to its refit to the standards of the 2260's state of the art. He served as skipper of the Saladin for a total of seven years until the year 2268, when he was given command of the U.S.S. HOOD. He retired three years later.