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John Russell served under Captain Richard Robau on the USS Kelvin 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 USS Constitution, first of the Constitution-class vessels commissioned. (Starship Saladin)
The older Constellation-class 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 and Constitution classes were synonymous to them.
Russell was later promoted to Commander, and given Command of the USS Saladin, NCC-0500, prior to its refit to the standards of the 2260s state of the art and the first of the new Saladin-class destroyers. He served as skipper of the Saladin for a total of seven years until the year 2268, when he was given command of the USS Hood. He retired three years later.