November 30, 1926 – December 9, 2019
Col. (RET) James E. P. Randall quietly stepped into the presence of the Lord at the Colorado State Veterans Home at Fitzsimons on December 9, 2019. He was a resident of Colorado Springs for over 40 years. James, known to friends and family as “Jim”, was born on November 30, 1926 in Roanoke, Virginia to the late Samuel Edward and Ora Flood Randall. He graduated from Lucy Addison High School and entered the Army Air Corps in 1945 with hopes of becoming a pilot. However, with the ending of the war he was separated in 1946 as all flying training had been discontinued.
He enrolled in Hampton Institute majoring in industrial education to become an automotive and diesel engineer. He was recalled to active duty in 1948 as an aviation cadet and entered pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas in March 1949. He completed pilot training in March 1950 in Las Vegas, Nevada and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant. His initial assignment was at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas followed by an assignment to Craig Air Force Base in Alabama as an F-51 instructor. In February 1952 he was assigned to the 18th Fighter BMB Group and the 12th BMB SQD flying the Mustang against North Korean targets. In August 1952 he was transferred to the 6146 Air Advisory Group to the South Korean Air Force where he instructed the South Koreans to fly the F-51 and flew missions with the South Korean Air Force. In February 1953, James Randall was assigned to the 1737th Ferry SQ in Dover Air Force Base, Delaware where he flew the T-33, RT33, T-6, F-84E, G, F, RF, and the F-51D, H. He crossed the North Atlantic eight times flying aircraft to Europe. He completed the Air Force All-Weather Course at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. In 1957 he transferred to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He completed the Fighter Weapons Course and was assigned as an F-100 instructor flying the F-100A and F-100D. In April 1959 he joined the 49th TAC Fighter Wing as an F-100D pilot. While assigned to Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany, he became Officer-In-Charge of the Alert Facility, a position he held until assigned to 9th Air Force Headquarters in January 1963.
In July 1964 he was assigned to the 562 TAC Fighter Squad at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. He checked out in the F-105 and became Squadron Operations Officer. In 1965 he crossed the Pacific 7 times delivering F-105s to Southeast Asia. In August his squadron deployed him to Takhli Air Force Base in Thailand flying the F-105 against North Vietnam. In October, on his 44th mission, he was shot down, rescued and returned to the states for medical treatment. Upon returning to flying status in January 1966 he was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to test the anti-missile system that was to equip the F-105F Wild Weasel aircraft. Upon completion of this test he flew the aircraft to Nellis Air Force Base and became Operations Officer for the Operational and Suitability testing of the F-111. During that period Col. Randall and Col. Van Etten delivered the first operational F-111 to the Tactical Air Command and flew an F-111 from Nellis Air Force Base to Takhli in Thailand.
In 1971 he was assigned as Vice Commander of Task Force Alpha in Thailand. He returned to an assignment in ADC Headquarters in 1972 and in 1976 was assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida as Base Commander. In 1978 he returned to ADC Headquarters as Chief of Safety and retired in March 1980 after 31 and 1/2 years active service.
During his operational assignment Colonel Randall logged over 7350 hours flying. Among those aircraft not listed were the C-45, C-47, L-20, T-39, and B-25.
His many awards and decorations include the Congressional Gold Medal, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal.
He was an active member of Payne Chapel AME Church for many years, a life member of the Order of the Daedalians, The ORBS, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Tuskegee Airmen, and Disabled Veterans.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, sister Martha Hunter, and first wife, Mary Ann Bell. He survived by his loving wife of 47 years Essie, sister Bernice Marshall, daughters Roberta (Mack) Rollins, Louise Lawler, Patricia (Clay) Rotenberg and son, William Randall, three grandchildren Jordan (Jackie) Lawler, Taylor Miller, Hayden (Katie) Miller. He also has two great-grandchildren Brandon and Ryan Lawler and niece, Cynthia Marshall and nephew Robert (Dorethea) Marshall. He leaves to cherish his memory a host of friends.
A visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. with funeral service to follow at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at Shove Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave., on the Colorado College Campus. Private interment will be at Pikes Peak National Cemetery.