Col. Richard “Dick” Randolph passed peacefully on Sunday, March 2, 2008 in Austin, Texas. Dick was a genuine military hero through WWII, the Korean conflict and the Cold War. He was also a distinguished entrepreneur in space technology, and an avid outdoorsman who loved the mountains in northern California.
Born in Kingsburg, CA on May 13, 1915, Dick entered the US Army Air Corps as a Flight Cadet in December, 1939 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant as a pilot in 1940. After initial flight training he was assigned to the Training Command at Kelly Field, Texas as a Flight Instructor. After rapid promotion to Major in 1943, he was assigned to the 462nd Bomb Group to fly the new B-29 Superfortress. In 1944 the 462nd was deployed to Karachi, India, where they flew missions into Japanese-held China in the CBI Theater (China–Burma–India). The unit later transferred to Tinian, Marianas Islands, where they flew air raids over Tokyo and other Japanese military targets.
As Pilot in Command of a B-29 military bomber, Dick was proud of his record of never losing a single crew member or aircraft throughout his illustrious career. He logged over 8,000 hours of flight time.
During the Korean War, Dick was on the senior military staff planning the air war in Korea. After the wars, Dick was heavily involved in U.S. Atomic Energy policies and issues. He served at the Atomic Energy DCS in Washington and in the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), a NATO command where he helped draft US nuclear policy. He retired in 1966 as Commander, HQ 3415th Technical School at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado.
Among his numerous awards and commendations, Dick received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service, the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding and meritorious achievement while participating in combat flights over enemy territory, the Bronze Star Medal for outstanding achievements in combat operations, an Air Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), a Distinguished Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal. In addition, he received numerous personal commendations for outstanding leadership and combat success from his military commanders.
Dick was a founder and President of Microgravity Research Associates, a firm created in 1979 to help develop space-based production and manufacture of crystals in a zero-gravity environment aboard the Space Shuttle. He was also a founder and President of Space Industries Development Foundation of America, Inc. (SIDFA), a nonprofit organization established to provide funding assistance to entrepreneurial companies pursuing the commercialization of space. Dick additionally founded and directed The World Security Fund, an organization that insured individuals and corporations against loss from war or seizure by foreign governments.
A lifelong student and learner, Dick attended Walla Walla College, Washington, and the University of Southern California where he earned a degree in Physics. He later earned a Masters in Personnel Management (MA) from George Washington University.
Dick was an avid outdoorsman — he loved to hunt and fish, and he especially loved the north-central California mountains around Porterville.
Col. Randolph is survived by his sister Jeane, three sons, Richard Jr., David, and Ian, five grandchildren and one great grandson.
See a Video Slideshow Memorial of Dick’s Life: (No Sound)