Written by Ranger James Williford - Randy's father
Randall Lamont Williford was born on October 28, 1958 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, two months after his father completed Ranger School. He was awarded a Certificate making him an "EAGLET" of the famous "Screaming Eagles" the 101st Airborne Division and further vested with the ancient and honorable title of "ARMY BRAT." He was also awarded a Certificate making him an Honorary Member and Special Citizen of the First Airborne Battle Group, 501st Infantry and further vested with the honorable title of "HONORARY GERONIMO."
Randy was born to be an Airborne Ranger. From the time that he could walk he would climb and jump off of anything that he could get his hands on. He would march around with a steel pot on his head (without a helmet liner in it) and stick at right shoulder arms saying "Hut two, Hut two." He loved going to work with his father and cried every time that he could not go. One time that he was at work with his father they were locked down on an alert and could not leave. Randy had a ball while everyone was going through the drill. All of the troops loved playing with Randy. He went to every parade and performed all of the movements that the troops did. One of his favorite sayings was "Look at all them Daddies." To him everyone in uniform was a daddy. At the age of five (5) he made his first jump. It was from the Twenty Foot Mock Jump Tower of the Pathfinder Unit at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He was awarded a Certificated as a Qualified Junior Jumper. His dream was always to be an Airborne Ranger. That dream came true on May 31, 1979 when he graduated from Ranger Class 7-79. His mother and I were two proud parents as we pinned on his Black and Gold "RANGER TAB."
Randy joined the Cub Scouts when he was eight years old and progressed all the way thru the Webelos earning the Arrow of Light Award. On his 11 Birthday he had his crossing over ceremony from the Cub Scouts to the Boy Scouts. As a Boy Scout he earned all of the merit badges and progressed all the way to Eagle Scout. He was on the Troop Leadership Committee and a Junior Assistant Scout Master in the Boy Scouts. He was selected to work as an Instructor, Counselor and Trail Guide at the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico between his junior and senior year of high school.
Randy attended all twelve years of school at the Daleville High School in Daleville, Alabama at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He completed four years of Junior ROTC. He was on the Drill Team all four years and was the commander of the team for three years. While he was the commander of the team they won every drill team competition that they entered. Randy also entered individual precision drills and won them also. He won the National Title for the Individual Precision Drill Competition in his junior and senior years. He was voted by his Senior Class Mates to be the one most likely to succeed, and at his High School Graduation he was referred to as their "HUT TWO" Man.
Randy enlisted in the Army on December 12, 1976 under the Delayed Enlistment Program. On February 23, 1977 he was sworn into active duty by his farther as an E3/PFC.
Randy's family, father, mother, brothers Ronnie and Robbie and sister Louise and all of their family will always be very grateful to the Ranger Family at Camp Frank D Merrill for their support at the time of Randy's accidental death on 12 March 1987.
Sister Charlene Walsh from Saint Joseph's Hospital of Dahlonega wrote us a letter to tell us of the deep care and concern expressed by Randy's many "buddies" who came right to the hospital as soon as they heard the news. They obviously regarded him very highly.
When MSG Carpenter, from TRADOC Hqs, told me that the Rangers from Camp Frank D. Merrill wanted to perform the Military Honors for Randy, I was deeply moved by the offer and would not have wanted it any other way. All of you performed in a truly professional manner, up holding the Ranger Creed of never leaving a fallen comrade behind and the bond that binds all Rangers together. You are a credit to the Rangers and the U.S. Army that any Commander can be proud of.
Our only regret is that we were not able to meet and thank each of you personally for all that you did. We hope that you understand what it meant to us as family for Randy's Ranger Family to bring him home. He always talked very highly of all of you.
We received numerous cards and letters from his many comrades and friends expressing their fond feelings for Randy. All of these were and still are very much appreciated. We still have every one of them and will always cherish them.
Someone once said, "When you are born, you come into the world crying, while those surrounding you smile. Live your life so that when they lay you to rest, you will be smiling as all those around you cry." Randy sure had a beautiful smile on his face.
"HOLD YOUR HEAD AND HOLD IT HIGH AN AIRBORNE RANGER IS PASSING BY"
HE WAS AN AIRBORNE RANGER ALL THE WAY!!!
RANDY'S MILITARY HISTORY
WHERE HE SERVED:
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
1977 Basic Combat Training - Fort Leonard Wood, MO