Richard Joseph Randolph Jr., Lt Col, USMC, Retired, has earned the right as a member of the greatest generation. He was born in 1925 to parents who had only an eighth-grade education. Growing up in the Kansas City area with the country at war, Richard, like many young boys at this time, became a member of the ROTC in his high school. The country was in the midst of WWII when he joined the Marines. Richard chose the Marine Corps because he liked the ocean and was feeling a bit "landlocked" in Kansas City ... it just sounded like a good deal. He also liked their uniform!
Randolph was set to sail to Japan when it was attacked and bombed. At this point, he then became part of the occupational forces and began his very full and interesting career in the Marines.
Randolph served in WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam wars. He was given the Bronze Star for his service as a spotter behind enemy lines for six months. One of his souvenirs of this time is a single brass bowl from a home in Japan. It was one of the few pieces left from the devastation. The bowl remains by his bedside to this day and no doubt a great reminder of this most historical time.
In Korea, Randolph was one of the few that survived the Frozen Chosin. The Chosin Reservoir in North Korea was a battle set in a terrain that resembles the Himalayan Mountains. The wintery freezing temperatures killed many from November-December 1950. Collectively, across the United States military, over 10,000 soldiers were killed in this battle.
Randolph remarkably survived. The story is that he made sure his troop rotated the two pairs of issued wool socks every time they stopped. They would take off the pair of socks and warm them on their abdomens and wear the other pair. The soldiers also were given just one pair of rubber boots to wear in these extreme conditions.
Randolph's duty in Viet Nam did bring personal casualties with the loss of hearing in one ear and memories of the horridness of war. Tales too awful to report are pieces of Randolph's survival, duty, respect and honor to his fellow Marines and country. Through it all, he still understood that war was, at times, a necessary evil.
There were easier and less dangerous duties in his career, including running recreation at different hotels and bars used by Special Services in China and stateside. Notably, Randolph included women in the intramurals. This very forward move at the time was how he worked positively "in the system" and avoided the fight. This quality characteristic of his leadership was a running theme in his career and life. Grandson, Calen Taylor, has taken note of the leadership skills to use along his path in high school and beginning time as a college student.
Randolph's career soared, and he found himself an Assistant of Commandment in Quantico, a Marine Corps base in Virginia. One fun, well, not so fun at the time, was when President Lyndon B. Johnson balled him out because a Marine had stood his daughter up on a date. Oops!
During his career as a Marine, Randolph obtained his Master's degree, got married, and managed to have seven children with his wife, Nedra. His children remember their father as being very present with them. Duty did keep him away at times and resulted in him not being around to see one of his sons until after he was walking. Nevertheless, he was and always has been a wonderful father when he was home.
The first three children of the family were boys and were raised under a more disciplined household. After Rebecca, the first girl, was born, it is said that Randolph just melted and became a much different parent to the following two girls and one boy. Beth Randolph-Taylor does recall her dad putting on his "military face" and scaring her dates in later years.
Both Rebecca and Beth recall their dad telling them to "Do whatever your heart desires" when they would ask him a particular life question. They felt it was so frustrating of an answer but also realized how empowering his leadership skills and style of parenting helped them.
Two of the older Randolph sons did join the military. Rick became an Army M.D. with a West Point background in Special Forces and as a Flight Surgeon. John became a Military Policeman but is no longer on active duty and has transitioned to a civilian career in IT.
Lt Col Randolph was honorably discharged and retired in the 1970s from the United States Marine Corps.
A close military friend, Robert Harris, who became the first President of Johnson County Community College, invited Randolph to join the initial staff as a professor of business management. He ended up teaching at JCCC for another 26 years. The two men have remained friends for a lifetime.
At 97 years old, Lt Col Randolph lives with his daughter and son-in-law, Patrick and Beth Taylor and their four children at Lake Quivira. He is a blessed patriarch of the family with multitudes of children and grandchildren who hold complete respect and love for him. His recent birthday brought the family together to celebrate, which so lifted him.
His children know their father was truly influenced by his military service. They will tell you how his natural characteristics of leadership, caring for the country, respect of rights, and the right to protest about our individual beliefs, make him a true upstanding citizen. His children are so very proud of their father and his life.
The world and the Randolph family are better because of this most upstanding amazing man, Richard Randolph. A most respectful salute to this long-time Quivira resident veteran!