Friday, April 09, 2010

Air Force Maj. Randell D. Voas

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Maj. Randell D. Voas, 43, of Lakeville, Minn.

Major Voas was assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; died April 9, 2010 near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a crash of a CV-22 Osprey.

Father recalls son’s path to Air Force

By Dinesh Ramde
The Associated Press

An airman who grew up in Minnesota died after his aircraft plunged to the ground in Afghanistan, the man’s father said April 10.

Maj. Randy D. Voas, 43, died April 9 when his Air Force Osprey crashed near Kandahar, Dwaine Voas told The Associated Press. The Defense Department said three other people aboard also died.

Randy Voas lived in Shalimar, Fla., but he was raised in Minnesota, his father said. Voas was an honor student and avid runner who always had a can-do attitude, his dad said.

“He just had a zest for life,” Dwaine Voas said. He spoke by telephone from Dover, Del., where his son’s remains were scheduled to arrive late April 10.

Also killed in the crash was 45-year-old Senior Master Sgt. James B. Lackey of Green Clove Springs, Fla., the Pentagon said. Another service member and a civilian contractor also died in the crash; the Pentagon wouldn’t identify them.

It was the first time the costly tilt-rotor aircraft had crashed in a combat zone.

Voas and Lackey were assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., the military said.

Dwaine Voas, himself an Army veteran, sounded matter-of-fact as he spoke of his son’s death. He said he always knew this day could come.

“You hope in your heart it would never happen,” he said.

Randy was a member of the National Honor Society at Eden Prairie High School, where he graduated about 1985, his father said. Randy also ran cross-country, discovering a passion for running that stayed with him.

Randy ran four or five marathons and did an occasional triathlon, Dwaine Voas said. He planned to be a podiatrist, but his father said chemistry classes at the University of Minnesota proved to be his undoing.

So with a biology degree in hand and unclear on his career direction, Randy passed the time with a handful of “fill-in jobs” until he decided to join the military.

He came home one day and told his father he’d spoken with a recruiter about joining a flight program.

Randy Voas became a standout pilot, earning an Air Force award in 2003 for his role in a combat air drop in northern Iraq that was the largest since the Vietnam War.

Dwaine Voas said he never heard his son’s colleagues say anything bad about him.

“They’d always say he’s an excellent pilot, they enjoyed working with him and serving with him, they liked the way he led his units,” his father said.

Randy Voas is survived by his wife, Jill, and two children. A memorial service is tentatively planned for April 15 in Florida, Dwaine Voas said.

Dwaine Voas said there’s no describing the pain of losing a child, but at least he took pride in knowing his son died with honor.

“If there’s anybody who I’d trust to do a military job,” he said, “it was him.”

Air Force Maj. Randell D. Voas was killed in action on 4/9/10.

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