Randy Famie

Without the contributions of men like Randy Famie, not much could have happened on the ground in Vietnam—at least the various encounters couldn’t have happened and ended well.

Famie was an aircraft director/flight engineer on board the USS Ranger, a United States Navy Forrestal-class supercarrier. She served in the US Navy from 1957 to 1993.  The Ranger is now retired and is currently awaiting conversion into a museum ship.

Stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin during Famie’s tour of duty, the Ranger contributed a large portion of the air power applied against the enemy in both North and South Vietnam.  Her 1967-68 cruise introduced the then-new A-7A "Corsair II" attack aircraft to combat.

Famie recalls numerous types of aircraft and helicopters aboard, the latter which that  shuttle wounded servicemen from field hospitals to the ship.  During his 3/12 years aboard the Ranger , it, along with other carriers from Division 3 destroyed numerous targets, airfields and military installations.

“I remember several crashes from returning aircrafts; some were worse than other.  One thing was certain, though…if the plane ended up in the sea, you’d rarely be able to rescue the pilots.  It was not possible to stop an eighty-thousand ton carrier.”

In specific, Famie’s job was to take the aircrafts down one of the four elevators to a storage area below in order to clear the decks for other returning or departing crafts. 

“You have to remember, these aircrafts were hot; their engines were running at full speed on that elevator, and we were negotiating the decent by a matter of inches.  There was constant danger from the jet engines, or in the case of prop planes, by running into propellers.

Most of the day-to-day life of a flight engineer was tough, but there were some moments of relief.  Famie recalls having had the opportunity to meet Bob Hope during the USO Christmas show in 1967.  Among the guests were Raquel Welch Raquel Welch, Elaine Dunn, Madeleine Hartog-Bel, Barbara McNair, Earl Wilson, Phil Crosby, Les Brown & band. 

Famie can’t speak highly enough of Hope and the entire entourage.  “They were great, and took the time to personally meet and speak to as many on board as possible.”



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