Today is Memorial Day, the one day a year we officially recognize the ultimate sacrifice many, too many, military men and women have paid in service to our country. I spent over nine years in the United States Air Force, and in that time, I personally knew only one person who paid that ultimate price.
His name was Sergeant Randy Davis. I served with him at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. We were in the same squadron, the 3rd Component Repair Squadron (3rd CRS). I was in the Electronic Warfare shop, Randy worked in the Egress shop. He was a member of the group responsible for working on and maintaining the Martin-Baker ejection seats found in the F-4E and F-4G Phantom aircraft. We both worked the flight-line, directly on the aircraft. There was an electronic warfare display screen found in the aft cockpit of the F-4G Wild Weasel that had to be removed when the forward cockpit ejection seat was removed. The old F-4 was like that: to remove one thing, you often had to first remove two other things.
Because of this fact, I often found myself working on the same aircraft as Randy. I would remove the display, so he and his co-workers could remove the front seat.
The day Randy was killed was October 28, 1987. I spoke to him shortly before he was killed. It was late afternoon. He had stopped by the snack bar at the 3rd CRS dormitory to show us his airline tickets back to the world. He was scheduled to leave Clark AB for an assignment in the states. I don’t remember when he was scheduled to leave, but it must have been fairly soon because he wouldn’t have been given hard-copy airline tickets otherwise. Randy was married to a local girl, and they had at least one child. Because of that, he didn’t live in the dorms with us but instead lived off-base in a rented house.
Getting your airline tickets back to the states was a very big deal when stationed in the Philippines. It was a monumental occasion. Most people stationed in the Philippines looked forward to the day they were able to leave, and Randy was no exception. When Randy showed me his tickets, I’ll never forget what I said to him: I called him a dick. I was laughing when I said it and I’m certain he knew I was happy for him and more than a little envious, but the fact remains that the last thing I ever said to him was that he was a dick because he was going to leave the Philippines and I wasn’t.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought of that day and wished I hadn’t said that to him.
Randy left the snack bar and headed home. It turned out, when he stepped off a public jeepney, an elongated jeep used as public transportation, three members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, approached Randy from behind and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. Randy was unarmed and he was shot from behind. The three cowards then continued to shoot him as a lay dead on the ground.
Randy wasn’t the only one killed that afternoon. A retired American and another active-duty airman were also assassinated that same day. I didn’t know them, but I did know Randy. I also know he didn’t deserve what happened to him.
He was a really nice guy with a good heart. He was most definitely not a dick.
I wish I knew what happened to the communists who murdered Randy. Ronald Reagan, president at the time, didn’t respond to the attacks. Instead, he left the matter up to the Philippine government. It didn’t do anything, other than forgive Randy’s killers.
In 2007, members of the NPA were officially given amnesty by the Philippine government. Of all the things those terrorist scum deserved, amnesty was not one of them.
I hate Communists
Although there are people who have a misguided, nostalgic appreciation for all things communist, I’m not one of them. When I see some stupid hipster wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, I want to punch them in the throat. Something tells me that if communists murdered one of their friends, a sweet man like Randy Davis, they wouldn’t wear a t-shirt glorifying communists.
On this Memorial Day, I’m going to remember the sacrifice of United States Air Force Sergeant Randy Davis, a good man shot in the back of the head because of the uniform he was wearing.
May Randy Davis rest in peace and his killers rot in Hell.