Randall Burke Meyer Profile Photo
1944 Randall Burke Meyer 2024

Randall Burke Meyer

June 17, 1944 — January 19, 2024

Abingdon

Age 79, of Abingdon, Maryland, passed away on January 19, 2024, at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland. Born in Los Angeles, California, he was the son of the late Andrew James and Agnes Elizabeth (Johnson) Meyer and the loving husband of Odile Meyer. Randall served as a dedicated veteran in the U.S. Army. Retired as Army Captain after 20 years of active duty in Germany and serving in the war in Vietnam, sent over 3 times. Add to that another 20 years in the Civil Service for the Department of Defense in Germany, followed by 7 more years at the American Embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands in the Office of Defense Cooperation. Moved back to the USA after many years overseas and served yet another 4 years at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland as the Officer in Charge of the International Military Students. After this last assignment his career ended in retirement in August 2009. 

During high school he joined Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), was pretty much a bookworm and what is today called a nerd, spending most of his free time reading. In August 1962 he enlisted with Airborne Infantry and attended Basic Training at Fort Ord, California.  Then went on to Infantry Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and took off for specialty training. Traveled by train to Fort Benning, Georgia for very physically intensive Airborne training. Graduated and was awarded the Parachutist Badge. After Jump School he transferred to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky from 1963-1965.

He was assigned to different positions during his tenure with the Screaming Eagles from Assistant 3.5” Rocket Launcher Gunner (AKA Bazooka), Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) Ammunition Bearer and his favorite Rifleman.  

During his time in the 101st, he participated in many exercises that took him out of Kentucky, such as Operation Swift Strike (North Carolina), Desert Strike (Mohave Desert) and many others. He was promoted from Private (E1/E2) to Private First Class (E3) and Specialist Fourth Class (E4).

In 1965 he reenlisted for six years and requested a transfer to the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed on Okinawa. Due to having taken typing in High School, he was assigned to the Brigade Headquarters Company in the office of the G-3 (Operations). The Brigade was alerted to deploy to Bien Hoa Airbase in the Republic of Vietnam on 5 March 1965 due to a Viet Cong attack on the nearby airbase. They were the first ground combat unit from the Unites States military to be deployed to Vietnam. Deployment turned into a year and they were soon joined in country by many other units.

Flew around retransmitting messages from units in the field back to the main base and was awarded the Air Medal for aerial achievements. He was also involved in forward operations and came under fire and in October 1965. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB).

Upon his departure from Vietnam he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM).  During his tour in Vietnam he was also promoted to Sergeant (E-5), and received the Good Conduct Medal for his first three years in the Army. Made several non-combat related parachute jumps while in Vietnam from different types of aircraft, his favorite was from a helicopter, and the Brigade was awarded the Vietnamese Parachutist Badge.

In December 1966 he departed Vietnam and flew back home to report to his new duty station at Fort Carson, Colorado and the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized).

His previous experience in operations caused him to be assigned to the S-3 of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 61st Infantry.  Being one of the first soldiers to return from Vietnam, he was in much demand to lecture on what to expect, to other soldiers since the Army was now fully involved in sending soldiers and units to Vietnam. He got promoted to Staff Sergeant and was recommended for attendance at Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia. He passed several qualification boards and was accepted for a new class. Upon departing Fort Carson for Fort Benning, he received the 2nd Award of the Army Commendation Medal.

July 1967, OCS was a six month long training program filled with marching, classroom and field training and he was put in charge of the remaining classes of juniors to give them leadership experience. Graduated in the top 10% of the class. He was still a very enthusiastic soldier, and asked to be sent to Ranger School and Vietnam. Graduated to become a newly minted Second Lieutenant and was sent to Heidelberg, Germany until April 1969. Worked in Campbell Barracks as Executive Officer for Company A, Headquarters, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army. The company was comprised of over 700 soldiers who supported the headquarters.

During this time he served as the Pay Officer, and soldiers who were being Court Martialed for some offense were not given a lawyer as a defense counsel, but some Lieutenant who was supposed to dig out the facts and represent the accused in court. He did this several times and came out 50-50. July 1968 he was promoted to First Lieutenant. Was interviewed and selected for a position as Staff Officer in the Staff Services Branch, Headquarters, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army.  At that time, Berlin was still considered an occupied city and his trips there entitled the award of the Berlin Occupation Medal, escorting high level dignitaries such as Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff.  In  April 1969 he received orders to return to Vietnam for his second tour. Upon departing Europe, he was awarded his third Army Commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster).

Upon arrival in Vietnam (May 1969 - January 1970) and after several weeks of orientation, he was promoted to Captain (0-3) and assigned as Company Commander, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry (Mechanized), 4th Infantry Division stationed in Western Central Vietnam (Highlands) - a mechanized company of 188 men organized into a Headquarters Company.

December 1969 he was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during a battle. They had accidently run into a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Regimental Headquarters and were greatly outnumbered. The battle lasted two days. He had called in air and artillery strikes, and tanks were deployed from another unit to fire into the enemy camp. The NVA finally called it quits and crept away during the night leaving masses of documentation, weapons and over 200 Killed in Action (KIA). One US soldier was lost and several wounded. 

June 19 - After R&R, he returned to Vietnam to duty assigned as an Assistant S-3 for the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. The Brigade participated in one of several incursions into Cambodia (4 -14 May 1970) authorized to root out North Vietnamese who were using this sanctuary to move equipment and men down what was called the Ho Chi Minh Trail - a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) to South Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia.  His participation in these operations resulted in a 3rd award of the Army Commendation Medal. He departed Vietnam on 15 June 1970. Upon departure, he was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal for the helicopter insertions he took part in; and the Bronze Star Medal for my meritorious achievement while serving in the S-3.

His service in the Army continued in Germany in interesting and different positions until retirement in 1982.  

Randall's life was marked by a profound love for exploration, and his number one passion was traveling, especially cruises and picked up after retirement. Whether exploring new places or experiencing different cultures, he found joy in the diversity and richness of the world. Alongside his adventures, Randall enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, such as reading and watching movies, certain TV shows, with a particular fondness for comedy shows and particular cartoons.

His warm and welcoming nature reflected his great love for people. Randall had a way of connecting with others, regardless of one’s background, leaving a lasting impact on everyone he encountered. His kindness and genuine interest in others endeared him to friends and family alike.

Randall is survived by his devoted wife, Odile Meyer, and is fondly remembered by his brother, Gary Nolan, nieces Shawna Nolan, Staci Meyer Cory, and Debbie Meyer Anderson Dingivan, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Janine Charmes, and brothers-in-law, Sven Charmes, and Gregory Charmes. And many more close friends.

In addition to his parents, Randall was preceded in death by his brother, James Meyer.

He was loved by many and will be forever missed.


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