Randy Ford was born on July 19, 1935, in Annapolis, Maryland. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on August 11, 1955, and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1956. After serving in attack and fighter squadrons, CDR Ford attended Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, before joining VA-86, flying the A-7 Corsair II. He deployed to Southeast Asia aboard the aircraft carrier USS America (CVA-66) in May 1968, and was forced to eject over North Vietnam on June 11, 1968. CDR Ford was believed to have been captured, but probably died of his injuries soon afterwards. His remains were returned to the U.S. on August 14, 1985, and he was buried at the St. Augustine National Cemetery in St. Augustine, Florida.
His Bronze Star Medal with Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy while serving as a pilot serving with Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SIX, embarked in USS AMERICA (CVA-66) on 11 June 1968. While on a night armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Ford was forced by enemy action, to eject from his A-7A Corsair II. Once on the ground with his position compromised by the close proximity of enemy forces, and despite his having sustained injuries, he exhibited extreme courage and total disregard for his own safety by ordering the rescue forces to depart his immediate vicinity and proceed to a safe position where they would be out of the area of enemy fire. This action on his part greatly reduced and ultimately eliminated his only chance for rescue. Commander Ford's daring actions, courage and loyal devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.