Randell D. Voas
Major, United States Air Force
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 283-10
DOD Identifies Air Force Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died April 9, 2010, near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a crash of a CV-22 Osprey. They were assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Major Randell D. Voas, 43, of Lakeville, Minnesota
Senior Master Sergeant James B. Lackey, 45, of Green Clove Springs, Florida
For further information, please contact the Hurlburt Field Public Affairs office at 850- 884-7464.
10 April 2010
A U.S. Air Force Osprey crashed in Afghanistan Friday and killed four people, including the pilot from Minnesota.
Forty-three-year-old Major Randell Voas grew up in Eden Prairie. Voas died when the aircraft crashed near Kandahar. Voas graduated from Eden Prairie High School and also received a degree in biology from the University of Minnesota.
"Randy died doing what he loved doing," said Voas' father Dwaine Voas of Burnsville.
Dwaine Voas said his son loved his work and was proud to be supporting America. After college at the University of Minnesota, he entered flight training with the Army. He later became an Air Force pilot, flying a variety of aircraft including the Osprey.
"He loved his family, loved his kids, loved his wife," said Dwaine Voas.
The Voas family lived in Florida, close to Hurlburt Field where Randell Voas was assigned with the 8th Special Operations Squadron. Randell Voas' wife, Jill, is a St. Paul native. The couple has two children. Their daughter is a junior in high school and their son is in the seventh grade.
"Now that it's happened, we've been surrounded by and supported by our faith and by the love that we feel from family and friends," said Dwaine Voas.
A Pentagon spokesperson said this was the first time an Osprey has crashed during operations in a war zone. The Osprey takes off and lands like a helicopter and costs about $70 million per craft. Randell Voas' father said he had no concerns about the safety of the Osprey.
"It's been tested thoroughly. Randy described it to some of his coworkers as it was the Cadillac of aircraft," said Dwaine Voas.
The three other people killed in the crash were two service members and one civilian contractor.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Major Randell D. Voas, U.S. Air Force, was killed on April 9, 2010, near Kandahar, Afghanistan, when the CV-22 he was piloting crashed during combat operations near the town of Qalat City.
Major Voas was one of the Air Force's most experienced and skilled V-22 "Osprey" pilots and his contributions to Air Force Special Operations Command and his country are immeasurable.
Major Voas was born in 1967 at the Camp Kue U.S. Army Hospital in Okinawa. He grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and graduated in 1985 from Eden Prairie High School where he ran track and cross country. In 1989, he attended the University of Minnesota and received a B.S. degree in biology.
Following college, Randy married his one and only love, Jill Saniti-Hippe, in 1991, and shortly thereafter started his military aviation career in the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Flight Training Program at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Following completion of flight school Randy reported to Fulda, Germany, as an AH-64 Apache pilot with several aviation regiments. During his time in Germany he served as an aircraft commander and supported numerous NATO missions. Following his assignment in Germany, Maj. Voas served with the elite 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell and the 5-501 at Camp Eagle, Korea. During his Army career, Randy received numerous military awards and honors and participated in countless DOD operations.
In 2000, Major Voas was among a select group of Army pilots to transfer into the U.S. Air Force to fly the MH-53 "Pavelow." Upon completion of Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base he was assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron in Mildenhall, England.
During the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Major Voas led a flight of two MH-53s on a demanding combat mission into northern Iraq in support of the largest airdrop since Vietnam. For his heroic actions he was awarded the Cheney award, which was presented by the Air Force Chief of Staff in 2003.
Following his assignment in England, Major Voas was assigned the 23rd Flight Training Squadron as an Air Force instructor pilot, teaching and mentoring countless future Air Force helicopter pilots. In 2006, Major Voas was hand-picked as an initial cadre instructor pilot for the new CV-22 "Osprey" program. His talents and leadership abilities were recognized with this appointment and he was assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida. While at the 8th, Major Voas served as a flight commander and evaluation pilot participating in operations "Iraqi Freedom" and "Enduring Freedom."
Major Voas was a beloved son, husband, father, and friend. During his 19 years of military service he accomplished a remarkable amount for both Army and Air Force aviation. His final moments were a testimonial to all that he represented in life when he demonstrated his heroism by saving the lives of 16 fellow comrades. Although his life was taken prematurely, his legacy will live forever through his family and the men and women that he so graciously took under his wing.
Randy's undying support for his wife of 18 years, children and extended family, coupled with his integrity, intellect, and commitment to his country barely underscore the man we all knew and loved.
He is survived by loving wife, Jill Voas (Saniti - Hippe); daughter, Madeline, 16; son, Mitchell, 13, of Shalimar, Florida; mother and stepfather, Jo and Larry Kallemeyn of Spearfish S.D.; father and stepmother, Dwaine and Vadis Voas of Burnsville, Minnesota; and brother, Jeffrey A. Voas of Seattle.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, John and Opal Beatty, and Clarence "Dick" and Catherine Voas; and Jill's parents, Dean and Jean (Schwab) Hippe; and grandparents, Paul and Lena Schwab.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. April 15 at the 8th SOS hangar, Hurlburt Field, Florida. A reception will follow at Helen Back, located at 114 Amberjack Drive on Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, at 3 p.m.
A celebration of Randy's life for family and close friends will be held on April 16 at 12:30 p.m. at the Soundside Club, located at 107 Kissam Street, Hurlburt Field.
Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a date and time yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations for the Voas family may be payable to Eglin Federal Credit Union, Blackbird Memorial Fund. Include a memo with the following information: Voas S1, Account No. 502014.
The circumstances surrounding the crash are still being investigated by the Defense Department.
VOAS, RANDELL D
Posted: 19 April 2010 Updated: 7 August 2010 Updated: 14 October 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, October 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, July 2010