Randall Thomas Boyd, Jr.
Commander, United States Navy
a Contemporary Press Report: 31 October 2001
Randall T. Boyd Jr., a retired engineer and Naval Officer decorated for bravery during World War II and the Korean War, died of cancer Saturday in St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas. He was 83.
Commander Boyd saw combat as a naval artillery officer during World War II and as a pilot during the Korean War. He was awarded a Silver Star for his exploits during World War II and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his activities during the Korean War.
Born in Hingham, Masschusetts, and raised in Weymouth, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1941. He also earned a master's degree in aeronautical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
On November 10, 1942, he was artillery officer aboard the destroyer Dallas when it made a treacherous 10-mile run up the Sebou River to land an Army Ranger detachment to capture Port Lyautey Airport during the assault and occupation of French Morocco.
According to the citation for the Silver Star he was awarded for the engagement, he displayed "remarkable courage under heavy hostile fire during the perilous journey" and "played a large part in providing protective gunfire for our Army Ranger troops and controlled and directed the fire of the ship so efficiently that hostile shore batteries were silenced before they were able to inflict any damage on the Dallas."
After World War II, he trained as a pilot in Pensacola, Florida, then served in the Korean War.
The first citation for his Flying Cross described him as "a skilled airman and cool leader in the face of hostile opposition."
According to the citation, he was flying a mission over Korea on October 12, 1950, "when enemy shore batteries attacked US mine sweepers with intense fire.
"Commander Boyd spotted hostile targets, took them under fire and held them down while the vessels escaped from the area. Braving heavy fire sent up from the ground, he controlled naval gunfire and vectored carrier-based aircraft to the enemy positions."
After the Korean War, he was commanding officer of Naval Patrol Squadron 34, and later was second in command at the Naval Base in Rota, Spain.
After retiring from the Navy, he was an engineer at MIT's Draper Laboratory, where he worked on the Gemini and Apollo space programs, and a senior engineer at Brown and Root Inc. in Houston, where he oversaw shipbuilding projects.
He leaves his wife, Mary Jane (Dooley); five sons, Randall III of Westford, Stephen of Marshfield, Owen of Holliston, Brian of Sherborn, and Bruce of Texas; and 10 grandchildren.
A funeral service and burial will be held at
8:45 a.m. November 29 in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Commander Randall T. Boyd Jr. (Retired) was a Naval Aviator hero from Weymouth, Massachusetts. Randall grew up across the street from the Reed Avenue water tower in South Weymouth. His parents, Randall and Rachel Boyd, were from Beachmont, Massachusetts (via Antigonish, Nova Scotia) and England respectively.
Commander Boyd sought a career in the Navy due to the influence of his Uncle William Seach, a Weymouth native who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor during the Boxer Rebellion. Randall, an Eagle Scout and a Weymouth High School graduate, class of 1936, attained the third highest rank in the country in a competitive examination for an appointment to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. His congressman, R.B. Wigglesworth, named him an appointee to Annapolis. Randall entered the academy in June of 1937 and graduated in 1941.
A year after graduation from Annapolis, Ensign Boyd married Mary Jane Dooley of Roxbury. They were married on July 20, 1942 in Hull, Massachusetts.
Their "honeymoon" was a train trip to Charleston, South Carolina, where he reported to duty as Gunnery Officer aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Dallas. The U.S.S. Dallas was soon to become involved in one of the most unusual and successful naval battles of World War II.
The U.S.S. Dallas was a twenty-two-year-old "four-piper" Destroyer. The Dallas is known as the "ship that captured an airport." Commander Boyd earned the Silver Star for his performance during this campaign in the invasion of North Africa.
The U.S.S. Dallas carried a US Army Raider battalion up the narrow, shallow, muddy, obstructed Sebou River, past forts, nets and enemy shore batteries, to take a strategic airport near Port Lyautey, French Morocco.
On November 10, 1942 with war colors flying, she began her run up the Sebou. To minimize her drag, the crew dropped over the side the last topside weight she had. All the same, she had to plow through a mud bar at the beginning of the Sebou River, full throttle, while moving at only 5 knots until she cleared the mud bar.
The enemy was well dug-in and the Dallas was under constant fire by cannon and small arms from both sides of the river during the entire run. Gunnery Officer Boyd and his crew provided accurate retaliatory fire as the Dallas slowly plowed her way through mud and shallow water, narrowly missing the many sunken ships and other obstructions, and rammed through a thick enemy cable protectively crossing the river, to land her troops safely just off the airport.
During the river-run, the Dallas was touching bottom frequently. After rounding a bend in the river, the ship ran aground and remained aground until they reached the objective — the ramp at the airport —a distance of two miles. During that stretch the engines were making turns for twenty knots, while the ship only made good about five to ten knots through the muddy ground.
Upon arrival at the objective airport ramp, the ship was anchored, and the raider detachment of soldiers disembarked. Within a few minutes of anchoring and while the troops were disembarking, an enemy battery of 75-millimeter guns opened fire on the troops. Their shells were hitting very close aboard, some within ten yards of the ship. Salvo after salvo was directed by Boyd’s crew at the enemy position while enemy fire could be heard whistling overhead and gun splashes surrounding the ship. The Dallas’s gun crew rapidly returned fire on the enemy targets. The enemy batteries were hit, from which innumerable detonations could be heard. The enemy positions were quickly and permanently silenced by Gunnery Officer Boyd’s highly effective crew.
Commander Boyd’s citation reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Gunnery Officer of the U.S.S Dallas during the assault on and occupation of French Morocco from November 8-11, 1942. Displaying remarkable courage under heavy hostile fire, during the perilous journey of the Dallas up the shallow Sebou River to the Port Lyautey airfield, then Lieutenant (junior grade) Boyd played a large part in providing protective gunfire for our Army raider troops and controlled and directed the fire of the ship so efficiently that hostile shore batteries were silenced before they were able to inflict any damage on the Dallas."
The Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the U.S.S. Dallas for their "brilliant accomplishments during the assault on, and occupation of, French Morocco in November, 1942."
The citation awarded to the United States Ship Dallas, reads as follows:
"For outstanding participation in the capture of Port Lyautey Airfield, French Morocco, November 10, 1942. With U.S. Army Raider detachment embarked, The Dallas, crossing a treacherous bar against heavy surf in order to reach the mouth of the Sebou River, broke through a steel cable boom obstructing the channel, forced her course ten miles upstream under hostile fire, and successfully landed troops without material damage or loss of life. Her distinctive fulfillment of a difficult and hazardous mission contributed materially to the victorious achievement of the Northern Attack Group."
In addition to her Presidential Unit Citation, the Dallas received four battle stars for other World War II service.
As a direct result of Gunnery Officer Boyd and his skilled crew, the U.S.S. Dallas received no direct hits, and there were no personnel casualties as a result of this engagement. There were fine steel fragments found embedded in the splinter mats around the fire control platform, and shrapnel markings were found here and there on the ship overall. The enemy fire was extremely accurate, and nearly all their rounds landed between the ship and the riverbank, which was less than twenty yards away.
The raider detachment from the ship was able to occupy the enemy Airfield at Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Africa.
On 16 November, after the successful North African invasion, the Dallas departed the African coast and returned to Boston, arriving 26 November 1942.
In 1943, Randall and Dee were stationed in Pensacola, where Boyd attended Flight Training School. Randall successfully completed training and earned his wings in 1944.
In 1947, he went on to MIT to earn his MS in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.
In 1949, Commander Boyd (then Lieutenant Commander) was promoted to Executive Officer of Patrol Squadron Forty Seven (VP-47).
Commander Boyd went on to earn many medals as a Navy pilot in VP-47, during the Korean War. He earned the highest aviator award, the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism three times (2 Gold Stars). He was also awarded the Navy Air Medal for combat meritorious achievement five times (4 Gold Stars).
Commander Boyd’s first Distinguished Flying Cross citation reads:"For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Patrol Plane Commander of a Patrol Bomber during a reconnaissance patrol in search of hostile mines in the vicinity of Wonsan, Korea, on 12 October 1950. When enemy shore batteries attacked U.S. mine sweepers with intense fire, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Boyd spotted hostile targets, took them under fire and held them down while the vessels escaped from the area. Braving heavy fire sent up from the ground, he controlled Naval gunfire and vectored carrier-based aircraft to the enemy positions. A skilled airman and cool leader in the face of hostile opposition, Commander Boyd, by his initiative and inspiring devotion to duty, encouraged his crewmembers to exert maximum effort during this engagement, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service"
On Jan 1, 1950 (pre-Korean War) Commander Boyd and VP-47 departed from San Diego and flew to Oppama, Japan, by "hip-hopping the Pacific from Hawaii, Kwajelin, Guam and other islands."
The squadron participated in Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) exercises with British naval forces in March. Other ASW exercises were conducted in Japanese waters off Sasebo in conjunction with VP-28 during April 1950.
In June 1950 the VP-47 squadron was about to head back to the U.S. The VP-47 Skipper, Joe Arnold, headed back to the United States with half of the squadron’s planes.
CDR Boyd, the executive officer, was to follow shortly after Arnold’s group. Before CDR Boyd’s group could return, the Korean War broke out in July 1950.
The homeward voyage of Patrol Squadron 47, so recently begun, was destined not to be completed. President Truman ordered U.S. military forces to support South Korea in their defense against the North Korean invasion. McArthur froze all unit movements. Half of the squadron was still enroute to the continental United States with the Skipper, Commander Joe Arnold.
By July 7th six PBMs were operating out of Yokosuka with Commander Boyd. Two temporarily remained in Manilla with CDR Joe Arnold. One plane was lost in an accident at Guam, when it missed its buoy, grounded, and sank.
Commander Arnold would soon fly north to Japan. In mid-July, the squadron’s detachments had rejoined and were relocated to Iwakuni, Japan. Advance bases were set up for temporary operations at Inchon and Chinhae, Korea. The squadron began combat patrols of Tsushima Strait, mine reconnaissance around Inchon and Wonsan, ASP over the Sasebo to Pusan shipping lanes, and general utility services by 31 July 1950.
Commander Boyd’s first Distinguished Flying Cross Gold Star (in lieu of a 2nd DFC) Citation stated:"For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight… against enemy aggressor forces… Completing thirty-five combat missions… Boyd participated in daring strikes against the enemy in the face of imminent hostile antiaircraft fire and aerial opposition…his outstanding skill, courage and devotion to duty… contributed materially to the success of his squadron in the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."
Commander Boyd and the rest of VP-47 finished their tour of duty in Korea and in December 1950 headed back across the Pacific toward San Diego. VP-47 was relieved on 1 January 1951, with the last aircraft arriving at NAS San Diego, Calif., on 31 January 1951, almost twelve months to the day since it departed on what was anticipated as a six-month deployment. Commander Boyd was offered his own VP squadron (by Joe Arnold) but he turned in down in order to be with his young growing family.
Shortly after the squadron’s return, it was assigned a new home base at NAS Alameda, California. Commander Boyd was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Pentagon, Washington D.C.
After the Korean War, in June of 1954, Commander Boyd became Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron Thirty Four (VP-34), Trinidad, British West Indies. One of his tasks was to move VP-34 from Trinidad to NAS Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone in June of 1955.
Next, he was stationed in Pensacola to lead the Naval Air Station Air-flight Overhaul & Repair operations that maintained the aircraft of the Naval Air Station. While in Pensacola, Commander Boyd’s parents came to visit. His father never left. He was found to have colon cancer. Commander Boyd and Dee gave final care to his father. During this time, Commander Boyd turned down a prestigious Sea Command of a Cruiser in order to continue giving care during his father’s terminal illness. Commander Boyd knew that this choice would probably curtail further advancement in the Navy, since a Ship Command is so vital to his Naval career. However, his sense of duty to his family overrode any consideration of coldly moving forward with his career.
In 1958, Commander Boyd was assigned as Executive Officer of the new Naval Base in Rota, Spain. Shortly after this tour of duty he returned to Massachusetts and retired from the Navy. But he didn’t retire from playing a role in helping to build America as a world leader.
After retiring from the Navy, Commander Boyd joined MIT’s Draper Laboratories, which played a key role in President Kennedy's early space programs. Commander Boyd was a key Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer and contributor in the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He also played a key role in developing the Navy DSRV (Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle) capabilities. Randall also became a Scoutmaster for a Cambridge city Boy Scout Troop. He taught many city youths, the joy of camping and clean living.
After retiring from MIT’s Draper Labs, Commander Boyd moved to the Houston area with his wife, Dee Boyd. There he joined Brown & Root Construction as a senior engineer in charge of various shipbuilding projects.
Commander Boyd later formed his own engineering firm, where he invented and patented a "Trigeneration" process. Trigeneration is an expanded concept of co-generation. Co-generation is the simultaneous production of heat and power in a single thermodynamic process. Commander Boyd’s Trigeneration process adds the ability to simultaneously reduce atmospheric emissions while deriving beneficial chemicals, primarily carbon dioxide, from the exhaust. Bottling and food processing plants use carbon dioxide for beverage carbonation, inert atmospheres and freeze-drying purposes. The oil industry uses carbon dioxide to enhance oil production.
A power plant built in Bellingham, Massachusetts in 1991 is the first in the country to utilize Commander Boyd’s Trigeneration techniques. The CO2 Recovery Plant captures 15% of the flue gas, leaving the cogeneration facility to produce 350 tons per day of good-grade carbon dioxide for sale.
Commander Boyd was a remarkable man. An accomplished, decorated soldier and brilliant engineer, he was also a model husband and father. He was a true hero from the "greatest generation," a humble patriot with a steadfast sense of duty all his life. His five sons, three of who also served in the United States Navy, and ten grandchildren are all proud to honor his life of heroism and accomplishment.
Commander Boyd was buried with full military honors in the Arlington National Cemetery on November 29th, 2001.
United States Navy 1937 – 1961
USNA: 1937 - 1941
Born: September 24, 1918
Died: October 27, 2001
Interred in Arlington National Cemetery: Nov 29, 2001
A WWII & Korean War Naval Officer and Pilot
Medals, Awards & Citations of Commander Randall T. Boyd Jr:
Distinguished Flying Cross (3 citations)
Air Medal (5 citations)
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
China Service Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Navy Occupation Medal
American Campaign Medal
American Defense Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Victory Medal, World War II
Navy Presidential Unit Citation (USS. Dallas, DD-199)
Command at Sea Insignia
Commander Boyd graduated from:
School, class of 1936