CAPT Randall O. Abshier, USN (Ret.)
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Captain Abshier graduated from Jacksonville University in 1968 with degrees in Mathematics and Physics. He entered flight training through the Aviation Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an Ensign in January 1969. Upon completion of flight training at Ellison Field on November 10, 1969, Naval Aviation Number T-12646/R-10828, he was ordered to Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, where he served in the Maintenance Department’s Quality Assurance Officer and flew UH-34 and HH-1 helicopters in support of the Navy’s Search and Rescue operations. He became the stations NATOPS Officer in both helicopters. He was the HAC in 9 rescues. He was also qualified to fly in several fixed wing aircrafts; T-28 (NATOPS Officer), US2B, HU-16 Dumbo Sea Plan, C-131 and C117.
In October 1971, He reported to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron ONE (HS-1) at NAS Quonset Point, Rode Island, as a Replacement Pilot enroute to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron FIFTEEN (HS-15) at NAS Lakehurst, NJ. With HS-15, the first squadron to receive the SH-3H helicopter, he deployed aboard the USS Guam for the CNO’s Sea Control Ship evaluation. After the squadron moved to NAS Jacksonville, he deployed aboard USS Independence. He served as ASW Officer, Flight Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, Aviation Safety Officer/Safety Department Head.
In October 1974, he was assigned to HS Wing ONE (HSW-1), NAS Jacksonville, as the Safety Department Head and Assistant Operations Officer, where he made significant contributions to the entire East Coast HS community by conceptualizing and overseeing the eventual establishment of an HS training site at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), Andros Island, Bahamas. During this same period, Captain Abshier earned his Masters Degree in Personnel Management and later his MBA. In August 1977, he reported to the Naval War College, Newport, RI and completed the Command and Staff course in the summer of 1978.
Following Replacement Pilot training at HS-1 in December 1978, he reported to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS-7) where he served as Safety Department Head, Operations Department Head, and Aircraft Maintenance Department Head. He participated in two Mediterranean deployments while embarked in USS Saratoga. In January 1981, three months after returning from deployment, Captain Abshier transferred to Staff, Commander Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) that was deployed to the Mediterranean aboard USS John F. Kennedy. Serving as the Chief Staff Officer and ASW Operations Officer for CVW-1, he also deployed aboard USS America for a North Atlantic cruise and then later a Mediterranean/Indian Ocean cruise. There he flew with Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron ELEVEN (HS-11) as HAC and the S-3A as copilot with Antisubmarine Warfare Squadron THIRTY-TWO (VS-32). He departed the staff In April 1983, 5 months into their cruise, from the Indian Ocean and reported to Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific.
In late May 1983, Captain Abshier reported as Executive Officer of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron EIGHT (HS-8) in San Diego, California and in July 1983 deployed with Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9) on USS Ranger to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, Westpac/IO. After seven and half months, they returned in February 1984, and the squadron transferred to Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14) and immediately started workup on USS Constellation. In September 1984, Captain Abshier assumed command of the “Eightballers” of HS-8 and led the squadron through a highly successful 7 months Westpac/IO deployment. During this period, HS-8 was awarded the CNO Safety Award, Battle Efficiency “E” Award, Top Torpedo Delivery Award and the Sikorsky Superior Maintenance Award.
In April 1986, following his command tour, he was assigned to Staff, Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet as the Readiness Officer for Helicopter Antisubmarine squadrons. In January 1987, he reported to Newport, RI for PRE-Ship Executive Officer training. Captain Abshier reported as the Executive Officer, USS Guam, Naval Station, Norfolk, VA in July 1987 and made a deployment to the Mediterranean Theater. In Jul 89, he transferred to Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic to start various pipeline familiarization training in the SH-60B, SH-2, P-3C, and S-3A/B, and Pilot Qualified in Model training at HS-1 for the SH-3H, and initial Pilot Qualified in Model training at HS-10 for the SH-60F.
Captain Abshier assumed command of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) in January 1990. Comprised of E-6A, P-3’s, S-3’s, SH-2’s, SH-60B’s, SH-60F’s, and HH-60H’s, VX-1 was the Navy’s largest operational test and evaluation Squadron consisting of over 20 aircraft, 1200 enlisted and over 100 Officers. The squadron also tested the E-6A (Boeing 707) Tacamo aircraft, the MK-50 Antisubmarine torpedo, and the V-22. He transferred November 1991 to Commander, Sea Based ASW, Atlantic, NAS Jacksonville.
In late November 1991, Captain Abshier reported as Commander, Helicopter Wing ONE (HSW-1). Responsible for Operational and Administrative Support of six Atlantic Fleet HS Squadrons and the Fleet Readiness Squadron, flying the SH-3 H/G’s and SH-60F’s helicopters. In January 1993, HSW-1 changed its name to Helicopter Antisubmarine Wing Atlantic (HSWL) and reported directly to Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic. In Jul 1993, Captain Abshier detached as the Wing Commander.
In July 1993, Captain reported as Commander, Training Air Wing FIVE (TRAWING-5) at NAS Whiting Field, Milton, FL. The Base Commanding Officer, 3 VT and 2 HT Squadron Commanding Officers reported directly to him. His command was also responsible for the 1000 flight students, the 225 T-34’s and the 150 H-57’s located there for Primary and Advanced Helicopter flight training. His command was also responsible for all the training devices and simulators and the oversight of the aircraft maintenance and simulators contracts.
In Jun 1995, He reported as one of the 4 Captain Training Directors at Chief of Naval Education and Training. He retired from the Navy in June 1999. Captain Abshier has over 6000 flight hours and has flown the T-34B/C, T-28B/C (carrier qualified), H-19, H-34, H-1, C-117, C-131, HU-16 seaplane, US-2B, SH-3 D/G/H, SH-60B/F, HH-60H, S-3A/B, P-3C, E-6A, V-22, AH-1J, H-46, H-53, TH-57B/C, and T-6.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit (5), Meritorious Services Medal (2), Air Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation (2), Meritorious Unit Commendation (8), Battle Efficiency “E” Ribbon (4), National Defense Service Medal (2), and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (7).
Captain Abshier married to his college sweetheart in 1966, the former Dianne Brassfield of Jacksonville, Florida. They have two sons, Randy Jr. and Gary, 5 grandchildren, and two great- grandchildren. His hobbies include distance road bike riding and Olympic length Triathlons.