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In Memoriam

1st Lieutenant Randolph E. "Chongo" Murff

1st Lieutenant Randolph E. "Chongo" Murff

12 June 2001

Visitor Comments

Randy Murff- a good friend
Anonymous, Jan 03, 2007 - 07:02 PM

Went through OTS with Randy; he was my suitemate in the old dorms. He was great at breaking up the tension and could bust up the entire corps with his sense of humor. I think of him every year on 12 June as that was the day we commissioned as well as the day he crashed in Korea. You're missed my friend.

Jason Tautfest, May 17, 2007 - 10:46 PM

Likewise, I went through OTS with Randy. Murff was a great man, friend, and officer. Randy was one of those guys that left a lasting impression on you for good. I appreciate and honor is life, service, and sacrifice.

Thanks, Randy, for all that you did and all that you are! God speed, brother!

Push it up, Chongo
Trunk Baumgartner, Aug 17, 2007 - 10:58 PM

Flew with Chongo Murff in the 35FS Pantons when he crashed. A great guy, always lightened up the Sq with his sense of humor. He is sorely missed.

I have used his accident as an example for both flying and SOF (supervisor of flying) emergency training. I like to think his loss may save others.

Courtney "K-nobs" Kjos, Jan 29, 2008 - 05:10 PM

Wow, where to start.....I had no idea that this tribute page existed and it has startled me today to find it.

Those of you who were Pantons in 2000-2001 when Randy was there probably remember me. I was his girlfriend and almost fiance (Stufr gave me the engagement ring after Randy passed).

I am still as much in love with Randy as I was back then. What am amazing person he was - so loving, so kind, so cheerful (his big toothy smile - wow! - it lightened any day!), so intelligent, so ambitious, and such a great pilot with such a bright future. Randy and I loved each other in a way that others just dream about and long for. I miss him everyday and the thought of him still brings me to tears after all these years. It is still fresh, as if it happened yesterday.

I too would like to make sense of his death in some way. I don't know if that's possible but I do know that, through me, I make sure that Randy lives on forever.

"Although he is not with me, he is in all things. And although I am lonely, I know I am not alone."

Randy, Chongo, Sweetie, Pokey, you were one of the greatest men that ever lived. Your optimitism, your love of life, your have changed my life in ways I am thankful for. I live with you besides me forever. I am SO in love with you.

Love, your pokey


To Chongo, From your Crew Chief
bigziggy78, Feb 14, 2008 - 06:32 AM

I remember Randy so very much. I was his crew chief in the 35th. He was the first pilot that showed me the "real" side. I remember seeing him climb in the jet that night and how he would see me at the hooch later. That time never came. His death never made sense to me either and he his greatly missed. I did not know him as well as the others but he left am impression on me that I will remember forever.



You did not know me personally, but I know he loved you very much. His excitment when you were engaged was overwhelming.

My friend
Cyclops, May 03, 2008 - 05:42 AM

I played high school football with Murff. This guy was the most amazing man I had met. We weren't close off the field, but on it, we knew each other well. He too left an incredible impression on me. People come and go in life, but real friends never truly leave. In Hoc my brother. You will be missed. I think of you often when things aren't going well and remember. . .

All honor to his name.

Never forget
Silo, May 02, 2013 - 10:32 PM

We were in sister flights in pilot training together...Randy was 99-12 and I was 99-13. Such an AWESOME person who could make anybody smile! His personality was infectious! I will NEVER forget the day I found out about his crash. I was mission planning at Maple Flag. I almost didn't fly that day but knew that it was part of our job. I too have used the experience to teach the new kids. I like to think you have saved lives. Know that you have never been forgotten, my friend!

- Mike (aka Lude/Silo)

Spud, May 26, 2013 - 03:24 PM

Remembering Chongo from our time in Korea. Gone, but not forgotten! - Spud

In honor of you on Memorial Day
Bryony, May 23, 2014 - 07:40 PM

Each memorial day I reflect upon those who payed the ultimate sacrifice. I will always remember 1st Lt Randy "Chongo" Murff who I served with in Korea. He did not die in action but in a training mission while honing his warfighter skills. He is a reminder of how dangerous the profession of arms is both in peacetime and wartime. My greatest honor in serving has been leading the search and recovery to bring your remains home to your loved ones.

Memorial Day thoughs of you!
Coach Joe White, May 26, 2014 - 05:48 PM


On this Memorial Day I want your family to know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. It seems like yesterday when you were the 18 year old high school senior that we recruited to Columbia. You are missed!

Independence Day Thoughts...and MANY days across the past 13-years!
Col Randy Gilhart, Jul 07, 2014 - 04:39 PM

A proud young air-warrior lost way too soon! I was so VERY fortunate enough to meet and have dinner at the Kunsan O'/consolidated Club with Randy during a 'complimentary/members'-food night' the week prior to our losing him. All you could eat 'steamship Round'/roast beast sandwiches I think...? Randy struck me as terrific patriot and a really upstanding person! I truly enjoyed our brief time together and was very shaken by his loss at the time and remember well the truly outstanding and fitting Memorial Svc put on by the 35th Fighter Squadron and his brand new SQ/CC and my friend, then-Lt Col Mo Beale, and really the whole Panton family! A great patriot/fighter-pilot who is clearly still missed by many. Godspeed, and "Push it up!" up there Young Randy 'Chongo' Murff

Altered Paths
Sportin', Jun 10, 2015 - 06:42 PM

Chongo's accident forever altered the course of my life. As a young lieutenant there was one point where I thought I knew what I wanted to be. But then Chongo died and I knew what I HAD to be. Today I work to advocate, research, educate, formulate and discover more and more about human factors in aviation, the human condition and decision making processes. I keep pushing forward so that his passing was not in vain. Education is the key to continued air power and to keeping our pilots safe. Push it up Chongo! I fight on in your name.

Thoughts of Chongo
Roby, Apr 23, 2016 - 02:03 AM


You've been on my mind. I'm thinking about you and how much life you brought to everything. I was always impressed with you. I'm sad we lost you. I wish we could have done something to avoid it. It's been a spell, but you're still active on my mind. I can see you buddy. So many people miss you.



Memorial Day 2016
Bodhi, May 30, 2016 - 07:56 PM

Thoughts and prayers to Chongo, a great dude who is still remembered by us Pantons who flew with him... It seems light years past, but I still remember it all very clearly, and it still weighs on me. Love to his family and friends.

Good to see you here, Sir!
Anonymous, May 27, 2019 - 06:16 PM

It only took me 18yrs to see your face but you’ll always be in my thoughts and prayers—for the rest of my life.

“Push it up!” and Rest In Peace, Lt Murff.


First Search & Recovery Team

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