PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, U.S. Space Force Master Sgt. James Randolph, Space Delta 9 – Orbital Warfare, 1st Space Operations Squadron flight chief, watched as the life he built for himself crumbled. Over the last 15 years, he has worked to build himself a successful career and a loving family from the ground up.
Randolph studied business computer information systems at the University of North Texas. However, college life wasn’t exactly what he hoped it would be.
“I was not enjoying college and was having to work full time,” Randolph said, “so, I figured, if I was going to work I should go ahead and work for myself.”
After many failed attempts, Randolph and his friend finally found success in their computer engineering business called DFW Computer Guys.
“We had made it past the one-and-a-half year mark [and] were making money,” Randolph said. “[We] had stopped eating Ramen every night and were putting money in our pockets, then 9/11 happened.”
Randolph and his partner had to shut down their business due to the ensuing recessions.
“It was devastating for us because, in our eyes, we had made it,” Randolph recalled. “All business ceased. We had bills to pay and no money coming in. After that, we both gave up on running our own business and [we] had to go back to reality and find jobs.”
He worked odd jobs over the years to keep afloat, but he wanted more for himself. At the age of 26 Randolph joined the U.S. Air Force.
“The combination of wanting to serve and the need of some stability in my life led me down this path,” Randolph said.
Over his 15-year career, Randolph has achieved the rank of master sergeant, as well as becoming the flight chief of operations. He later became one of the first service members to join the U.S Space Force.
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity I could not pass up,” Randolph explained. “It feels awesome to be part of the initial cadre in the [U.S.] Space Force and to be able to look back once I am retired and say that I had a hand in that.”
According to U.S. Space Force Capt. Jeremiah Specht, DEL 9, 1st SOPS flight commander, Randolph has a great work ethic and makes sure his flight is always looked after.
“Master Sgt. Randolph is a very serious person,” said Specht. “He is very strict, but will work tirelessly to take care of and look out for his people.”
Outside of work Randolph is also a dedicated family man. With a wife and a 7-year-old daughter at home, he looks forward to spending time with his family the most. They like to hike, ride bikes and play outside in the wooded area near their home; his daughter especially loves the outdoors.
“I think just the fact that I can go home and know I have a loving family waiting on me is huge,” Randolph said. “In the military we typically aren’t around the rest of our [extended] family so that bond at home is so much more important.”
Despite facing difficulties and setbacks early on, Randolph has since discovered a greater purpose through military and family life, and he is grateful for the life he is able to live now.