November 22, 2013
This column is dedicated to USAF Captain Randy D. Roby who gave his life to save others.
A plaque will be dedicated this afternoon at 2PM in Thermalito (Oroville), at the Cal
Fire-Butte County, 176 Nelson Avenue. All my readers are invited to the Dedication.
The following is a summary of my writings of Capt. Roby. The plaque honors Capt. Roby
and Geraldine Marie Veering, who also died as a result of the crash of the U-2 that
August day in 1996.
Oroville Mercury Register August 7, 2009
Looking Back on Oroville
A True American Hero
As he approached Oroville something went wrong,
on that day 13 years ago, today, August 7, 1996. I am convinced young Capt. Randy Roby
gave up his life so that others may live, those others being the people of Oroville.
I’ve talked to 6 eyewitnesses now and some told me he looked to be in trouble approaching
our little town, I’m totally convinced he stuck with his crippled plane trying to get
it to the unpopulated country just north of Oroville. One man told me of a rumor out
of Beale Air Force Base that he might have tried to put his plane down in our Feather
River to avoid houses and people. The man told me this is an honorable man, that is
a protector of our citizens. Maybe Capt. Roby saw people in our river that hot August
day and chose to try to get out of town, in a doing so, he gave the ultimate sacrifice
in his duty as a brave protector of our Freedom. 13 years ago and nowhere is he honored
in Oroville. Why? Because people soon forget, well he is Not Forgotten by some and will
be on the Oroville Veterans Memorial Plaque. But there should be more; why not a memorial
in front of the Cal-Fire office on Nelson Ave. where he died.
Lets go back to 1988. A young 1st Lt. Thomas E. Doyle, from Oroville, died in Germany trying to do as Capt.
Roby did, get his plane away from people. He almost made it and sadly as in Capt. Roby’s
case where a lady died, the Mayor’s brother was killed. In spite of this, he was honored
there as a hero. Many, many more could have perished.
I talked to 4 young Firemen at
the Home Depot the other day and told them Capt. Roby’s story, hoping to instill in
them the need for a Memorial up there. Maybe with the help of our community it will
Oroville Mercury Register
October 1, 2010
Looking Back on Oroville Heroes
On Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010 I went to the Chico Air Show and met two of my Heroes,
U-2 Pilots, Jon “Huggy” Huggins and Andy “Spoo” Clark. When I told them that someday
the Oroville Veterans’ Memorial Park would put Captain Randy Roby’s name in stone, they
were so glad. For years I have been calling the Captain Roby but it should be pronounced
“Row-bee”. They also told me that the Captains wife was pregnant when he died over the
streets of Thermalito, so now he would be 14 years old. Mrs. Roby, his widow, moved
away after he died. I hope someday she and her son or daughter find out what we are
doing in Oroville, and although it has been a long time coming we have not forgotten
her/his hero father. Jessica, my Granddaughter and I had placed a temporary Memorial
in front of the CDF Flag Pole on Nelson Ave. I told the two pilots that I sometimes
salute them when they fly over and that I wave and hoped they would wobble their wings.
Well maybe, “Huggy” did say he could help us when we dedicated our Memorial. We may
get a fly over, but we have to notify him well in advance. I think that would be the
neatest thing ever if we could get a U2 fly over. I think that what they do for our
country it is just so wonderful, watching over us as we sleep, like Knights of old.
So Oroville lets do it for Captain Roby and make a better effort to honor those men
and women on their special days they deserve no less.
Today, Friday, November 22, 2013, Capt. Randy Roby’s mother JoAnne Roby, told me
she would be here today along with Captain Roby’s Father, Dave and Nina Roby, his wife,
Captain Roby’s sons, Matthew and Randy Roby and Captain Roby’s sister Jamy Hathcoat.
Chief George Morris and Crew have placed a bolder and Bronze plaque on the corner where
Captain Randy Roby fell on the fateful day, August 7th, 1996.
It’s getting pretty exciting around our Veterans Memorial, a lot of the underground
has been put in trenches, mainly electrical (gray) and water (white) I believe. The
land has been graded especially the two parking lots, soon the road base will go down
then curbs and gutters. Hopefully trees and grass next. It might be too cold to lay
asphalt so gravel might have to due until spring. A World War II Hero was KIA, the Cold
War, fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy. It was very sad time for our