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Beloved former base CO dies in crash

Capt. Randall J. Lynch, former commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, seen here giving a speech in 2013 at the National Museum of the American Sailor. Lynch died in a plane crash last Friday.
Capt. Randall J. Lynch, former commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, seen here giving a speech in 2013 at the National Museum of the American Sailor. Lynch died in a plane crash last Friday.

Capt.(ret.) Randall J. Lynch, former commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL), died in an airplane accident in Arizona, according to an Associated Press story published on Nov. 17.

According to the story, Navajo County (Ariz.) Chief Deputy Randy Moffitt identified those killed in the single-engine airplane crash Friday, Nov. 16 in the unincorporated community of Overgaard, Ariz. as Lynch and his father, Jay A. Lynch of Port Orange, Fla. The 82-year-old father owned a hangar at the airstrip in the subdivision, and the men were flying back to Florida from California, Moffitt said. The crash is under investigation.

A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Lynch attended the University of California at San Diego under the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program, graduating in 1988 with a B.A. in U.S. History.  He also held master’s degrees in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. Following flight training in Pensacola, he was designated a Naval Flight Officer in March 1990.

At sea, Lynch accumulated more than 3,200 flight hours in various Naval aircraft (primarily in the EA-6B Prowler and S-3 Viking), including over 700 hours in combat, and over 400 carrier arrested landings. Lynch commanded ELECTRONIC ATTACK SQUADRON 134. 

Ashore, Lynch served as a flight instructor; as the Naval and Amphibious Liaison Officer at the Combined Air Operations Center in Qatar; a Joint Staff Officer at U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany;  and the Senior Federal Executive Fellow in the National Security Analysis Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, working for the Chief of Naval Operations. 

He was commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes July 2011-July 2013. During this period, Lynch played an integral role in supporting not only Naval Station Great Lakes, but championed the coordination efforts of stakeholders throughout the greater Chicago area and the region, winning the base numerous awards.

His final assignment in the Navy took him to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. as the commanding officer of the Naval ROTC unit. He stayed on as an adjunct professor there after retiring from Naval service.

Lynch’s personal decorations included the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal (12 Strike/Flight Awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), as well as various campaign medals and unit citations.

He is survived by his wife Terri and sons Luke and Joshua.

In lieu of flowers or gifts Terri Lynch asks for donations to her cousin Michelle Miller Rowley, who is battling cancer, at www.gofundme.com/rally-for-the-rowleys.

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