|Randall Keith "Randy" Acord|
February 27, 1919|
Clarendon, Donley County, Texas, USA
|Died||May 19, 2008
|Occupation||Historian; Museum curator|
|Spouse(s)||Marion Acord (until his death)|
(1) Acord established partly at his own expense the Alaska Air Pioneer Museum at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks to preserve the history of aviation for future generations.
Acord was a native of Clarendon, the seat of Donley County in the Texas Panhandle some sixty miles east of Amarillo. He attended college for two years and worked as an electrician, when on August 18, 1941, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in Lubbock, Texas. In 1943, Acord was a young test pilot stationed at Ladd Field, now Fort Wainwright, an Army post in Fairbanks. He flew planes with the Cold Weather Testing Station and experimented with heating systems and landing planes with skis. He left the then United States Air Force with the rank of major. Subsequently, he was awarded the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Award for his contributions to Russian-North American relations during World War II.
Acord had a vast knowledge of aeronautics. He recorded an oral history of the technical details of his flights. His wife of fifty years, Marion Acord, who survived him, took detailed notes for the benefit of future researchers. Mike Cox, a former manager at Pioneer Park, which houses the aviation museum, said that Acord possessed a "depth of knowledge about anything related to aviation . . . a treasure trove of information."
Acord conceived the idea for the museum in the late 1970s when the military was considering closing Fort Wainwright. However, the post remains open. The museum opened to the public in 1992 after Acord spent thousands of dollars of his own money to overcome construction setbacks.[clarification needed]
Acord told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that "There is so much history going away nowadays. People don't record events, and then they pass on, and it's gone. I would like to see this history passed on to the younger people of this country."
Acord flew a small carrier for several years and went into business as a food distributor to outlying villages. He continued to fly until he was in his early eighties. He died in Fairbanks from complications of pneumonia.
- Social Security Death Index:http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi
- NARA - AAD - Display Full Records - Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records)
- newsminer.com • Fairbanks, Alaska
- Air Force Memorial Foundation
- FAA - Master Pilot Award List