Flagler County Veteran of the Week: James Randall Stapleford

Thank you for your example of service and bravery.

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  • | 4:45 a.m. November 10, 2023
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James Randall Stapleford

  • Branch of Military: U.S. Navy
  • Dates of Service: 1972-2003
  • Rank/Occupation: Captain/Naval Aviator
  • Hometown: Broomall, Pennsylvania
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James Randall (Randy) Stapleford trained as a naval aviator in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Upon entering active duty, he was designated to fly the S-3A Viking as an Air Anti-Submarine Pilot. He earned his “Wings of Gold” with 13 years of sea duty, 7,000 flight hours and over 1,000 aircraft carrier-arrested landings. During his navy career, he commanded an aviation squadron, served as the nuclear advisor to the commander in chief, was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as the naval attaché and attaché for air to the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, served as director of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and just before retiring he was commanding officer and professor of naval sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. After retiring honorably from a distinguished Navy career, Stapleford worked for the U.S. Department of State Antiterrorism Assistance program, as the country coordinator for Iraq, and later held that title as the coordinator in the Republic of the Philippines. Stapleford left the State Department to join the staff of Congressman Jason Altmire in his home state of Pennsylvania as the military and veterans affairs outreach coordinator. Stapleford and his wife, Rhonda, of 42 years, relocated to Palm Coast in 2013, and he joined the staff of then-Congressman Ron DeSantis as his military and veterans affairs outreach coordinator. Stapleford now performs those same important duties on the staff of our current Congressman Michael Waltz. He is also an integral member of the Flagler County Veterans Advisory Council, providing our local service organizations with important information relevant to the veterans community from his many contacts across the state and in Washington DC. As a key figure advocating for military and veterans in our region, he was lauded by Gov. DeSantis for his role in helping bring to fruition the much-needed new St. Augustine Veterans Affairs Community Bases Outpatient Health Career facility. He routinely volunteers his time to mentor youth seeking advice on joining the military or how to be competitive for ROTC scholarships and service academy appointments. In 2021, Stapleford was appointed by DeSantis to the Florida Inland Navigation District Board of Commissioners. Dedicated to veterans causes, he is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and is a member of the American Legion and Military Officers Association of America, Chapter 41, Flagler County. The Staplefords have two adult daughters, Heather and Allison.

Need help with Veteran Services?

For information about support organizations and resources available to veterans, call 386-313-4014.



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