Colonal "Randy" Holzapple 30 year old group leaderof the Seventh Air Force A-26 Invader outfit, the first complete AF unit to be redeployed from the Mediterranean to the Pacific Theater, led his group, 16 july 1945, in its first attack on Japan, the Miyazaki Airdrome on Kyushu. Col. Holzapple holds 32 decorations, American, French, and Italian 
General Joseph Randall Holzapple
General Joseph Randall Holzapple, who was a medium bomber combat pilot and Commander of the 319th Bomb Group during World War II, remained in the service after the war to follow a brilliant career in the US Air Force. General Holzapple at the height of his Air Force career was a Four Star General and Commander in Chief of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE). He retired from that post in August, 1971, and on November 14, 1973, met an untimely death from a heart attack after playing squash in the Pentagon Athletic Center. He was just 59 years of age. 
General Holzapple was born in Peoria, Illinois, on September 7, 1914, and graduated from Peoria Central High School in 1932. He later attended Bradley Polytechnic Institute where in 1938 he graduated with a degree in business administration. He married Lois Miller of Peoria in 1945 and the couple had two children, Mrs. Richard (Nancy) Oldham Jr. of Louisville, KY and Mrs. Keith (Lynn) Sterner of Ionia, MI. All three survived him when he died in 1973. 
General Holzapple began his career with the Air Force when he enlisted in Aviation Cadet training on December 31,1940. He became a pilot and Colonel in the Army Air Corps serving as Operations Officer and later as Commander of the 319th Bomb Group. Holzapple and the Group proved their mettle early on in developing and participating in skip bombing tactics against Axis shipping when they became the first medium bomber unit to operate in North Africa. The 319th was known as "Colonel Randy's Flying Circus" because of his innovative approaches to improving flight performance, bombing accuracy, and safety. The result was one of the most remarkable Group bombing records achieved during World War II. 
In World War II he flew 91 combat missions in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO), and accumulated 390 combat hours mostly in the B-26 Marauder aircraft. He was Commander of the 319th Bomb Group when the group converted to B-25 Mitchells for two months prior to leaving the MTO and returned to the United States to be reequipped with the A-26 Invader aircraft. In May, 1945, he took the 319th Bomb Group back overseas to Okinawa where it operated against the Japanese until the end of the war, August, 1945. During this period, Holzapple flew eight more combat missions over Japan and mainland China accumulating an additional 33 combat hours. His total World War II combat missions were 99 representing 423 combat hours. 
To the men of the 319th he was known as "Colonel Randy", their colorful Commanding Officer who was able to wring out of the medium bombers and the men he commanded extraordinary performance in their combat roles. Typical of the enlisted men's feelings toward him was expressed by Corporal Paul Balian of the 437th Squadron of the 319th Bomb Group, "Colonel Holzapple used to wait outside the darkroom door for me to come out with the mission bomb strike photographs. He always treated me like a human being and not as a Corporal. There was not a finer officer."