“A Helluva Way To Earn A Living”: A Vietnam Veteran On Service, Business, And West Point

Randall M. “Randy” Pais


COL(R) Randall “Randy” Pais, USMA ‘67, grew up in the coal fields of Keystone, West Virginia, but attended high school at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. There, his Professor of Military Science encouraged him to apply to West Point. During his Cadet summer detail in 1965, he deployed with the 82nd Airborne to the Dominican Republic to fight guerrillas, becoming one of the first members of his class to see combat. Upon graduation, he attended Airborne School, the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, and Ranger School before being assigned to 2/10 Field Artillery at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he fired artillery support for the Infantry School. In July 1968, he deployed to Vietnam where he was assigned to 1/7 Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Division at An Loc. In November of 1968, he was reassigned as a Forward Observer for the 36th ARVN Ranger Battalion. He returned to the United States on July 7, 1969, and served as an instructor at the Field Artillery School until 1971, when he left active duty. He then attended Law School at the University of Tennessee from 1971 to 1974, but continued to serve in the Reserves, eventually retiring from the military in 1997 as the Assistant Division Commander for the 75th Division in Houston, Texas. As an attorney, he pursued a career with Exxon Mobile, where he practiced all types of law to include litigation, marketing law, environmental law, and transactional law. Upon retiring from Exxon Mobile in 2000, he worked with Enron, and is currently Assistant General Counselor at Kinder Morgan, where he focuses on transactional law and natural gas pipelines. COL(R) Pais has long been an avid supporter of West Point and the United States Army as the President of the West Point Society of Greater Houston, a board member for the Association of Graduates (AOG) (1990-2005), and a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA). In this interview, COL(R) Pais discuss his time at the Academy, in Vietnam, and the Army, focusing on the lessons he learned while in uniform that helped him throughout life. COL(R) Pais also discusses what the Academy means to him, what if did for him, and how he continues his life of service to the Academy and our Nation.


name Randall M. “Randy” Pais
institution USMA
graduation year 1967
service Field Artillery
unit 2/10 FA; 1/7 FA 1ID; 36th ARVN Ranger Battalion; 75th Infantry Division
specialty Attorney
service dates 1967 1997