Randolph “Randy” Hall Watkins is a native Virginian with deep ties to the Richmond-Petersburg area. He was raised in western Hanover County and received his degree in history and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1971. Watkins spent 12 years in active and reserve service with the United State Navy and Naval Reserve, attaining the rank of quartermaster first class. Following 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, he retired with the rank of sergeant major. During his 19-year tenure with the National Park Service, Watkins was both an interpretive ranger specializing in military engineering and fortifications, the naval aspects of siege and Virginia units, but also a historic weapons supervisor. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live at Sysonby, an 18th-century home in Dinwiddie County once owned by a battalion commander during the First Battle of Petersburg, June 9, 1864.