Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
Born to Enoch and Nollie of Lometa (TX) and brother to Glenna May,Tiana, Day Alva, Ruth, Lillian, Beulah, Riely and May Dell.
Went to Long Cove School and graduated from Lometa High. Graduated from Texas A&M and entered Soil Conservation Service until called to active duty as a Second Lt. in 1952 at Amarillo AFB.
Married and has two daughters, one granddaughter and three grandsons. Finished pilot training and instructed flying in the B-25 for four years at San Angelo, TX.
Trained navigators in the T-29 Convair and was Squadron Commander at Sacramento, CA.
In 1959 transferred to a station near Taipei, Taiwan as Station Administrative Officer in the Security Service for two years. A tour at Atlanta, GA flying VIP's in C-131 and C-47 aircraft followed by a classified assignment at Tampa FL.
After a short tour flying VIPs at Chanute AFB, IL was sent to Cantho and Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam flying C-47 aircraft transporting troops, cargo and direct support of Special Forces Units in small isolated camps.
Transitioned into jets, KC-135 aerial refuelers and served three years in northern Michigan before being assigned to Wichita, KS to establish a new KC-135 Wing. In 1973 was assigned to the 12th Air Division Operations in Tucson, AZ and in 1974 after 23years service, retired as a Lt Colonel.
Aircraft flown; PA-18, T-6, T-28, B-25, T-29, C-131, C-47,C-7A, KC-135 and U-3A
Decorations; Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
Bought a photography business in 1975 and ran it for 25 years doing portraits and reproductions.
"It was an honor to serve our great country and retire knowing my effort was appreciated. We must be successful in defending our way of life from these who try to destroy us. United we stand. "
(Dad is being inducted into a Veteran’s Museum and this is a summary of his biography.)
If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger, if you pull the stick back they get smaller.
Flying with Dad is always an adventure. Goodness! He was searched head to toe at the Tucson and Dallas Forth Worth airports--coming and going. On the way there he explained that the grid like pattern of clouds over El Paso, TX was from gas emitted from the oil wells on the ground. And how to tell our flight speed by using the one square mile quilted farm lands below as markers by using the edge of the planes window and timing how long it takes the aircraft to cross that area. We estimated we were traveling about 600 land miles per hour. He also said if I'm flying and ever get lost, to look for the names of towns on water towers.
It's a good landing if you can still get the doors open.
He shared a few anecdotes. When landing a C-47 at airports pilots had to be mindful of the airspeeds in jet traffic. Because the smaller plane has to slow down to land safely and a jet in coming in right behind them the guys in the control tower can at times get a little --over excited. One of his co pilots getting in some “stick time” landed and made a quick turn off the runway asking Dad if they were on the taxi way. While the control tower was up in arms, Dad said it was, if it was made out of grass, thanked him and gave him full credit for that landing!
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man.... Landing is the first!
Landing in Brownwood TX. --well it was more like a corn field; the pilots cleared themselves for the landings and take offs by a trailer of sorts....where the same girl who unloaded our baggage and checked us in also helped park and refuel the little puddle jumper.
Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts.
Since 1984 we have had the Godwin Family Reunions and by now it's become an art. So well organized it practically runs itself. Each March family members get a packet in the mail that tells us what to bring, the activities, a schedule and a map of how to get there. For the past few years it's been held at the Brownwood Christian Retreat in Brownwood, TX. About little over an hour's drive from Lometa, Tx.
"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained." -Winston Churchill
This year’s theme was World War II. I was surprised to learn that because Grandfather had taught Aunt Ruth how to use a magnetometer, that qualified her to work on plans to adapt the magnetometer, one of the oldest geophysical tools, into an airborne method of locating submarines. Aunt May Dell worked on building airplanes by holding up a metal plates on one side of the aircraft hull while another Rosie installed rivets. To my dad who was a young teen at the time it meant trying to get gas, which was rationed, for the family Chevy for his date to the prom. Of most interest to me was my uncle's part in the war. To get sent home from the war a soldier had to have so many points. Their points were awarded based on if the man was married, had children etc. Uncle Riley had no points. Raised during the Great Depression, he was single and fresh off the farm. He spent most of his tour in Marseilles, France. He returned once to find his group shipping out for home, but alas since he had no points he was sent off to Ireland. He spent four years of his life over there as a machine gunner for the US Army, says that he was not harmed by the war, is proud to have served his country and gives his greatest respects to those who are fighting the war on terrorism today. He wishes you all Godspeed.*
Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. - Gail Lumet Buckley
Along with getting the stuffing hugged outta me. Sixty to seventy people came this year from all over. Dad, Sister and I shared a room with two bunks. I was nominated to sleep on the top bunk where I found a penny! I was trying to recall what scripture that the phrase pennies from heaven comes from because I had done a write up about it; but it refused to come to mind. We had a talent show, the winner was Shari, a beautiful red headed freckled faced "Godwin girl" with those "Godwin eyes"; a great great granddaughter and the fastest to eat through a pile of whipped cream and devour a big pile of bubble gum. Followed by the traditional White Elephant Auction to raise money for next year’s reunion. I took a brand new baby book and Uncle Paul (a preacher and grandfather) bid thirty dollars for it. When he discovered what he had bought he wanted to let us ALL know that he was NOT Abraham.
Remember as far as anyone knows, we're a nice normal family.
- Homer Simpson
Aunt Ruth who has written and published several books on the family genealogy was selling one on the Long Cove Cemetery* to help pay for maintaining it as a Historical Landmark. She has had the books archived that with the Mormon Church and rumor has it that she had to agree to allow the church to pray for us. Then she built a ramada next to the cemetery for funeral services and insists that everyone call it a tabernacle. hmmmmm so I call it a tabernacle and wonder…..
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.- George Bernard Shaw
Cousin Jeanine was accused by most newlyweds of being the leader of the pack in the latest rounds of chivarees to which she vehemently denied while other family members backed her up. Apparently salt in the bed was TOO much for one couple. Ah well --we know how to welcome the new members into the family with style. Cousin Tom told us about his work on the musical score for the new movie Spy Kids II. Cousins Peggy and Trudy cornered me on a walk and asked me about hiking 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail with them sometime in the future.....something to think about, but packing everything in and out is a little more than I care to do on a hike. A pleasant jaunt between a trail of Bed and Breakfasts is more my style. Saturday we drove into Lometa and had lunch and we got a hard starin’ at in the local café. Once they knew we were one of the “Godwins" it was a friendly and warm welcome. I’ll bet they didn’t know they were in the presence of the infamous Lo from E2 tho;) We went out to The Place where my grandparents raised a passle of kids, built the school and church; and where I spent many peppermint candied summers.
"A healthy family is sacred territory" -Unknown
Sunday morning was the family meeting, next years officers were “elected unanimously by acclamation" and then we had church services. Our heritage is, for the most part, of a variety of Christian faiths. My grandparents were Southern Baptist so we enjoyed a hymn sing of several family favorites; In the Garden, the Battle Hymn of the Republic and How Great Thou Art. Uncle Paul gave the sermon; a story about a friend who had served in World War II. Their company was under fire for several days. All afternoon and through the night his friend watched as a sparrow perched nearby flying, tending to a nest preening and singing at times and he was reminded from Sunday School of a scripture about how God keeps his eye upon the sparrow. This thought gave him the courage to leaves his bunker gather supplies for the wounded and deliver them to the medics.
Pennies from heaven drop through my soul.
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
*If you would like to order the video or book, it's five dollars plus shipping and handling with the proceeds going into a Certificate of Deposit to help pay for next years reunion. (j/k) .