Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene Honors Pilot Killed in Vietnam War

Lieutenant Commander Charles Bernard Goodwin, a Navy pilot whose plane vanished during the Vietnam War over 50 years ago, was laid to rest on Friday, October 12 at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene.

The Fort Worth-Dallas Patriot Guard Riders were on hand to escort LCDR Goodwin from the DFW airport to Weatherford on Thursday, where the West Texas Patriot Guard Riders took over and accompanied his remains to the funeral home in Abilene.

On Friday, a Naval Honor Guard performed military honors and carried the flag-draped casket to the committal shelter. A rifle detachment from Fort Worth gave a 21-gun salute, two military planes from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi flew overhead and a sailor performed “Taps” with his bugle. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Rodney P. “Tool” DeWalt presented the flag to Clayton Taylor, Mr. Goodwin’s cousin.

Charles Bernard Goodwin was born in Haskell, Texas on August 2, 1940. He loved airplanes as a child and after graduating from Haskell High School in 1958 he joined the Navy and attended Aviation Preflight Indoctrination school at the Naval Air Station Pensacola until 1961.

On September 8, 1965, at the age of 25, after launching his RF-8A from the USS Coral Sea, Goodwin was headed to North Vietnam for a combat photo mission when he reported that he was flying into a thunderstorm. This would be his last communication.

“Search efforts over the target area and adjacent coastal waters were unsuccessful, no emergency radio signals were heard and no aircraft wreckage was sighted. Goodwin was declared missing in action as of September 8, 1965,” said SFC Kristen L. Duus of the U.S. Army Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
Charles Goodwin

In 1988, a Vietnamese refugee suggested that there may be evidence of possible remains and Goodwin’s military identification card. For 23 years, between 1993 and 2016, the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and the Joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) units attempted to located the crash site, but were unsuccessful.

In December 2016, a Vietnamese national provided possible human remains to the Joint Forensic Review team who sent them on to the DPAA laboratory for further anthropolgical analysis and identification. After LCDR Goodwin’s remains were positively identified he was officially accounted for on May 8, 2017.

We are honored to finally welcome LCDR Charles Goodwin home after all these years. It is our privilege to watch over him. R.I.P. Sailor.