Foley, Ala. (WKRG) — Joe Godwin was one of the last—and one of youngest World War Two veterans at 84, to take part in Honor Flight South Alabama–an effort that took more than 950 veterans to see the World War Two memorial in Washington.
“I wanted the older people to get there first because the Doc made sure, I was the youngest guy, he was going to put me on the last flight,” said Godwin.
Honor Flight South Alabama 9 was the last flight from Mobile. Godwin had plenty to reminisce about with his fellow vets. He was sent to Europe in the final days of World War Two.
“Now our job in those days was German prisoners. There were still war crimes trials going on,” he said.
Today, Godwin is 94. He enlisted at the age of 17 and asked to be assigned to the European theater. He says even as the war was ending, he was plenty busy.
He said, “I was there at 17 and in six months I was 20 years old—that’s about how busy we were.”
During his career in the army, he not only served in World War II but also in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Godwin says not long after World War Two, he was sent to train men in artillery in Arkansas.
“I get a tap on the shoulder–your time, Korea. You’ve seen the movie ‘Pork Chop Hill?’ A very good description of what was going on when I was sent in there the first time,” said Godwin.
Because of his expertise with artillery and attrition due to war, Godwin rose in rank fast. But his service didn’t stop in Korea. After more stints as an instructor in the States and back in Germany, he ended up in Asia again as war churned in Vietnam.
“With a unit that I was very proud of — served with two of the greatest commanders that ever lived, John W. Crancer and Robert Codding. They weren’t afraid of anything,” he said.
Godwin rose to the highest non-commissioned officer rank in the military—Command Sergeant Major. He finally retired from military service in 1972. 27 years in the army, three wars–and a trip on Honor Flight South Alabama. It’s why Joe Godwin is our Serving Those Who Serve hero.