A native of Dublin, Georgia, Rear Admiral BillGoodwin, USN, Retired, graduated from the University of South Carolina and was commissioned in May of 1975. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1977.
Goodwin retired from active duty in June 2010 after 35 years of service. He is currently employed by Auburn University as director, Nuclear Power Generation Systems Program in the College of Engineering.
Bill Goodwin's decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, as well as numerous unit commendations and awards.
1. What does a routine day at the Recreation and Wellness Center consist of for you?
My routine is to walk the track for 2, 3, or 4 miles depending how I feel and will normally run the inclined portion on each lap. After the walk, I’ll go to the Heisman level and use five of the cardio machines for arms, back and abdomen. My routine includes talking with the student workers who I make a point to meet. “I believe in a sound mind, a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid…”
2. Tell us about your position with Auburn University as Director of Nuclear Power Generation Systems Program?
I am the Director of a minor that teaches the process of making electricity using nuclear fission as a heat source. It consists of 6 courses and 16 credit hours. There are three professors who teach the upper level courses while I teach the introductory course and the senior lab. The minor is open to anyone on campus, not just engineers.
3. What responsibilities did you have as the first Commanding Officer of the USS Ronald Reagan?
The primary responsibility of any Commanding Officer is the safety of the ship and her crew (by the way, ships are always referred to in the feminine), the crew’s well-being and the combat readiness of the both ship and crew. Did I mention that the entire crew numbers about 5,800 people? The aircraft carrier, USS RONALD REAGAN, displaces over 90,000 tons of water, a measure of weight, and is over and 1090 feet long. So, that length corresponds to the distance from Petrie Hall through Jordan-Hare stadium to the ticket sales booth at Plainsman Park. To be the Captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, you must have been a naval aviator or a naval flight officer in the first 20 years of your Navy career.
4. What was your favorite place to visit during your 35-year career with the Navy and why?
My favorite place to visit was home! When you deploy and leave home for 5, 6, 7 months or more, there is no place like home. I am a proud husband of 40 years and a father of two Auburn graduates – War Eagle!
My other favorite place to visit was Hong Kong. I saw it before and after it was part of the People’s Republic of China, so it has changed. It has always been a cosmopolitan city with diverse cultures and the center of large Asian businesses. Places like Stanley Market, riding the Star Ferry and sampling foods from the region will always be memorable.
5. Tell us about the aircraft that you flew during your career?
After flight school, which took about 18 months, I learned to fly the A-7E Corsair II, a subsonic single-seat carrier-based attack jet. Later in my flying career, I transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet, a supersonic carrier-based fighter/attack jet, which are flown by the Blue Angels today painted blue and yellow…mine was a muted gray. I was also a flight instructor in Pensacola, FL in the TA-4J Skyhawk. I learned to fly in the Cessna 150 which I intend to fly again soon.
6. What would your theme song be?
The Navy Hymn – “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”
7. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I have passion for youth. Whether it be the church youth group, Boy Scouts or engineering students, they are the future of our country and I want to impart my knowledge to them.
8. What is your favorite food and why?
Shrimp, fixed any way you like it! There is something about fresh shrimp that is hard to describe.
9. Finish this sentence: What was I thinking when…?
I had to land a jet aircraft on a dark, moonless night in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (500 hundred miles from the nearest land) with the flight deck rolling and pitching 10 to 15 feet and not much extra fuel!
10. Do you have a New Year’s Resolution?
I have a continual resolution – to serve my God, my family and my country, and be a person of integrity. That is better said: “I believe in my Country because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with my God.”… and…”I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.”