Linked Eternally

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Njaco, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    #1 Njaco, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
    Gloucester County man, friend linked eternally in life, death | Around Gloucester County Towns - - Local Gloucester County town news - NJ.com

    Gloucester County man, friend linked eternally in life, death.

    By Bob Shryock/Gloucester County Times
    October 22, 2009, 1:22PM

    Bob Godman grew up in Gloucester County, Slim Russell light years away in Williston, Mont.

    They met in the United States Navy during World War II and almost instantly became best friends. They were decorated aviators who flew often, but not always, in the same theaters in two wars. Each achieved the rank of captain.

    After serving their countries, their families have remained tight for more than a half century. Bob was married for 66 years, Slim for 67.

    On May 17, Slim died in Sarasota, Fla. of pneumonia. He was 88.

    Six days later, May 23, Bob, who had pancreatic cancer and back problems, died at the Vineland veterans’ home. He also was 88.

    But it is not the end of their story.

    On Oct. 30, Capt. Robert Godman and Capt. Allard Guy “Slim” Russell will be interred, side-by-side, with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

    Both men were devoted to their families, patriots, and accomplished men, and it’s our honor and privilege to know they’ll be buried next to each other,” says Eileen Godman, one of Bob and Sara (Sally) Godman’s three children. “For the rest of our lives, our families will be forged together with a bond of friendship and pride.”

    Each family felt it would be a moving tribute to have both ‘Fly Boys’ and Naval heroes interred side-by-side,” says Dr. Diane Russell Warren, Slim’s daughter.

    A memorial service will be held at the Fort Myer, Va. Military Community chapel at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 30 followed by burial at Arlington. Presiding over both services will be (Ret.) Comdr. Lyn Hutton, a close friend of Russell’s, the Navy’s first female aviator, and an ordained minister.

    Eileen Godman said Arlington officials reported the request for concurrent burials was “unusual” but did not indicate if it was unprecedented.

    Capt. Godman lived his entire life in Gloucester County including his early years on Cattell Road in Wenonah after his mother died. The family moved to Pitman, where Bob was president of the Class of 1940 and an all-around athlete who excelled as a miler in track and football captain. He also met his high school sweetheart, Sally Meves.

    Godman entered the Navy in 1942, started as a Naval aviator in 1943, and made two combat tours of the Pacific Theater as a carrier and dive-bomber pilot who earned several service medals and a Purple Heart. After the war he served as a flight instructor and aided in the development of the Navy’s landing systems and TACAN approach procedures, both of which were used in military and commercial flights.

    In the 1950s, Godman became commanding officer of Fighter Squadron Eighty-One, served aboard the USS Forrestal, and assumed command of Air Wing Five. Assigned to the National Military Command Center, he was Operations Directorate of the Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff during the JFK administration.

    Godman retired in 1973, after serving as C.O. of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, and moved to Wenonah with his wife.

    A tall, lean, country boy, Slim led an equally productive military life as an aviator and retired Naval officer and “honorary” Marine. He published two memoirs and lived all of his adult life in Sarasota with his wife, Edith.

    Capt. Russell was also a combat pilot who flew dive-bomber support off the USS Saratoga for the First Marine Division during the battle of Guadalcanal. Moved to an airstrip on Guadalcanal after the Saratoga was torpedoed, he flew air cover missions for the Marines.

    Described by Eileen Godman as “larger than life,” Slim flew 125 different types of airplanes and amassed 6,500 flight hours while earning numerous combat honors. In 1958, he planned and led the first flight of combat jets across the Atlantic in support of the crisis in Lebanon.

    After his retirement from the Navy in 1962, Slim held high-level positions for Bell Aircraft, Hughes Aircraft and Boeing Aircraft, working on military and civilian programs.

    As aviators, their careers intertwined very early,” says Dr. Warren. “Not only did their careers coincide, but their (common) base assignments gave the families the opportunity to enjoy a lot of time together.” At one base, Slim’s daughter, Donna, and Bob’s son, Bob, attended their first prom together.

    The families got together frequently in Wenonah and Sarasota to renew their close friendship, reminisce, and play golf, a sport at which both Slim and Bob were proficient and Slim routinely shot his age or lower. The families traveled together and communicated at holidays and other special events.

    Our families’ lives criss-crossed regularly as our fathers’ careers flourished,” Eileen Godman says.

    Now, even in death, the families are linked eternally
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    How cool is that! :salute:
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Great story, thanks for posting that, NJ!
     
  4. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    :salute: awesome story.
     
  5. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Whoa!! Great story NJ!! Thank you for posting!:salute: :salute:
     
  6. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    :salute:Thanks for posting!
     
  7. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Good post Chris!

    TO
     
  8. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Great story! :salute:
     
  9. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    I am pleased to hear the families wishes were honored in this instance.


    Wheels
     
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