Ray Goodson joined the Navy
on October 31, 1939.
While in boot camp in the Great
Lakes he did some
boxing. He absolutely loved the Navy – it was his home. He was on
many ships: USS Mississippi, USS Houston (twice), USS Indianapolis, had
Command of the USS Umpqua, had Command of the USS
Opportune and was on the USS Keywaden.
He was a Japanese POW for 44
months after the Houston was sunk, being liberated in 1945. He
graduated from SalvageOfficerSchool in 1948 and NavyDiving &
SalvageSchool in 1952. He retired after 25 years in
November, 1963. Was a licensed Harbor Pilot to operate any tonnage ship,
had an airplane Pilots license, and loved to sail as much as he could.
He was a real hero to
everyone and the world was a much better place with him in it. Ray passed
away on May 11, 2006 at the
age of 85, and is now with his beloved Josephine.
Ray Goodson 85, reunited with his beloved Josephine
and was born into heaven on May 11, 2006. Ray was a great husband,
father, grandfather, friend, and decorated war hero that gave many a chance for
freedom. At the age of 17, Ray accomplished one of his childhood dreams and
joined the US Navy. During his enlistment, he had many achievements and honors
including being one of the first men to attend DeepSeaDivingSchool, boxing a Golden Glove
Champion, and commanding 2 ships. During World War II, he was aboard the USS
Houston Heavy Cruiser CA-30 that was attacked while in the Sundra Straights.
After being blown from the ship and drifting at sea, he made it to a small
island where natives helped him recover from Malaria. On March 25, 1941, the Japanese seized the island and took all the men as
prisoners. This was the beginning of his forty-four month imprisonment as POW.
During that time, he was transferred to many prison camps. While there, he
overcame many struggles including torture, slave labor, and starvation. After
the Atomic bomb was dropped just outside of his last camp, he was able to
escape and head home. After long hospital stays, he re-enlisted in the US Navy.
In his Navy career, he served the USS Keywadin
(ATA-213), Opportune (ARS- 41), USS Greenlet
(ASR-10), USS Alsteade (AF-41), and USS Umpqua (ATA) 209. He attended Diving and Salvage school and
was named First Lieutenant and Diving Officer of the Opportune. He attended DeepDivingSchool and eventually became
Lieutenant Junior Grade of the Umpqua. In addition to his sea time,
he spent several commands at port. These included shore duty at the Reserve
Fleet in Green Cove Springs, Florida and Naval Station Mayport, Florida as Officer in charge of the
waterfront. His last voyage was again on the Opportune. In his era, Ray was the
only Lieutenant to have ever commanded a Salvage ship. Once his tour was
complete on the Opportune, he retired on November 3,
as a Lieutenant. He still remained in civil service duties for many years
afterwards and his jobs included being a harbor pilot. During his Naval career,
he received the following medals, decorations, and badges: Purple heart,
Presidential citation, Philippine Presidential citation, Good conduct, American
Defense, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (2 stars), WW II Victory,
National Defense Service medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service
Medal and Philippine Defense Ribbon (1 star).Ray was a loving and comical soul.
He enjoyed time with his family, reunions with his war buddies, and breakfast
with his friends. He loved to sail and tell stories of his past. Our hero,
father, grandfather and great-grandfather leaves behind his Daughters Donna,
Karen (Arnold), and Joanne (Rick), and his son Gary (Terri), grandchildren Loralee (Stephen), Casey Marie, Casey, and Travis, and
great-grandchild Creighton. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made
to Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301Cincinnati, OH45250, www.dav.org, or the First
Baptist Church of Middleburg, 2645 Blanding Blvd., Middleburg, FL, 32068, www.fbcmiddleburg.com
. Memorial Services will be held Thursday, May
, at TOWN & COUNRTY FUNERAL HOME chapel, 7242 Normandy Blvd., Jacksonville, FL, 32205.