Riverside, CA – Saturday was a big day for LtGen Harry Goldsworthy – it was his 107th birthday. He is considered the oldest living Air Force General in the world. Born in 1914 in Spokane, Washington, he had a long career from its beginnings in a reserve commission in the Army infantry in 1936, to his acceptance in the Army Air Corps flight training program as a Lieutenant in 1939. From there his career carried him to new places and wars. He retired from the service in 1973.
The General was honored in Riverside with a celebration adjacent to his home at Westmont Village near March Air Reserve Base. From proclamations by various officials to a flag ceremony/parade with the Patriot Guard Motocycle group and members of the MARB, to receiving certificates to thank him for his service, Goldsworthy seemed to be pleased with the day. He even got to have his first ever motorcyle ride.
“People ask me what did I do to live so long? I think it was God’s will, and I don’t know if He was rewarding me or punishing me.”LtGen Harry Goldsworthy
Goldsworthy spent much of WWII flying submarine patrol with the 25th Bombardment Group in the area of Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Patrolling in a B-18 heavy bomber search of German U-boats, but says he only saw “maybe one” and dropping depth charges was not productive. Later, he was reassigned to a B-25 Mitchell bomber replacement training unit, and deployed to the South Pacific in 1945.
During his last flight in July 1945 to support the U.S. Army over the Philippine island of Luzon, his B-25 sustained damage from ground fire. He and his crew had to bail out, landing in the jungle. He still has some of his parachute gear from that day.
“We all felt a little uneasy on that one,” he said. The crew was scattered across the island, but after a couple hours, he was picked up by Philippine scouts supporting the Army.
“I was going down the trail trying to to work my way north, and there was a little man with a big gun. And he put his gun down and he pulled out an ID and had the same kind of ID that I did, so I knew he was working for the Army. And then we went for a long walk through the jungle,” Goldsworthy said.Military.com
Over the years, Goldsworthy was tasked with getting the nation’s ICBM missilie silos on track in 1960. He was chosen to command Malmstrom Air Force Base and the seemingly impossible task of building silos for the Atlas, Titan, and Minuteman missiles. The program was 6 months behind when he was assigned to it, but Goldsworthy and his 17 man team got it up and running by 1963.
It hadn’t been done before, and we were building the silos before they even fired a missile from the silo test program. The whole program was a little overwhelming, but it was one that gave me a great satisfaction of getting it done.Goldsworthy
Goldsworthy’s awards are: the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He flew in over 30 different aircraft over his career. His wife, “an Army brat,” passed away in 2010.
He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C. and, upon graduation in 1959, was assigned to Strategic Air Command as vice commander of the 4061st Air Refueling Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. In September 1960 he was transferred to the Ballistic Missiles Center of the Air Materiel Command and assigned as Site Activation Task Force commander for the first Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Wing. Goldsworthy was assigned, in August 1963, as director of production and programming, Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In June 1967 he assumed command of the Aeronautical Systems Division, AFSC, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In August 1969 Goldsworthy was assigned as deputy chief of staff for systems and logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He retired from service in 1973.RainCross media
Thank you for your service, Gen Goldsworthy.
Featured photo: Screenshot via RainCross Media
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