Oct 102011

1st Lt Ronnie Berton Goodwin

Birth: Feb. 15, 1948 Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co.

Death: Feb. 16, 1973, South Korea.

1st Lt Ronnie Berton Goodwin, Korean War and Vietnam War Veteran, native of Charlotte, NC was killed in the crash of an F4 Phantom jet during the Vietnam War. Ron Goodwin was killed flying an F-4 during a nuclear bomb delivery training mission over Korea on February 16, 1973. Ronnie was the navigator. Also killed was the pilot, Capt. Thomas Ballard, USAF. Ronnie is buried with his parents in Charlotte Memorial Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C. He is the Son of Mr. Hall Villa Goodwin (1913 – 1999) and Mary Jane Jordan (1914 – 1999) of Charlotte, NC.

The pilots flew a good low level mission to the Kuni bombing range on the west coast of South Korea. When they flew over the target at 1,000 feet, their bomb did not release. The most common reason a bomb did not release was because the pilot failed to properly configure all of the switches necessary for the delivery. This is called a “switchology error,” which meant an error caused by improper setting of weapons switches. In the F-4 it was actually possible to select the switches in such a way that pressing the bomb release button caused the 20mm Gatling gun on the centerline of the airplane to be released like a bomb.

Captain Ballard began a 360 degree turn to make another bombing run so that he could release his bomb within two minutes of the designated TOT. The accident report speculated that while in the turn at low level (500 – 1,000 feet) the F-4 flew into the water. Tom was probably checking the switches in the cockpit trying to figure out why the bomb did not release and was momentarily distracted, which allowed the airplane hit the water. When you fly at high speeds, there is not much room for error.

(Source: With permission of the Author; Richard Keyt, J.D., LL.M. is an attorney licensed to practice law in Arizona. He flew F-4 Phantom supersonic fighters (1971 – 1976). Rick’s web site located at www.keytlaw.com; replicated by Ronald E. Yates 8/14/2009; web_genealogist@yatesville.net)

A Memorial Scholarship Named for Ron Goodwin states:

“None of his classmates were surprised three years ago when Ron Goodwin was awarded the A. C. Reynolds Founder Award, symbolic of excellence in campus citizenship. Ronnie was that kind of person, always there on any project that needed work and, more often than not, stepping aside to let others receive the credit for the job. En route to earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, Ron served as vice president of the Student Government Assn., as vice president, treasurer and rally master for his fraternity, Sigma Delta Upsilon and was on SGA’s Judicial Board for two years. He was a recipient of an American Enka Corp Dormitory Scholarship and, in his senior year, was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. After graduation, he entered the Air Force, earning a commission as a pilot. His death in a plane crash in Korea earlier this year stunned the campus community and alumni. Determined that Ron and his example of campus citizenship will not be forgotten, the Alumni Association has instituted an annual scholarship in memory of the young man who could always be counted on. His accomplishments included; B.A., Economics, University of North Carolina, Asheville, 1970; Vice President, Student Government Association, UNCA; Who’s Who in Colleges and Universities, 1970; A.C. Reynolds Founder’s Scholarship, 1970, presented annually and based on campus citizenship; Sigma Delta Upsilon Fraternity, Vice-President.”

He was awarded The Korean Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal and The Good Conduct Medal.

Burial: Charlotte Memorial Gardens, Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co., NC.

(Source: Posted with permission of Tom & Jim Reece, #46857744; finding NC Vietnam KIA/MIA’s gravesites; Reconfigured and submitted by: Ron Yates)

  One Response to “GOODWIN, Ronnie Berton”

  1. May he rest in peace.

    I was on the EOD Team that helped remove the plane and remains from the Yellow Sea. I just discovered this site and the names of the pilots. I have thought of the often.

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