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Info Sheet - Donal Eugene Goode- 66-67 - Deceased

Died 18 September 2009
Comments by his wife Margaret, Terry Vaughn, Rick Arthur, Jasper Obit
Goode's upside down logo by Rick Arthur

Statement on behalf of Donal E Goode by Margaret Goode

I am writing on behalf of my husband, Donal. This is the most that he has told me in the years we have been married. This is how he told me of the events surrounding 11 May 1970. He said, “It is hard to tell someone how you feel about the events that happened to me while in Vietnam”. At the time of this incident, Donal was assigned to B Co, 281 AHC attached to 5th Special Forces Delta Team at Nat rang. As Platoon SSG, his job was to assign the crew to go on the helicopters leaving Nat Trang on an assigned mission near the Laotian border. Casualties began to come in and he had to send more men as replacements. It then became a volunteer crew and some men didn’t want to go because of the number of casualties up to that point. Due to the crew shortage, Donal went instead of sending someone else.

Soon after landing at Camp Holloway at Pleiku in support of a Delta team, they came under attack by 122 rockets. The first hit the helicopter on the ground and the second one hit some of the crew members. [Replacements came so often that Donal tried not to learn first names. He referred to the men by rank and last name only.] That day he lost four gunships and a number of crew members.

Sp Scott Southerland was standing near Donal talking to him and joking around when the attack started. The third rocket landed and Sp Southerland was hit by the shrapnel taking the brunt of the blast. Donal says that one second they were talking and the next, Southerland wasn’t there. Donal was hit and lost consciousness. About two weeks later, he learned that only Lt Bare and he had survived the rocket attack.

The guilt of being alive when the others were dead along with the guilt of assigning men to missions from which they didn’t return has stayed with him. It took years to get him to seek help. He awakes some nights calling the names that he can remember because he doesn’t want to forget them. He says that he still sees “Scotty’s” face and thinks about what they were talking about when the rocket hit and why he died instead of Donal.

May 19, 1967 D Troop 3rd Sq 4th Cav 25th Inf Div Cu Chi 196 Don’s statement:
I was serving as crew Chief on an armed helicopter operating in the HOBO WOODS. The helicopter was hit by enemy fire and my friend, PVT John Vargas was wounded in the chest . I went to his side and stuffed gauze bandages into his wound. The wind was whipping his blood everywhere and I was covered with it. After slowing the bleeding, I pulled the guns into the helicopter and got the door closed. We then flew to the 25th Med at Cu Chi. After landing, I stumbled from the helicopter covered with Vargas’ blood and was grabbed and placed on a stretcher. The medical staff thought I was wounded and I was screaming, “No, no, it’ not me wounded. It’ Vargas”. They finally got him onto a stretcher and we left Vargas at the hospital and went back to the flight line, inspected the helicopter, found another door gunner, cleaned off Vargas’ blood and returned to the HOBO WOODS to complete our mission.

About two weeks later in the same area while receiving enemy fire, a round came up and exploded my ammo. I was wounded by shrapnel in the left arm. After treatment to my arm, I was sent back to my duty after only one night due to a shortage of door gunners. Later during the same month, I was wounded in the left leg. This time I went to the hospital due to the severity of the wounds. After all of this happened, I was extremely afraid of being killed I received no counseling after any of these things happened. They just kept sending me back into battle. Now when I hear a helicopter, my mind flashes back to Vargas and the sight of him wounded and bleeding and we are there again reliving it all over and over.

Donal received his disability due to employability in 2002. He received his SS shortly after that. He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2008 and succumbed to it on September 18, 2009 when he died at home in my arms. He received a letter from the government and received one check for compensation due to exposure to Agent Orange which the doctors agreed was the cause of his cancer.

He fought a valiant fight for over a year and was the brave man that brought me so much happiness for 34 years. We were married August 30, 1975 in a simple ceremony attended by our children and performed by his dad, Eugene Goode. Donal brought a son, Anthony Donal, to the marriage and I brought Christopher Todd Childers and Gregory Scott Childers. We were all joined by our daughter, Mary Katherine, on Donal’s twenty ninth birthday and Chris’s eighth. In all of the years that we were together, the word STEP was not used in our home. The boys called him Dad and Tony called me Mom. Chris brought the entire church to tears with his eulogy at the service.

Donal was laid to rest on September 21, 2009 at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia with full military honors befitting a hero of his stature. The Patriot Guard escorted us to the cemetery and authorities closed 515 Hwy from Pickens County to the turnoff in Canton.

Donal received three Purple Hearts, two Air Medals and numerous other honors. He was a quiet man and even his closest friends and family did not know what kind of man he was. To quote one of them, “He was a REAL hero”. He was and is my hero. He is still taking care of me through the compensation I receive from him. He chose to die in the quiet of his home and faced death with a courage that everyone should strive to equal.

He spoke often of his friends and loved all of you. If you were lucky enough to be called his friend, you were truly blessed.
We have four granddaughters and one great grandson.

Mary gave us Mary Victoria Kleinberg age 8, Addison Claire Kleinberg age 5 and two angel babies who are with Papa now. Tom is my son-in-law.

Tony gave us Madelyn Louise Goode, age 9 and Erin Marie Goode, Age 5. His wife’s name is Tami.

Greg has one grandson named Noah Ryan Joy, age 2. His wife, Tina, brought two daughters to our family, Leslie and Emily. Emily is Noah’s mom.

If any of you are in Georgia, you should visit the cemetery . It is a beautiful place and a fitting tribute to all of the men and women who served our country. Keep in touch.

Sincerely, Margaret Goode 286 Gennett Drive, Jasper, GA 30143

From Terry Vaughn: 27 April 2011
Goode, Donal was assigned to D Trp while I was there. He was a guns crew chief, and we ended up at Hunter AAF in Savanah after Nam. He stayed in the service and was sent back to Nam later, and was severly injured when his Huey was hit with a rpg. Don made it back again, and was living in North Georgia and was 100% disabled. He died last year form cancer of some kind. .....

From Rick Arthur to Charlie Johnson: 10 December 2011
A memory of you and I in a Hog late morning on the 29th of Jan,68. After a lot of confusion (then and now) and mix up of aircraft and crews and missions over the night of the 28th. You and I ended up single ship off the departure end of runway 27L/R at Tan Son Nhut (can’t remember why we didn't have a wing man. I think a some point we were just out of aircraft). We were looking for 51’s; had climbed up to altitude, probably 2,000 ft looking over the area. Spotted one of those round emplacements with a 51 that could swivel 360 deg. Our first mistake was rolling in on him over the runway (the airport was shut down) attacking from east to west. Just what he expected (I think) anyway he worked us over bad. I was in the right seat and missed with the rockets (probably to high to be accurate). Had to drop to low level after the rocket run to avoid his fire. I think we only took a round or two. I remember Crew Chief Goode in left door. What was his aircraft tail number?. We then worked around low level to the west and rolled in east to west staying about 50’ above the brush. We got him on that pass and over flew him.

Jasper Obituary: Mr. Donal Eugene Goode age 61 of Jasper, passed away Friday September 18, 2009 at his home. Mr. Goode was born May 18, 1948 to the late Eugene Key Goode and Mary Ruth Padgett Goode. He enlisted in the United States Army on August 22, 1968. While serving his country in Vietnam he earned three purple hearts, three bronze service stars, an Army Commendation Metal, and an Air Metal with V Device. He was also a Green Beret. He was a member of the Amicalola Baptist Church in Dawson County and was self employeed as a truck driver.He is survived by his wife Margaret Goble Goode, Sons: Anthony Donal Goode, Jasper, Gregory Scott Childers, Ellijay, Christopher Todd Childers, Daughter, Mary Katherine Kleinberg, Jasper, Sisters, Joyce Hagin, Madison, and Pamela Cataldi, Jasper, Brothers, Terry Goode, Jasper, and David Goode, South Carolina, Granddaughters, Madelyn Louise Goode, Erin Marie Goode, Tori Kleinberg, and Addi Kleinberg all of Jasper.Funeral Service will be 11 AM Monday at the Jasper United Methodist Church with Rev. Chip Wilson officiating. The interment will follow at 10 AM Tuesday at the Georgia National Cemetery. The family will be receiving friends after 9 AM Sunday Morning and Monday until the funeral hour.


Rick Arthur: Ref the mystery of the upside down Centaur logo on Goode's ship (see Goode Textphoto):

The M-3 rocket pods could be mounted ether side. If the pod was mounted on lets say the left side and the Centaur stenciled on, then for some reason the pod was re-mounted on the right side without correcting the painting, the Centaur would be upside down. (as long as the business end of the pod was pointed forward. Preferable)

I suppose if we were in a hurry to get up; the Centaur might fly upside down until the crew could get a can of OD paint.

I had an additional duty of Hog section "Armament Officer" which consisted of keeping track of the M-3 and M-5 write up, repairs, spares, bore-sightings and test-firing. Spent a lot of flight time in AO Earp. Rick