Major James Goodson, one of the top aces of the US 4th Fighter Group in World War II, passed away on May 1, aged 93. After the war, Major Goodson went on to a successful post-war business career.
Goodson joined the war in 1939, at the age of 18, when he went to the United Kingdom aboard the USS Athenia, an unarmed passenger ship that was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine only three days into the war. He joined the RAF’s Eagle Squadrons and flew Hurricanes and Spitfires. When the Eagle Squadrons returned under American command and became the 4th Fighter Group, he stayed and flew P-47s and P-51s under the leadership of Don Blakeslee.
Before he was shot down and made a POW in June 1944, Goodson was credited with destroying 30 enemy aircraft and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and other medals.